+3 Interview: Plan B for Utopia

“Our goal is to reach new audiences, those who usually don’t see dance but enjoy theatre or comedy.”

WHO: Joan Clevillé, Artistic Director

WHAT: “‘You have a plan, and then you don’t. You have a dream, and then you wake up. You fall in love, and your heart gets broken. The question is: do you pick up the pieces and try again?’ Mixing dance, theatre and storytelling with a good dose of humour, Plan B for Utopia is a show about how we choose to live our lives: about having a dream, giving it up and trying again, but, above all, it’s a story about friendship.”

WHERE: Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33) ​

WHEN: 10:30 (60 min)

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Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

I’ve been coming to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for the last eight years. It was the first place I performed in Scotland when I joined Scottish Dance Theatre in 2009. I couldn’t believe what was going on around me! In 2015 we premiered the first-full length work with my own company at the Festival, Plan B for Utopia. After more than 50 performances around the UK and abroad, it is very special to bring it back to Edinburgh, this time in a theatre venue like Pleasance Courtyard!

Tell us about your show.

The creation of Plan B for Utopia emerged from the need to reconcile my artistic practice as a choreographer (which can sometimes feel a bit removed from everyday reality) with personal questions around how to live my life in the most sustainable way. I wanted to find a choreographic language that could render the gravity and complexity of the global challenges that we face to something manageable, less overwhelming, closer to human-scale. Plan B for Utopia talks about the role that creativity and imagination can play as a catalyst for change. About the impact of our decisions on others and the environment around us, about what happens when things don’t go according to plan…

Since 2015, we have presented the show in venues across the length and breadth of the UK, from village halls in the Highlands to contemporary arts centres in London. We were invited to British Dance Edition and internationale tanzmesse in Düsseldorf which are two of the most prestigious international showcases for dance. This year, we are incredibly proud to present the work as part of the Made in Scotland and British Council Showcases at the Edinburgh Fringe. Our goal is to reach new audiences, those who usually don’t see dance but enjoy theatre or comedy. For that reason, we are delighted to be working with independent theatre producers China Plate.

What should your audience see at the festivals after they’ve seen your show?

Stay at Pleasance Courtyard to discover the very talented Urielle Klein-Mekongo with her debut show, Yvette. Then head to Dance Base to watch Oona Dohererty’s amazing solo Hope & The Ascension to Lazarus. Round it all off at Summerhall with On Ice and Power Ballad.


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+3 Interview: Victim

“It stars Louise Beresford who is a fantastically versatile actress giving the role the perfect blend of comedy and menace.”

WHO: Martin Murphy, Writer / Director

WHAT: “A one-woman show, Victim follows the power struggle between a prison guard and criminal as they come face-to-face with a notorious inmate. Hot on the heels of Villain – The 2016 Edinburgh sell-out, five-star, Offie-nominated hit – Bruised Sky return with Martin Murphy’s darkly comic new play Victim.”

WHERE: Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33) ​

WHEN: 14:00 (60 min)

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Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

This is my third full fringe. I was first up in 2011 as part of musical comedy double act Pistol & Jack. Last year I was up at Underbelly with my play Villain starring Maddie Rice.

What’s the biggest thing to have happened to you since Festivals ’16?

It’s been a very exciting year, Villain was published just before a London transfer and during that run at Kings Head Theatre we got an Offie nomination.

Victim being published by Bloomsbury Methuen Drama before we even opened up here was probably the most exciting thing.

Tell us about your show.

I wrote and directed Victim, it’s produced by Bruised Sky Productions who were formed in 2009 by James Kermack, largely formed from members of the Old Vic New Voices company who did 24 Hour Plays in 2006. It stars Louise Beresford who is a fantastically versatile actress giving the role the perfect blend of comedy and menace. It previewed at Old Red Lion Theatre but opened in Edinburgh and we are in the process of moving towards a London run and possible tour.

What should your audience see at the festivals after they’ve seen your show?

Good Girl by Naomi Sheldon is a fantastic new piece of work by a fantastically skilled actress.


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+3 Interview: Sisters: White Noise

“This year we’re bringing our first full debut hour to the Pleasance Courtyard and we can’t wait to put it in front of a Fringe audience.”

WHO: Mark Jones, Performer / Writer

WHAT: “Innovative sketch duo Sisters snake Fringe-wards, clutching their debut hour to their breast. ‘See them now if you want to witness the birth of something special’ (ThreeWeeks). ‘Genius pieces’ (BroadwayBaby.com). ‘The sharpness of the writing can only be applauded’ (Scottish Daily Mail). ‘A supremely talented ensemble’ (Nicholas Parsons). Sketch Off finalist 2016.”

WHERE: Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33) ​

WHEN: 19:15 (60 min)

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Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

The pair of us have been coming to the fringe for the last few years. Whilst with the invisible dot, I worked on Liam Williams’ ‘Bonfire Night’, Sheeps’ ‘Skewer The News’ and Lolly Adefope’s ‘Lolly 2’. Last year we performed a 40 minute work-in-progress show on the Free Fringe to test out a heap of material we had accumulated over the last few years. The crowds were really receptive to it so we decided to push on in London. This year we’re bringing our first full debut hour to the Pleasance Courtyard and we can’t wait to put it in front of a Fringe audience.

Tell us about your show.

Our first full hour, ‘White Noise’ is about our three favourite things; comedy, the internet and friendship. Desperate to become famous comedians within the first 50 minutes, we live-stream the entire show to audiences around the world in the hope that it will speed up the process. BUT WILL IT WORK? AND IS THE PLEASANCE WIFI EVEN FAST ENOUGH TO COPE WITH THIS KIND OF SOCIAL EXPERIMENT?! All the answers you seek, and much much less will be revealed in our hour of sketch based jokes n’ gags.

The show has been the culmination of a few year’s writing that began at University. Christy and I lived together in our final year which is where a lot of the writing started. After graduating we entered various competitions and managed to get to the final of the Leicester Square Theatre Sketch-Off in 2017. We’ve been lucky enough to have sold-out our entire run of previews in London and are hoping that that will somehow translate into ticket sales up here in Edinburgh.

What should your audience see at the festivals after they’ve seen your show?

We’re very excited to see Tim Key, Phoebe Walsh, David Elms’ new play Siren, Princes of Main and a heap of others. There’s also some great newcomers this year that we’re really intrigued by.


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+3 Interview: Charlie’s Letters

“I began making Charlie’s Letters when I was 13 though so in some ways it feels like it’s been a long time coming.”

WHO: Elliott Hasler, Writer, director and lead

WHAT: “An escaped POW’s battle for survival whilst on the run in war-torn Italy, as his wife and son wait for news in England. 16-year-old aspiring director Elliott Hasler’s epic depiction of his great-grandfather’s WWII experiences. Meticulously researched and undergoing production for almost three years, across five countries with scenes filmed around Brighton. The film acts as a testament to the incredible spirit that emerged through the hardships and horrors of the world’s greatest conflict, portraying the human story of an ordinary soldier forced to do the extraordinary. British Film Director – Elliott Hasler, The Next Generation Relsah Productions.”

WHERE: Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33) 

WHEN: 20:00 (100 min)

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Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

Yes, and I can’t believe I’m here, it’s not a bad way to celebrate turning 17. I began making Charlie’s Letters when I was 13 though so in some ways it feels like it’s been a long time coming.

Tell us about your show.

I wrote, directed and star in Charlie’s Letters – along with an incredible cast. It’s based on the experiences of my great-grandfather Charlie during WW2. After being freed from an Italian POW camp, Charlie spent 18 months evading Germans, living with peasants and fighting with the underground resistance as he tried to get home to his wife and young son – my grandfather – in England.

Unfortunately Charlie died a year before I was born, but I think the film does him justice. I’ve been geekily obsessed with films since I was 10 and I knew his story would work brilliantly.

The film premiered at this year’s Brighton Fringe where it enjoyed a sell-out, extended run. Off the back of that I’ve been invited to show Charlie’s Letters on Brighton beach’s Big Screen in August and Camden Roundhouse has also invited me to screen Refuge, a short film I’ve just made, as part of its And Now What? festival in October.

What should your audience see at the festivals after they’ve seen your show?

It has to be my fellow Brightonians Kids With Beards – a silly and surreal sketch troupe. They won the Audience Choice Award at Brighton Fringe this year so definitely worth a look.


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+3 Interview: Yvette

“I want people who have been through what I went through to be inspired by the show to reclaim their lives and rise from it.”

WHO: Urielle Klein-Mekongo, Writer / Performer

WHAT: “‘I see the way that butters-fat-lipped-troll-Patrice looks at him, she’s the kinda lighty that finks she’s too nice.’ Evie is thirteen and lives in Neasden with her Mum. She wants to tell us something… her crush on Lewis, trying to be a woman, friends, virginity, garage remixes… an ‘uncle’ lurking in the corner of her story. She wants to make us laugh, she’s pretty good at it. She wants to tell us something, but she daren’t let it out. A one-woman show with original music about stolen childhood and growing up with a secret. Based on a true story.”

WHERE: Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33) ​

WHEN: 14:15 (60 min)

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Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

This is my first time in Edinburgh and at The Fringe!

Tell us about your show.

Yvette is a one-woman show, with original music, that tells the story of Evie. Evie is thirteen and lives in Neasden with her Mum. She wants to tell us about something – her crush on Lewis, trying to be a woman, friends, virginity, lightys, garage remixes… and an ‘Uncle’ who lurks in the corners of her story.

I wrote Yvette whilst I was still studying at East 15. It was selected to be presented at DEBUT Festival and subsequently went on to win the Young Harts Writing Fest Audience Favourite, the Kings Head Theatre Stella Wilkie Award and The East15 Pulse Award 2017. It was also at this time that China Plate came on board as the producers and I started working with Director, Rebecca Atkinson-Lord to help elevate the show to it’s next stage of development. The show has been previewed as part of Hull City of Culture 2017, Pulse Festival and The Albany.

I’m incredibly excited to have the opportunity to present the show at the Edinburgh Fringe. Yvette is inspired by my own experiences as a teenager and it was a difficult piece to write. I think I wanted to write myself to a place of healing, but soon figured that I couldn’t. What I actually needed to write was the truth about where I was at. I want people who have been through what I went through to be inspired by the show to reclaim their lives and rise from it.

We hope that this is just the start of the journey for Yvette and aim to tour the show in 2018.

What should your audience see at the festivals after they’ve seen your show?

I’m looking forward to catching ‘offiside’ in the pleasance above, written by leading spoken word artists Sabrina Mahfouz and Hollie McNish. I’m Huge fan of both there works n fact Sabrina Mahfouz a mentor of mine, I relate to the honesty of her writing style and I’ve heard great things!

I also look forward to catching Leaf and Buzz both East 15 Alumni shows coming from the BA Acting & Contemporary theatre course. They’re both great shows that I have seen but I look forward to seeing how further they have developed since.


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+3 Interview: Our Man in Havana

“It seems fitting that the city where some of us met is where we are returning with our debut show. “

WHO:  Ollie Norton-Smith, Director

WHAT: “Havana, Cuba! A Cold War world of suspicion, suspense and silliness. Amidst the sultry and seductive climes of Havana our heroes twirl, twitch and tango away from enemy agents, MI6 and the truth. Jim Wormold, a run-of-the-mill vacuum cleaner salesman turned accidental spy, resorts to fabricating ludicrous military reports in order to save his business and satisfy his decadent daughter, beginning a hilarious and improbable rise to the top of the British Secret Service. This fast-paced physical farce of peril, espionage and vacuum cleaners will leave you gasping for breath and an ice-cold daiquiri.”

WHERE: Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33) 

WHEN: 13:00 (60 min)

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Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

No it is not! As graduates of Young Pleasance, the Pleasance’s youth theatre company, we have all visited and performed at the Fringe over the last 4 years. Edinburgh is a city we love and which some of us have family in, which, in combination with our shared love of the Fringe, means it is a city very close to our hearts. We are particularly excited to be returning with a new company of our own, though, and are champing at the bit for the festival to start.

Tell us about your show.

As a company we were brought together through Young Pleasance, and are performing this year under the XYP initiative. As a company aged 18-21 we likely wouldn’t have met were it not for performing with Young Pleasance in Edinburgh.

It seems fitting that the city where some of us met is where we are returning with our debut show. Our show is a new adaptation of Graham Greene famous novel Our Man In Havana adapted by myself and one of the actors, Hamish Lloyd Barnes. A fast-paced physical farce of espionage, suspicion and vacuum cleaners, ‘Our Man In Havana’ is a fun, silly and family-friendly show.

What should your audience see at the festivals after they’ve seen your show?

We are enormous fans of Gecko and they are a huge inspiration to us in terms of their journey as a company and the physical theatre style they employ. We have been looking forward to seeing The Dreamer for months and can’t wait to do so on our day off. They are consistently one of the classiest acts on the fringe and I have no doubt this year will be no different.


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+3 Interview: Replay

“It’s been a great ride since the last time I was here last and I’m really excited to see what audiences make of my second play.”

WHO: Nicola Wren, Writer and Performer

WHAT: Replay. When a fiercely independent, workaholic police officer finds herself on the street where her brother once lived, she is propelled back to her vibrant childhood and forced to confront a tremendous loss. Replay is an intimate, funny and moving new monologue, written by Nicola Wren (501 Things I Do in My Bedroom) and brought to you by Edinburgh Fringe favourites DugOut Theatre (Swansong, The Sunset Five and Inheritance Blues).”

WHERE: Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33) ​

WHEN: 14:15 (60 min)

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Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

This is my second year at the fringe, I was first up in 2015 with my first play, 501 Things I Do In My Bedroom in which I also performed. It was then that I met DugOut Theatre who I am now working with on Replay. It’s been a great ride since the last time I was here last and I’m really excited to see what audiences make of my second play.

Tell us about your show.

Replay is the story of an uptight police officer who, the day before her interview for sergeant, receives an old tape that her brother recorded for her made for her years ago. This tape causes her world to unravel as she revisits her childhood and confronts the tragic loss of her brother. It’s a moving, funny and uplifting story about loss and acceptance.

DugOut Theatre are producing and their Artistic Director, George Chilcott, is directing. George and I met two years ago in Edinburgh and decided to work together last November. We premiered the play at the Hen & Chickens Theatre in London for a week and, following the success of that, we decided to bring it to the fringe with a view to securing a longer run in London later this year or early next.

What should your audience see at the festivals after they’ve seen your show?

Goodbear – a hilarious sketch comedy duo with a theatrical twist. DIGS – a devised show about shared living by brilliant company Theatre With Legs, comedy trio Muriel Comedy with their first show, Bad Master and Trygve vs a Baby which is sure to be a brilliant and hysterical mime show from the best of the best. There are so, so many more. I can’t wait to discover all sorts of wonderful new shows.


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