Summerhall Festival 2016

Summerhall, Edinburgh’s most daring and respected year-round multi-arts venue, is proud to announce its 2016 Festival Programme.

Now into its sixth year, and with a reputation for presenting diverse work from a host of the world’s most innovative theatremakers, musicians and visual artists, the venue has become the go-to destination of the Edinburgh Festival for audiences who expect to find their senses and preconceptions challenged. Once again, we feel we’ve risen to that reputation with a programme which is striking in its breadth of creative responses to the world.

Across nearly 120 separate shows, concerts, talks and special events, the range of subjects covered includes the housing crisis, the problem with contemporary masculinity, the effect of long-term incarceration, Britain’s nuclear deterrent, a child’s reaction to the horror of the Beslan siege, a first-hand account of the Ukrainian revolution and the end of the human race. Amongst the companies and organisations who have trusted us with their productions in 2016 are Aurora Nova, Big in Belgium, Northern Stage, Paines Plough, Ontroerend Goed, Sh!t Theatre, Inspector Sands, Junk Ensemble & Brokentalkers and Blind Summit & Hijinx among many others.

Alongside our strong international selection of theatre and dance, music plays an increasingly large role this year, both as an integral part of much of the stage work and in our Nothing Ever Happens Here programme of exciting live concerts. A popular year-round fixture at Summerhall, the breadth and quality of NEHH means that Summerhall is one of the essential venues for contemporary music of all genres during the Edinburgh Festival.

Our theatre programme includes the return of Tim Crouch’s 2014 play Adler & Gibb, first seen at the Royal Court, a convention-breaking piece about the titular 20th century New York contemporary artists, and a very personal view on the UK’s nuclear deterrent Trident from Fringe First winner Jenna Watt. Raised near the base at Faslane, Watt explores its personal and political space in Scottish life, drawing on her knowledge of people who work on the base and who protest against its existence at the gates.

Sh!t Theatre offer ‘songs, politics, dodgy landlords, detective work and opening other people’s mail’ in Letters to Windsor House; Scots theatremaker Kieran Hurley and musician Michael John McCarthy present Heads Up, a glimpse of a familiar world on the day of its destruction; Inspector Sands’ The Lounge takes apart the ageing process and our response to it; acclaimed comedian Robert Newman returns with The Brain Show, a typically cerebral piece which examines what the brain does when it’s in love; and Arthur Meek and Show Pony’s piece On the Conditions and Possibilities of Hillary Clinton Taking Me As Her Young Lover attempt to deliver on that title’s promise.

Hosted by 2014 Ideas Tap Underbelly winner Rachael Clerke as Archibald Tactful, Cuncrete is a noisy gig-based treatise on masculinity and the built environment backed by a drag king punk band, while Nick Cassenbaum’s Bubble Schmeisis sees the creator explore his Jewish identity. In 4D Cinema, Mamoru Iriguchi wears a screen on his face, turning himself into a mobile cinema, while Sam Rowe’s Denton and Me fuses Rowe’s own life with the story of queer literary icon Denton Welch, a favourite of and influence upon Alan Bennett, William S Burroughs and John Waters.

Described by its artistic director Lorne Campbell as ‘diverse, political, contemporary and hugely ambitious,’ Northern Stage returns with a typically uncompromising selection of work from across the north of England, this year housed in our TechCube0 venue. Amongst the highlights are Lung’s E15, a documentary piece about the 29 single mothers of London’s Focus E15 Group, who fought against being forced from their homes by spiralling rents; Unfolding Theatre’s part-gig, part-theatre work about people’s relationship with music Putting the Band Back Together, featuring Ross Millard of Sunderland indie-rockers the Futureheads; and all-female double Fringe First winners RashDash’s song-and-dance meditation on patriarchy and masculinity Two Man Show.

Once more, Paines Plough will be back in their Roundabout venue, with shows including playwright Alan Harris’ offbeat romantic comedy Love, Lies & Taxidermy, Prime Cut’s piece about a gender-curious teen Scorch, which won Best New Play at the 2015 Irish Theatre Awards, and Dave Malloy’s song cycle about love, death and whisky Ghost Quartet. Earlier/Later is another highlight, a series of late night and early morning readings, talks, debates and exclusive performances.

The Aurora Nova programme includes Blank, acclaimed Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour’s experimental piece of live writing, in which the blanks left in the script are filled by a new performer for each show and members of the audience. In Counting Sheep, Toronto-based Balkan gypsy-punks’15-piece Lemon Bucket Orchestra document their experiences during the 2014 Ukrainian uprising in immersive style, while Under Ice is a new version of German playwright Falk Richter’s meditation on corporate life by the Lithuanian director Arturas Areima.

This year’s Big in Belgium showcase, backed by Theatre Royal Plymouth, Richard Jordan Productions and Summerhall, includes the multiple award-winning Ontroerend Goed’s World Without Us, a solo show performed by Valentijn Dhaenens and Karolien De Bleser, each performing the solo show for half of their festival run, about the end of the world and what comes after. Dood Paard’s Macbain brings the stories of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth together with the grunge legend of Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love in an unforgettable piece of theatre, Yinka Kuitenbrouwer’s One Hundred Homes is a performance staged in a wooden cabin on the theme of ‘home’, which is informed by ongoing conversations with the people of Edinburgh, and BRONKS’ Us/Them, which, with reference to the Beslan school siege, investigates how children respond to extreme situations.

Musically, virtuoso guitarist Simon Thacker returns alongside Polish cellist Justyna Jablonska for the Balkan-influenced musical journey Karmana, Songs of the Roma, composer Graeme Stephen performs his new live soundtrack to Fritz Lang’s sci-fi classic Metropolis, and Vic Llewellyn and lo-fi musician Kid Carpet tell the story of an inmate in a Norwegian psychiatric institute who built a castle on a remote headland over five years in The Castle Builder.

This year Nothing Ever Happens Here is excited to present another typically esoteric Fringe programme of cutting-edge music. Amongst the more widely-recognised names appearing are the Mercury Prize-nominated London vocalist and songwriter Eska, acclaimed Newcastle alternative folk troubadour Richard Dawson, essential post-dubstep duo Mount Kimbie, and the enigmatic, experimental American singer-songwriter Willis Earl Beal.

Scotland’s diverse and exciting scene is also well-represented. Acclaimed Caledonian artists appearing include the thrillingly arch synth-pop group White, willowy Aberdeen singer and 2015 Scottish Album of the Year Award winner Kathryn Joseph and celebrated Falkirk composer, musician and sometime Teenage Fanclub collaborator Bill Wells with his National Jazz Trio of Scotland, a pristine indie-pop group despite the name. Our atmospheric Dissection Room venue will also host club nights throughout August, including the kosmische futurism of Cosmic Disco Nights and our regular cross-genre indie blow-out Grownups.

This year’s visual arts programme draws parallels between historically influential artists and contemporary artists. Exhibitions include:

An overview of the work of Joseph Beuys highlighting his strong links with Scotland, initiated by Richard  Demarco and his gallery the Demarco Gallery. The extensive exhibition celebrates the 50th year of the Demarco Gallery and the 25th year of the Summerhall-based Demarco European Art Foundation. It features photographs, multiples, facsimiles, films and research material and will run alongside similar exhibitions on Beuys at the Tate and the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh.

In Context is Half the Work. A Partial History of the Artist Placement Group Summerhall collaborates with curators Ulrike Jordan and Naomi Hennig to stage the first Scottish exhibition of the seminal Artist Placement Group (APG). Artists include Ian Breakwell, Roger Coward, Garth Evans, David Hall, John Latham, George Levantis and Barbara Steveni. The exhibition focuses on the APG projects that took place in Scotland, exploring the influence of the group and its artists, raising questions still relevant for present day context-based artistic practices.

Our free visual arts programme will span Summerhall’s galleries throughout the length of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, extending till the 5 Oct 2016. The full programme will be announced on the 3 June.

For further information, images and interview requests please contact:

Miriam Attwood: 07825 642225 Andrew Learmonth: 07403 176249

Book via from Thu 12 May and via from Saturday 4 June.

All Shows:

(I Could Go on Singing) Over the RainbowFK Alexander with Okishima Island Tourist Association
4D CinemaMamoru Iriguchi
A Man StandingTheatre de l’Ancre with Wallonie-Bruxelles Théâtre-Danse
Adler & GibbTim Crouch, co-directed by Andy Smith and Karl James
All InAtresbandes
Beyond PriceJack Klaff
BildraumAtelier Bildraum/Big in Belgium
BlankNassim Soleimanpour with Aurora Nova
Borderlines – Asylum MonologuesBeyond Borders with Ice and Fire Theatre
Bubble SchmeisisNick Cassenbaum
CamilleKamila Klamut (Theatr Zar)
Counting SheepLemon Bucket Orkestra in association with Aurora Nova
CuncreteRachael Clerke and the Great White Males
Denton & MeSam Rowe and Macrobert Arts Centre in association with Showroom
Dive: CU Next TuesdayDive
Don’t Panic! It’s Challenge Annekaon the button
Doubting ThomasGrassmarket Projects
EmballageLeeds Beckett University, Richard Demarco Archive and Aletia Upstairs
FaslaneJenna Watt in association with Showroom
French Authors at the FringeCross-Channel Theatre
Graeme Stephen’s MetropolisGraeme Stephen with Zapp 4 and Tom Bancroft
Happy HourMauro Paccagnella & Alessandro Bernardeschi
How (not) to live in SuburbiaAnnie Siddons
I Used to Hear FootstepsJack A. G. Britton
If there’s not dancing at the revolution, I’m not comingJulia Croft
I’m Doing This For YouNever Mind the Noise / Haley McGee
It FoldsBrokentalkers & Junk Ensemble
Karmana: Songs of RomaSimon Thacker and Justyna Jablonska
Kieran Hurley: Heads UpKieran Hurley with Show And Tell
Last CallHet nieuwstedelijk/Big in Belgium
Letters to Windsor HouseSh!t Theatre with Show and Tell
Lost in BlueDebs Newbold and Nimble Fish
MacbainDood Paard/Big in Belgium
Mairi Campbell: PulseMairi Campbell
Meet FredHijinx Theatre in association with Blind Summit
Mikey & AddieAndy Manley and Red Bridge
Mungo Park – Travels in the Interior of AfricaDogstar Theatre Company/Mungo Park Arts Centre
Of, Or At A Fairly Low TemperatureLewys Holt
On the Conditions and Possibilities of Hillary Clinton taking me as her Young LoverArthur Meek
One Hundred HomesYinka Kuitenbrouwer/Big in Belgium
Only BonesKallo Collective in association with Aurora Nova
Outside the BoxLiz Rothschild
Party TrapRoss Sutherland with Show And Tell
PianomorphosisWill Pickvance
Remember to BreatheFigure 8 Productions / Scary Biscuits Promotions
Searching ShadowsEmily Orley
Snakes and GiantsThe Flanagan Collective and Joanne Hartstone
Squirrel Stole my UnderpantsThe Gottabees
Stories to Tell in the Middle of The NightFrancesca Millican-Slater
Tell Me AnythingOn The Run with Show And Tell
The Adventure of PuppetsPuppet Beings Theatre: Taiwan Season
The Brain ShowRobert Newman with Phil McIntyre Entertainments
The Castle BuilderVic Llewellyn and Kid Carpet
The Dwelling PlaceJamie and Lewis Wardrop
The End of the End of HistoryNasi Voutsas and Bertrand Lesca with Fellswoop
The Lady VanishesDudendance Theatre
The LoungeInspector Sands
The Road to HuntsvilleStephanie Ridings
Ubu on the TableThéâtre de la Pire Espèce
Under IceArturo Areimos teatras
Us/ThemBronks/Big in Belgium
Voices in Your HeadRadio Summerhall
WavesAlice Mary Cooper
World Without UsOntroerend Goed/Big in Belgium

Nothing Ever Happens Here:

Cosmic Disco Nights
Mediterraneo Festival Edition 2016
Broken Records & Adam Stafford
Kathryn Joseph & The Anchoress
Mount Kimble (DJ Set) & Hi + Saberhagen
NJTOS – feat. Bill Wells
Orkestra Del Sol
Rachel Sermanni with Matt Norris & The Moon
Rhythm Machine
Richard Dawson & Nev Clay
Sunns & Support
The Soul Foundation
White & Bossy Love
Willis Earl Beal
Withered Hand & Guests

Northern Stage at Summerhall

600 PeopleThird Angel
Equations for a Moving BodyHannah Nicklin
People of the EyeThe Deaf and Hearing Ensemble and Erin Siobhan Hutching
Putting the Band Back TogetherUnfolding Theatre
Sacré BlueZöe Murtagh and Tory Copeland
Two Man ShowRashDash
Where Do All the Dead Pigeons Go?Scott Turnbull


Roundabout at Summerhall

All the Things I Lied AboutKatie Bonna and Paul Jellis in association with Soho Theatre
Every Brilliant ThingPaines Plough
Ghost QuartetGhost Quartet
GrowthPaines Plough
I Got Superpowers For My BirthdayPaines Plough and Half Moon
Jonny & the Baptists: Eat The PoorJonny & the Baptists
Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons LemonsWalrus
Love, Lies and TaxidermyPaines Plough, Sherman Cymru and Theatr Clwyd
ScorchPrime Cut Productions


Summerhall Residents

A Pickering’s Gin JollyPickering’s Gin
Locked In the DistilleryLocked In Edinburgh