RSS

Tag Archives: Edinburgh festival

And then there was the ’80s, luvvie…

Here, then, is my contribution to the My First Post Revisited feature, as nominated by Luccia Gray from Rereading Jane Eyre.
It was in fact my fourth ever post and documents the first leg of a youthful theatrical group’s trip to the Edinburgh International Fringe Festival.

Down the time tunnel we go…

Diary of an Internet Nobody.

Back when the 21st century was still just a suffix in the title of Sci-fi novels and documentaries about robots doing the hoovering for you, an intrepid band of teenage drama nerds embarked on a mission to self-finance a trip to the world famous Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

This is their story.

At the start of the decade that sartorial taste forgot, I was at a comprehensive school in Sussex studying (ha!) for exams.
Most of the few high points of my school days revolved around various theatrical activities, both in and out of school. Half a dozen friends in the year above me – studying drama properly for O’ level – had formed a comic mime group. This is the style of mime that allows props, sound effects and basic narration, still preformed on a blank set in whiteface makeup.

image Strike A Pose

I had managed to blag myself a…

View original post 546 more words

 
 

Tags: , , ,

“This business we call Show…”

I’m sure there are a lot of men of a certain age who remember a children’s TV presenter / folk singer called Toni Arthur, well her son went to our school.
When she heard about our exploits in Dramatiks Mime Workshop, she got in touch and asked if there was anything she could do to help our campaign to play a two week show in a theatre at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Well, we could hardly turn down an offer like that, and from a bona fide celebrity into the bargain.

The next thing we knew, we were on our way to the dizzy heights of Sensational BBC Radio One to be interviewed by none other than Tony Blackburn.

We had to stand around in the control room of the studio for a while, waiting for the great man to arrive, and when he did it was a bit of an anticlimax.
He grunted hello and disappeared into the studio proper – the interview was to be conducted around the legendary Round Table, where the week’s singles releases were picked apart by guest celebrities every Friday – and we trouped in after him.

Once seated around the hallowed furniture, a hush descended, and Tony went into his warm up – head bowed, eyes closed, both hands, forefingers extended, making circular “winding up” motions an inch or two from his temples.
After a few seconds, his eyes popped open, his head snapped up, and that Sensational voice appeared, along with that huge, sparkly-eyed grin.

We were in the studio for about 4 minutes.

I don’t remember much of the interview itself, but I do remember dining out on it at school for a good while afterwards.

So, forward to August 1982, and we’ve been in Edinburgh, soaking up the thespian atmosphere, preparing the show, and exploring other acts that we were competing with in our theatre for a couple of days.

image

The show, IMAGES ON A BLANK STAGE began on the Monday, with an audience, if memory serves, of six.
It went well, and we mangaged to evade the mob at the stage door (that may be mis-remembered) and go about our business relatively unimpeded by hoards of adoring fans.

image

Images on a Blank Stage, rehearsals, 1982.
(yours truly in background, no make-up)

A busy week of putting on the show, going out leafleting, watching a show – Pookiesnackenburger anyone? – doing street theatre, and generally revelling in being this far from home, living the innocent life of festival novices.
That weekend we were invited – chosen from all the fringe acts, along with a select few others – to take part in the Festival Cavalcade, a daytime carnival along Prince’s Street, which along with much needed publicity, got us on the front page of the Scotsman newspaper!

image

That Cavalcade Line-up in Full

We also performed in the Old Town on Festival Sunday, on a makeshift stage on the back of a lorry. This bagged us a brief background appearance on Newsnight. We were on a roll.

The following week went even better, pulling in up to double figures in audience numbers, including the correspondent from the Times Higher Educational supplement, who, much to our  delight gave us what we considered to be a rave review.
(I believe they described sketches in the show in the glowing terms, “comic, inventive, and  short”)

     On the Scottish border

image

Some of these people are now allowed out on their own.

By the end of our fortnight at the cutting edge of modern comic theatre, we were creatively exhausted, skint, and looking forward to a triumphant, ticker-tape strewn parade on our return to Sussex.
The reality was slightly more, well, real, and life returned pretty much to normal. But we did get our parade, sort of. We were invited to join the Crowborough Carnival procession, which we did with great gusto, dancing madly, in whiteface masks, along the whole route, behind the New Orleans jazz band that had played every year for as far back as I remember.

Some of the group went off to drama school – I got a place doing stage-management at Guilford, but was refused a grant, something that rankles even now – and one member and I put on three performances of the very well received VERY NEARLY ONE MAN MIME SHOW , but that was the end of my theatrical career, although some of the others went on to produce and perform shows of their own.

I still look back on it as one of the best times in my life – my dip, however brief, into the world that gave us so many of the actors and comedians who entertain us today.

Long may the Fringe continue.

Many thanks to Ho for providing believed-lost photos

 
10 Comments

Posted by on June 24, 2012 in Personal anecdote, Theatre, Travel

 

Tags: , , ,

And then there was the ’80s, luvvie…

Back when the 21st century was still just a suffix in the title of Sci-fi novels and documentaries about robots doing the hoovering for you, an intrepid band of teenage drama nerds embarked on a mission to self-finance a trip to the world famous Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

This is their story.

At the start of the decade that sartorial taste forgot, I was at a comprehensive school in Sussex studying (ha!) for exams.
Most of the few high points of my school days revolved around various theatrical activities, both in and out of school. Half a dozen friends in the year above me – studying drama properly for O’ level – had formed a comic mime group. This is the style of mime that allows props, sound effects and basic narration, still preformed on a blank set in whiteface makeup.

image

Strike A Pose

I had managed to blag myself a job as stage manager, as I had done similar things in school drama productions, along with a fair amount of acting in various plays.

We put on a good few shows, and gained a surprising amount of local fame, packing the hall we hired two nights running despite the appalling weather that winter.

image
The first public appearance, 1981.

By the summer of ’82, we had begun a series of fundraising events – sponsored wheelbarrow race, a Welly Wanging pitch at the school fete, haranguing local and national businesses to provide sponsorship in exchange for adverts on our promo posters etc – and entered into negotiations with the school bigwigs about using their mini bus (and our English teacher to drive it) for a fortnight.

August came, and off we went, just us and our tame, young and trendy English teacher and a knackered transit van. We stopped overnight in Pudsey, near Leeds, at someone’s relatives’ house, then on over the border the next day.

Ah, Edinburgh, even back then the pubs seemed to be open at least 23 hours a day. Not that we went in any pubs, obviously, what with being underage and whatnot.
First stop was to find the accommodation. The boys, and Dick, our captive chauffeur/teacher/chaperone were staying in one student digs, empty for the holidays, the two girls in our happy little band in another.
We dropped the girls off first, just round the corner from our place, and took their luggage in for them. To be met by a hugely impressive foyer with a curving staircase leading to who knew what luxury on the floor above.
However, on depositing their bags, we discovered, much to our amusement, that the old townhouse had been ruthlessly chopped about in order to cram in as many flammable students as physically possible, should they require a quick insurance payout, resulting in a room not unlike a cell, with a skirting board that mysteriously vanished through the wall into the room (rooms?) next door.

Leaving them to fall over each other as they tried to unpack without injuring themselves, we went in search of our own barracks. What we found was a grim looking, grey fronted building on three floors with a heavy black door leading into a concrete stairwell with a steel rail disappearing up into the murk.
Up we went, towards whatever dreadful abode awaited us.
On arriving at the top floor landing with it’s single door, we found ourselves entering a large lobby with black and white tiled floor and another curving stair, this time leading to two large, high ceilinged bedrooms, each plenty big enough for two to share.
Downstairs, off the lobby was a large kitchen and another bedroom.
Needless to say, smugness doesn’t cover the reception the girls got when they came to see our pleasure palace, and after they finished hitting us, it was decided to use our place as the main base for catering and socialising.

Some frenetic work in the theatre, which we shared with a number of other groups, to set up the lighting plots, rehearse stage positions, etc followed, and them we were ready to wow the festival crowds.

image

“Ok guys, do ‘serious’.”

Find out more about this year’s Edinburgh Fringe here

To be continued….

 
 

Tags: , , ,

 
Little Fears

Tales of whimsy, humour and courgettes

JOHNNY SPANGLES

The random thoughts of a very rotten potato on travel, art, sport, bad dogs, good cats and other fake news...

The Lessons

that time forgot to teach

SOZ SATIRE

The Best of British Bullshit

Step-Parent's Sanctuary

The Stories Behind those (not so) Perfect Family Photos

Ellenbest24

words and scribble.

sloppybuddhist

hedy bach photography mixed stories and music

Isabella Morgan

Opinions not otherwise specified

A Life in Transition

Poetry & Fiction

The Bee Writes...

.... don't expect anything...not even the unexpected...

Author Kyle Perkins

The latest and greatest of my documented daydreams

Luca Sartoni

Protector of Asynchronicity at Automattic

ONE MORE SHOT PLEASE

Immortalize Every Moment. Express With Panache.

Pages That Rustle

The journey from words to stories.

trickyemotions

For your mind only!

Waruni Anuruddhika

Film and photography

An Artist's Path

A space for creative seekers.

3nions

Learn WordPress & SEO from the beginning...

Tyler Charles Austen

Foul mouthed, Queer and Angry

balloonfacetrace

The facepainting and balloon twisting lady

Jamaica Ponder

...only a little bit famous

Art by Rob Goldstein

There is no common truth

Kristin King Author

True Story...

bluchickenninja

graphic designer // bibliophile // geek

thegirlwhofearoblivion

To Share, To Connect, To Create, To Inspire.

unbolt me

the literary asylum

swo8

Music means something

Broken Castles

Shattered long ago...

Joshi Daniel Photography

Images of People Photoblog

iamthemilk

Every day I'm jugglin'.

The Write Project

"The answer is to write." - Richard Rhodes

b e t u n a d a

I'm interested in THE GLUE BETWEEN THINGS. "Back on planet URTH" i search for and study desert wombats and inukThingies (they're like inukshuks) while rambling in the high desert of western Colorawdough.

Seabornen

enthusiast photography

BizChair Square

Stop Yearning, Start Earning

Sass and Sauce

A dash of sass, a dollop of sauce!

The Dissatis Faction

An immersive curation of culture for artists and wanderers of the web

A Whispered Wind

The Works of Lori Carlson

A Momma's View

My thoughts about homeschooling, health and fitness, being an expat, kids and just life in general. My personal Lifestyle Blog!

%d bloggers like this: