Sunday, 24 May 2009

Nic Green

If you're around in London on Tuesday I'd recommend you get down to BAC to see Nic Green's complete Trilogy. She performed some sections of it at Forest Fringe last summer and it was one of the most delightful moments of the festival.

Recently Tim Etchell's rightly said on his blog that politics 'shouldn't be left to the realists'. And Nic Green's epic, three part show - historical re-enactment, direct address, singing, dancing, euphoric collective action - is an incredibly inspiring demonstration of what political performance work could and should be. Honest, engaged, funny, inspiring, heartfelt and beautifully realised.

Nic's taking over BAC's enormous Grand Hall for one night and I think it's going to be quite a special moment. I recommend you drop pretty much anything and get a ticket.

If you're not based out of South of England though there's going to be ample opportunity to see (and maybe even be involved) in the show in Edinburgh this summer as brilliantly, the Arches (normally to be found in Glasgow) are going to be presenting it all month out of St Stephen's church as part of their new festival programme. Forest Fringe has all kinds of love for the Arches and we're really excited to have them across town from us.

Oh, and apparently it's going to be a long hot summer. Everything's coming up roses.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Volunteer at Forest Fringe – Reduced prices! Secret shows! The Fame! The Glamour! The improved sense of self worth!

(photo via)

Forest Fringe is an award-winning new venue providing a home for experimentation and play in the midst of the Edinburgh Festival Season. Now in our third year, we’ve supported works-in-progress, one-on-one encounters, beguiling puppet shows, interactive adventures, installations and live art from our beautiful old church hall in the centre of Edinburgh. 

This year the work at Forest Fringe includes internationally renowned companies such as Curious, Third Angel, Rotozaza and Action Hero. We also have a number of other projects lined up, including epic journeys across the country, secret experiences in caves and on the streets of Edinburgh and a series of late night events like nothing else in the city. All still for free or pay what you can.  

We want you involved.  

Forest Fringe receives no public funding.  We exist and thrive on the creativity and passion of our volunteers. Volunteers work alongside the artists at the venue to man our box office, the front of house and to help make the shows happen.  We encourage a collaborative approach to staffing at Forest. As a volunteer, you will help create our venue.  You will often be one of the first points of call for audiences at Forest, or possibly a guide to a show in a hidden corner of the city, and we want you to think as creatively about that as you dare.
This year our perks for volunteers include:  
  • A special ticket discount on the Arches programme at St Stephen’s church 
  • A heads-up on all Forest Fringe’s secret events during the festival 
  • An invite to our free volunteer’s dinner for all those (including the artists) who have worked at the venue 
  • The love, admiration and respect of your peers. 
  • The chance to discuss theatre with an artist whose work you admire while you help each other do something unglamorous, like recycling.
You are free to do as many or as few shifts as you choose. 

If you’re interested in potentially being a volunteer with us at the Forest Fringe this year, please email ellie[at]* with your name and contact details. Emailing at this stage does not mean you have to volunteer, just an expression of interest.  You can decide you are too busy at any point.   We look forward to hearing from you!

[*replacing the [at] with the @ symbol]


A lot of stuff arrives in Edinburgh in August. A lot.

Thousands of performers, a rainforest of flyers, all the bad weather that Scotland has been holding back in reserve especially for this occasion.

Mainly though it’s just vanload after vanload of kit. Enough garishly painted wood and plastic to make you weep. Poorly-built low budget sets, workmanlike soon-to-be-going-on-tour sets, breathtakingly complex European theatre sets, tables and chairs (like they don’t have tables and chairs in Edinburgh…), doors, microwaves, bookshelves, books, toy guns, fake guns, real guns, small glow in the dark statues of the virgin Mary – EVERYTHING has made the journey to Edinburgh.

Now generally there are about 3 options for this awkward voyage:

1)    Try and fit everything in your car. Last year at Forest we had one company turn up with a metre square piece of turf wedged in the back of their tiny hatchback, along with four performers, as many umbrellas, a projector, a watering can, a colander and a Cyndi Lauper CD.


3)    Find someone else who has a van.

Unsurprisingly option 3 generally tends to be a favourite, but that really requires that you know enough people with the resources to have a van that you can be squeezed into.

So we were thinking. Surely there has to be another way?

All those disparate groups desperately trying haul as much as possible into the back of their dirty grey Vauxhall corsas. All those folk optimistically posting on gumtree and facebook for fellow travelers. Maybe we can help.

As part of Forest Fringe this year we’re planning on programming an entire weekend of Bristol based work. Part of the joy behind such a thing would be that hopefully all the companies coming up together for that weekend could figure out a way to share the load and hopefully save themselves some money.

So why not try and do that on some larger scale?

Here is our plan. If we can get as many people as possible to say where they are from, what they need to get to Edinburgh and when they need it there for – maybe we can all start to organise ourselves into car and van shares. Maybe we’ll even find some brilliantly benevolent people who have vans or trucks or ferries they don’t need for the summer. WE CAN BUT DREAM. And of course if there are considerably less half laden vans winding their way up the A1 towards Edinburgh then everyone benefits, really.

Forest Fringe will certainly be looking for some friends to share a van up to Edinburgh with and I’m sure many of our companies will be too. So don’t be shy – let us know.

This is just a beginning. If you think this sounds like a good idea we'll definitely find a better way of organising it.

Les Petites Ampoules

Exciting news fringe fans. Forest Fringe is massively proud to announce that our resident company for this year’s festival will be the delightful Little Bulb Theatre.

Based out of Canterbury, Little Bulb are a new company already doing some brilliant things. Their show Crocosmia was undoubtedly one of our highlights of the fringe last year (and one of it’s songs features in the Experimental Theatre Mixtape which by now of course you’ve all seen/admired/downloaded/playedtoyourfriendsandlovedones).

Although hidden somewhere in the soul-destroying greyness of an impressively bleak Radisson Hotel just off the Royal Mile, Crocosmia was able to generate more warmth and atmosphere than pretty much anything else I saw at the festival. And beneath it’s beautifully crafted aesthetic – all fragility and vinyl records and Battenberg cake – lay an unsettlingly dark exploration of storytelling; a world of uncertain fantasies that left you reeling. Basically we loved it and so we got them to come down and do some songs at our final goodbye party last year, which they did and were, once again, delightful.

Since then they have performed Crocosmia at the Arches in Glasgow, BAC in London. They’ve also created a new show, H.E.L.P/H.O.P.E which was at Mayfest in Bristol and can soon be seen scratching at BAC’s staggering BURST festival.

And if that wasn’t enough they have also been at various places with An Evening of Edible Mistakes, which in it’s weird way perfectly sums them up in its indescribability. It’s almost a cabaret. Or a music set. It’s funny. It’s surreal. It has good songs. Some might be made up on the spot. Some obviously aren’t. They are all brilliant musicians who work incredibly well together. Yet they have miniature fights, disagreements, they make mistakes. But the show is about mistakes, almost a celebration of them. How much of anything is to actually be believed. Layers of fiction are constantly rearranged like the pieces of a Lego set whilst the music and the jokes and the audience interaction wash through you with an almost overwhelming amount of charm.

At Forest Fringe this year they will be our resident company – taking the evening slot for the whole two weeks that the Paper Cinema were in last year. For it they will be creating a brand new show, Sporadical. The plan is that this show will collapse even further into each other the strange fictions of Crocosmia and the bizarre musical cabaret of Edible Mistakes. That’s pretty much all we can tell you at this stage. But we’re stupidly excited. As should you be.

Not only this but as Forest Fringe’s resident company Little Bulb will also be hosting a night of live music and other delights, performing some secret gigs in unusual spaces and potentially even doing a couple of very special performances of the award-winning Crocosmia over the month.

A lot to look forward to basically. So welcome to you Little Bulbers to Forest Fringe – we hope you enjoy yourselves.

Very soon we’ll be announcing more of the line-up for this year as it begins to fall into place terrifyingly quickly. Keep your eyes peeled here for more updates as they come or join our facebook group (no seriously please do, we’ve been stuck on very nearly 700 members for an achingly long time and it’s killing me.) or join our mailing list by emailing andy [at] (and replacing the [at] with @).