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Edinburgh Festival 2021: some thoughts

6th October 2021 by Morven Macbeth

Associate Practitioner and Company Producer Morven Macbeth with some thoughts on ITD’s relationship to the Edinburgh Festival, and this year’s ‘smaller-than-ever’ event, which meant August felt very different in a city she called home for five years.

‘Our work has been part of the Edinburgh Fringe on and off for the past ten years and honestly it’s hard to imagine how many of our relationships with partner organisations and individuals would ever have got off the ground without it. The biennial British Council Showcase event has been instrumental in shaping the international touring work of the company and opened up so many opportunities for us to reach audiences from Brazil to Taiwan. The pandemic only reminds us of how key those relationships are, connecting UK companies such as ours to a global network of communities, artists and producers, working to make cultural events happen over the last 18 months.

Alice Saville, editor of Exeunt, writes eloquently here about ‘the strangeness and specialness of 2021’s smaller-than-ever fringe festival’.

ZOO Venues, along with three other leading Festival venues, have just come to the end of their 2021 event. In their words, ‘There won’t ever be a Fringe quite like this one again – no flyering, fewer shows and venues, with socially distanced audiences. But we made something happen. We’ve had the most brilliant artists and audiences, and we did it all from a car park with Gilded BalloonDance Base and Traverse Theatre. We’ll see ya again next year*fingers crossed emoji*’

Last summer they put together a festival of work entirely online, and this year joined forces with three other venues to bring audiences an offer of live performances (an NCP has never looked more handsome) at MultiStory at the foot of Edinburgh Castle, as well as a packed programme of work audiences could access online. Like Brazil’s Cultura Inglesa Festival held in the spring, which ITD’s work was also invited to be part of, the local, national, and international reach of this kind of endeavour kind of blows my mind. The potential of it, the connections being made. And I really do take my hat off to every single person who has worked this year to make sure audiences and theatre makers, artists and communities, continue to be in dialogue, wherever they may be in the world.’

Morven Macbeth

September 2021

Photograph of MultiStory venue, Edinburgh by David Wilkinson

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