How to do Fringe of Colour at Summerhall


We really loved this article published on gal-dem earlier in the year from Jessica Brough that talks about her excellent Fringe of Colour project. In it, she explains that what began as a way for her to organise her 2018 Fringe schedule quickly became a publicly available spreadsheet of every show at the Fringe with a majority person-of-colour cast, unsurprisingly, and depressingly, she found a disturbingly low proportion of work by people of colour, demonstrating the disparity between support offered to white artists and support offered to artists of colour to access the opportunities of a Fringe run.

It’s up to every venue in Edinburgh to recognise this imbalance themselves and put structures in place to address it. That’s the only way we can close the gap. Earlier this year we launched a new award in partnership with Sheffield’s Eclipse Theatre with this in mind. The Eclipse Award, supported by Rakie Ayola, Noma Dumezweni & Danny Sapani, comprises a £10,000 cash bursary and a range of marketing, press and tech support for an artist of colour to present work at Summerhall as part of our 2019 Fringe programme. Its first winner, Rachael Young, is bringing two shows to Summerhall this August: Nightclubbing and OUT.

Nightclubbing, 31 July-11 August, 15.45 (Old Lab)

Nightclubbing is an explosive combination of live music and intergalactic visions, revolving around the cult of Grace Jones. Rachael has taken Grace’s 1981 album of the same name and juxtaposed it with the story of three black women being refused entry to a London nightclub in 2015. What follows is a celebration of black women’s bodies, an exploration of Afrofuturism, and the start of a revolution.

OUT, 13-25 August, 15.45 (Old Lab)

OUT sees Rachael share the stage with dancer and choreographer marikiscrycrycrycry. Defiantly challenging homophobia and transphobia, OUT is a conversation between artists, and between bodies, exploring dancehall and Vogue culture. It’s about remembrance and re-invention, self-expression and shape-shifting, whilst remaining powerful, defiant, and beautifully eloquent.

Here’s a selection of other shows at Summerhall with a majority person-of-colour cast.

Life Is No Laughing Matter, 31 July-18 August, 13.00-14.00, Techcube 0

An exhausting, hilarious account of living with depression from Birmingham based Demi Nandhra. Expect shit metaphors, co-dependency, holy water and the one and only Yoko the Dog.

Who Cares, 31 July-25 August, 18.20-19.35, Main Hall

A new work from award-winning theatre company LUNG, who won a Fringe First with 2018’s Trojan Horse. Similarly powerful, Who Cares examines our failing care system and the impact of austerity on young people.

Sparkle, 31 July-25 August, 10.20-11.00, Techcube 0

A timely show for audiences of 3 and up that celebrates diversity and self-expression. Playful and poignant, Sparkle is about discovering the joy of standing up for yourself and being unique.

Ali and Alpo, 6-25 August, 13.05-13.45, Old Lab

A beautiful wordless dialogue between Iraqi traditional music and Finnish contemporary dance. Ali Alawad, a traditional Iraqi oud lute player, takes part in the performance via video projection, after his asylum application was rejected whilst in the process of making the work.

Deer Woman, 31 July-24 August, 14.30-16.00, CanadaHub

Presented by Indigenous Contemporary Scene, Deer Woman is a story of righteous vengeance, a darkly-comedic revenge thriller about one of 1600 officially recognised missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada.

Parakeet, 31 July – 25 August, 17.05-18.05 Roundabout

Written by Brigitte Aphrodite with music by Quiet Boy, Parakeet is a new musical about finding your flock and ruffling feathers, Parakeet is a feast for the ears, eyes and heart told through irresistible song, poetry and electronic sounds. Discover the new spirit of punk: punk with empathy.

In 2019 Summerhall is participating in Jessica’s FoC project by donating tickets for selected shows by artists of colour to enable young people of colour to attend. If you are a young person of colour (aged 25 and under) and would like to have access to these tickets, you can do so by joining the closed “Fringe of Colour Ticketing Scheme 2019” Facebook group. Alternatively, if you are part of a youth group local to Edinburgh, speak to your organiser as your group may already be involved in the scheme, or might like to be!

For Jess’ full Fringe of Colour spreadsheet, head to this link.