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 Rainbow FK Alexander with Okishima Island Tourist Association
4D Cinema Mamoru Iriguchi
A Man Standing Theatre de l’Ancre with Wallonie-Bruxelles Théâtre-Danse
Adler & Gibb Tim Crouch, co-directed by Andy Smith and Karl James
All In Atresbandes
Beyond Price Jack Klaff
Bildraum Atelier Bildraum/Big in Belgium
Blank Nassim Soleimanpour with Aurora Nova
Borderlines – Asylum Monologues Beyond Borders with Ice and Fire Theatre
Bubble Schmeisis Nick Cassenbaum
Camille Kamila Klamut (Theatr Zar)
Counting Sheep Lemon Bucket Orkestra in association with Aurora Nova
Cuncrete Rachael Clerke and the Great White Males
Denton & Me Sam Rowe and Macrobert Arts Centre in association with Showroom
Dive: CU Next Tuesday Dive
Don’t Panic! It’s Challenge Anneka on the button
Doubting Thomas Grassmarket Projects
Emballage Leeds Beckett University, Richard Demarco Archive and Aletia Upstairs
Faslane Jenna Watt in association with Showroom
French Authors at the Fringe Cross-Channel Theatre
Graeme Stephen’s Metropolis Graeme Stephen with Zapp 4 and Tom Bancroft
Happy Hour Mauro Paccagnella & Alessandro Bernardeschi
How (not) to live in Suburbia Annie Siddons
I Used to Hear Footsteps Jack A. G. Britton
If there’s not dancing at the revolution, I’m not coming Julia Croft
I’m Doing This For You Never Mind the Noise / Haley McGee
It Folds Brokentalkers & Junk Ensemble
Karmana: Songs of Roma Simon Thacker and Justyna Jablonska
Kieran Hurley: Heads Up Kieran Hurley with Show And Tell
Last Call Het nieuwstedelijk/Big in Belgium
Letters to Windsor House Sh!t Theatre with Show and Tell
Lost in Blue Debs Newbold and Nimble Fish
Macbain Dood Paard/Big in Belgium
Mairi Campbell: Pulse Mairi Campbell
Meet Fred Hijinx Theatre in association with Blind Summit
Mikey & Addie Andy Manley and Red Bridge
Mungo Park – Travels in the Interior of Africa Dogstar Theatre Company/Mungo Park Arts Centre
Of, Or At A Fairly Low Temperature Lewys Holt
On the Conditions and Possibilities of Hillary Clinton taking me as her Young Lover Arthur Meek
One Hundred Homes Yinka Kuitenbrouwer/Big in Belgium
Only Bones Kallo Collective in association with Aurora Nova
Outside the Box Liz Rothschild
Party Trap Ross Sutherland with Show And Tell
Pianomorphosis Will Pickvance
Remember to Breathe Figure 8 Productions / Scary Biscuits Promotions
Searching Shadows Emily Orley
Snakes and Giants The Flanagan Collective and Joanne Hartstone
Squirrel Stole my Underpants The Gottabees
Stories to Tell in the Middle of The Night Francesca Millican-Slater
Tell Me Anything On The Run with Show And Tell
The Adventure of Puppets Puppet Beings Theatre: Taiwan Season
The Brain Show Robert Newman with Phil McIntyre Entertainments
The Castle Builder Vic Llewellyn and Kid Carpet
The Dwelling Place Jamie and Lewis Wardrop
The End of the End of History Nasi Voutsas and Bertrand Lesca with Fellswoop
The Lady Vanishes Dudendance Theatre
The Lounge Inspector Sands
The Road to Huntsville Stephanie Ridings
Ubu on the Table Théâtre de la Pire Espèce
Under Ice Arturo Areimos teatras
Us/Them Bronks/Big in Belgium
Voices in Your Head Radio Summerhall
Waves Alice Mary Cooper
World Without Us Ontroerend 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 People Third Angel
Equations for a Moving Body Hannah Nicklin
People of the Eye The Deaf and Hearing Ensemble and Erin Siobhan Hutching
Putting the Band Back Together Unfolding Theatre
Sacré Blue Zöe Murtagh and Tory Copeland
Two Man Show RashDash
Where Do All the Dead Pigeons Go? Scott Turnbull


Roundabout at Summerhall

All the Things I Lied About Katie Bonna and Paul Jellis in association with Soho Theatre
Every Brilliant Thing Paines Plough
Ghost Quartet Ghost Quartet
Growth Paines Plough
I Got Superpowers For My Birthday Paines Plough and Half Moon
Jonny & the Baptists: Eat The Poor Jonny & the Baptists
Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Walrus
Love, Lies and Taxidermy Paines Plough, Sherman Cymru and Theatr Clwyd
Scorch Prime Cut Productions


Summerhall Residents

A Pickering’s Gin Jolly Pickering’s Gin
Locked In the Distillery Locked In Edinburgh