FESTIVAL PROGRAMME 2021

6 – 29 August 2021 | Venue 26

Welcome back to Summerhall and to our 2021 Fringe festival programme. 

After a difficult (really difficult) year and a bit, we are so happy to be presenting artists’ work to audiences again.

Thank you to everyone who helped us survive, by donating to our Crowdfunder campaigns, postponing your gig tickets, buying pints in the Courtyard Bar or sending us messages of support. Summerhall wouldn’t have made it this far without you, and we are profoundly grateful for your help.

For Fringe 2021, you can join us wherever you are in the world, whenever you want, to watch work online and on demand. You can join us online to meet the artists and find out more about them and their work in a series of live discussion events. You can join us to watch new live work, created for an online space. And you can join us in person in Summerhall’s Secret Courtyard to experience live music, theatre, dance, spoken word and storytelling once again.

However you choose to experience our programme this year, we are excited to welcome you back to Summerhall, and looking forward to sharing some brilliant, innovative and resilient artists’ work with you.

– Verity Leigh, Programme Manager

“SUMMERHALL ISN’T JUST AN EXTRAORDINARY PLACE TO SEE THEATRE WITH A PROGRAMME OF UNEQUALLED DIMENSION, BUT A VILLAGE, A COMMUNITY, A PLACE TO FEEL – HOWEVER FANCIFULLY – THAT YOU BELONG, AMONG ALL THE MADNESS.”

THE STAGE, AUGUST 2017

Festival Events…

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Fri 06 Aug 2021 - Sun 29 Aug 2021

Paper Doll Militia

Venue

Online

Does instant connectivity help our attempts to make meaningful relationships with our surroundings and our fellow humans? Or does it reinforce feelings of isolation and inadequacy as we reflect upon and react to connections made and lost? A dynamic exploration of the ways in which modern methods of communications affect us all, using dance, physicality, aerial acrobatics, tight-wire walking and original music. A modern love story set in our digitally connected world. Distanced by a world of wires, two lost individuals work on finding each other, but in doing so must first find themselves.

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Fri 06 Aug 2021 - Sun 29 Aug 2021

Amina Khayyam Dance Company

Venue

Online

Catch the Bird Who Won’t Fly is a digital dance-theatre piece made during the Covid lockdowns by working remotely with artists to bring attention to the devastating reality of a crime, which increased during lockdown and is often shrouded in secrecy – domestic violence against women. Using animation and green screen technology, four individual stories are told through Kathak dance from real-life experiences that were researched with the company’s network of women’s group users.

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Fri 06 Aug 2021 - Sun 29 Aug 2021

Deaf & Fabulous/Taking Flight co-production with Theatrau Sir Gar/Welfare Ystradgynlais

Venue

Online

Lissa is defensive, deaf and failing university – the last thing she needs right now is to fall in love. Siôn is a wide-eyed Pontardawe boy with rock-star dreams, desperately in love and about to have his heart broken. And Josh… Josh just wants to beat the end of level Boss. With humour, honesty and a lot of breakdowns in communication, Fow asks us how we fall in love when we don’t hear each other and finds there is always a way if you just look hard enough. A heart-warming love story told in different languages.

Event Categories:
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Fri 06 Aug 2021 - Sun 29 Aug 2021

Simon Thacker

Venue

Online

Drawing on a deep lifelong immersion in diverse cultures and an array of pioneering experiences, Scotland’s ‘musical alchemist’ (World Music Report) offers a revelatory new vision for the art of solo guitar. In Pashyanti [Sanskrit: the junction point between the ordinary waking state and pure consciousness] Simon explores every facet of the instrument, from ‘shimmering, fluttering delicacy’ (List) and ‘shifting rhythmic complexity’ (Songlines), to ‘primal, multi-layered sounds’ (Caleidoscope). ‘Punjabi folk song, flamenco and Sephardic music, Sanskrit alchemy and Gaelic folklore… they all seem grist to the mill for Simon Thacker’ (Scotsman). MadeInScotlandShowcase.com

Event Categories:
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Fri 06 Aug 2021

Swallow the Sea Caravan Theatre Company

Venue

Secret Courtyard

A 1970’s caravan is the stage for outdoor performances, letting the audience escape into a wildly different world where no experience is ever the same. Visual Theatre incorporating puppetry, object, and physical theatre with live soundscapes to get lost in, no dialogue. ‘Swallow the Sea’s shows take delicate steps into the imagination’ (Guardian). ‘Perfectly pitched’ **** (Scotsman). ‘Swallow the Sea Caravan Theatre offer a real Fringe experience – amusing, slightly bizarre and definitely memorable’ **** (BroadwayWorld.com). MadeInScotlandShowcase.com

Event Categories:
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Fri 06 Aug 2021 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Thaddeus Phillips

Venue

Online Live

The international live yet remote online sensation, ZOO MOTEL, comes to Summerhall’s 2021 digital fringe programme. Limited to only 25 audience participants nightly, who check into virtual “rooms”, ZOO MOTEL is a wild exploration of live theatre and the magic of cinema. ZOO MOTEL opened up in September of 2020 and has since become the longest running live theatre work on earth. The live transmission comes directly from the studio of theatre director, designer and performer Thaddeus Phillips, who performs this work as a live interactive movie.

Event Categories:
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Fri 06 Aug 2021 @ 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm

Darkfield

Venue

Online

Knot is a trilogy, a three-part immersive audio experience unfolding in three different locations – for the first episode audiences will situate themselves on a park bench, for the second in a car, and for the third in a room of their home. Three intersecting, interwoven episodes revolve around a traumatic event and question how inevitable anything is. You will need to experience all three for the story to be complete. To access the experience you will need a phone, the Darkfield Radio app, tickets and headphones.

Event Categories:
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Fri 06 Aug 2021 @ 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Thaddeus Phillips

Venue

Online Live

The international live yet remote online sensation, ZOO MOTEL, comes to Summerhall’s 2021 digital fringe programme. Limited to only 25 audience participants nightly, who check into virtual “rooms”, ZOO MOTEL is a wild exploration of live theatre and the magic of cinema. ZOO MOTEL opened up in September of 2020 and has since become the longest running live theatre work on earth. The live transmission comes directly from the studio of theatre director, designer and performer Thaddeus Phillips, who performs this work as a live interactive movie.

Event Categories:
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Sat 07 Aug 2021

Swallow the Sea Caravan Theatre Company

Venue

Secret Courtyard

A 1970’s caravan is the stage for outdoor performances, letting the audience escape into a wildly different world where no experience is ever the same. Visual Theatre incorporating puppetry, object, and physical theatre with live soundscapes to get lost in, no dialogue. ‘Swallow the Sea’s shows take delicate steps into the imagination’ (Guardian). ‘Perfectly pitched’ **** (Scotsman). ‘Swallow the Sea Caravan Theatre offer a real Fringe experience – amusing, slightly bizarre and definitely memorable’ **** (BroadwayWorld.com). MadeInScotlandShowcase.com

Event Categories:
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Sat 07 Aug 2021 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Thaddeus Phillips

Venue

Online Live

The international live yet remote online sensation, ZOO MOTEL, comes to Summerhall’s 2021 digital fringe programme. Limited to only 25 audience participants nightly, who check into virtual “rooms”, ZOO MOTEL is a wild exploration of live theatre and the magic of cinema. ZOO MOTEL opened up in September of 2020 and has since become the longest running live theatre work on earth. The live transmission comes directly from the studio of theatre director, designer and performer Thaddeus Phillips, who performs this work as a live interactive movie.

Event Categories:
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Sat 07 Aug 2021 @ 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm

Darkfield

Venue

Online

Knot is a trilogy, a three-part immersive audio experience unfolding in three different locations – for the first episode audiences will situate themselves on a park bench, for the second in a car, and for the third in a room of their home. Three intersecting, interwoven episodes revolve around a traumatic event and question how inevitable anything is. You will need to experience all three for the story to be complete. To access the experience you will need a phone, the Darkfield Radio app, tickets and headphones.

Event Categories:
,

Sat 07 Aug 2021 @ 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Thaddeus Phillips

Venue

Online Live

The international live yet remote online sensation, ZOO MOTEL, comes to Summerhall’s 2021 digital fringe programme. Limited to only 25 audience participants nightly, who check into virtual “rooms”, ZOO MOTEL is a wild exploration of live theatre and the magic of cinema. ZOO MOTEL opened up in September of 2020 and has since become the longest running live theatre work on earth. The live transmission comes directly from the studio of theatre director, designer and performer Thaddeus Phillips, who performs this work as a live interactive movie.

Event Categories:
,

Sun 08 Aug 2021

Swallow the Sea Caravan Theatre Company

Venue

Secret Courtyard

A 1970’s caravan is the stage for outdoor performances, letting the audience escape into a wildly different world where no experience is ever the same. Visual Theatre incorporating puppetry, object, and physical theatre with live soundscapes to get lost in, no dialogue. ‘Swallow the Sea’s shows take delicate steps into the imagination’ (Guardian). ‘Perfectly pitched’ **** (Scotsman). ‘Swallow the Sea Caravan Theatre offer a real Fringe experience – amusing, slightly bizarre and definitely memorable’ **** (BroadwayWorld.com). MadeInScotlandShowcase.com

Event Categories:
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Sun 08 Aug 2021 @ 12:50 pm - 2:00 pm

Room2Manoeuvre

Venue

Secret Courtyard

City Breakz is an outdoor pop-up hip-hop performance trail taking over unexpected places in city and town landscapes, where anything can become a dancefloor. Four dancers – each armed with a patch of linoleum and sound system – journey through urban environments, throwing shapes as they navigate the uneven surfaces and gradients of the city. Will they find each other in time for the final showdown? It’s hip-hop… but not as you know it. Funded by Creative Scotland Touring Fund for Theatre and Dance. Supported by: The Workroom, Merchant City Festival, The Brunton, Summerhall and Tramway Residency Programme.

Event Categories:
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Sun 08 Aug 2021 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Thaddeus Phillips

Venue

Online Live

The international live yet remote online sensation, ZOO MOTEL, comes to Summerhall’s 2021 digital fringe programme. Limited to only 25 audience participants nightly, who check into virtual “rooms”, ZOO MOTEL is a wild exploration of live theatre and the magic of cinema. ZOO MOTEL opened up in September of 2020 and has since become the longest running live theatre work on earth. The live transmission comes directly from the studio of theatre director, designer and performer Thaddeus Phillips, who performs this work as a live interactive movie.

Event Categories:
,

Sun 08 Aug 2021 @ 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm

Darkfield

Venue

Online

Knot is a trilogy, a three-part immersive audio experience unfolding in three different locations – for the first episode audiences will situate themselves on a park bench, for the second in a car, and for the third in a room of their home. Three intersecting, interwoven episodes revolve around a traumatic event and question how inevitable anything is. You will need to experience all three for the story to be complete. To access the experience you will need a phone, the Darkfield Radio app, tickets and headphones.

Event Categories:
,

Sun 08 Aug 2021 @ 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Thaddeus Phillips

Venue

Online Live

The international live yet remote online sensation, ZOO MOTEL, comes to Summerhall’s 2021 digital fringe programme. Limited to only 25 audience participants nightly, who check into virtual “rooms”, ZOO MOTEL is a wild exploration of live theatre and the magic of cinema. ZOO MOTEL opened up in September of 2020 and has since become the longest running live theatre work on earth. The live transmission comes directly from the studio of theatre director, designer and performer Thaddeus Phillips, who performs this work as a live interactive movie.

Event Category:

Mon 09 Aug 2021 @ 12:00 pm - Fri 13 Aug 2021 @ 12:10 pm

Queen Jesus Productions

Venue

Online

Queen Jesus Productions presents A Space to Bless, live from St Mary’s Cathedral – a radical queer space for contemplation, connection and meditation. Each daily chapter will be streamed at noon, offering a gathering, a text, space for meditation and a blessing for a short time each day – filmed at the stunning St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral, in Edinburgh. The blessings incorporate elements of Jo Clifford’s groundbreaking play, The Gospel According to Jesus, Queen of Heaven, reimagined in this unique setting – inspired by the building’s use, stunning features and fascinating history.

Event Category:

Mon 09 Aug 2021 @ 12:00 pm - Fri 13 Aug 2021 @ 12:10 pm

Queen Jesus Productions

Venue

Online

Queen Jesus Productions presents A Space to Bless, live from St Mary’s Cathedral – a radical queer space for contemplation, connection and meditation. Each daily chapter will be streamed at noon, offering a gathering, a text, space for meditation and a blessing for a short time each day – filmed at the stunning St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral, in Edinburgh. The blessings incorporate elements of Jo Clifford’s groundbreaking play, The Gospel According to Jesus, Queen of Heaven, reimagined in this unique setting – inspired by the building’s use, stunning features and fascinating history.

Event Categories:
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Wed 11 Aug 2021

Swallow the Sea Caravan Theatre Company

Venue

Secret Courtyard

A 1970’s caravan is the stage for outdoor performances, letting the audience escape into a wildly different world where no experience is ever the same. Visual Theatre incorporating puppetry, object, and physical theatre with live soundscapes to get lost in, no dialogue. ‘Swallow the Sea’s shows take delicate steps into the imagination’ (Guardian). ‘Perfectly pitched’ **** (Scotsman). ‘Swallow the Sea Caravan Theatre offer a real Fringe experience – amusing, slightly bizarre and definitely memorable’ **** (BroadwayWorld.com). MadeInScotlandShowcase.com

Event Categories:
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Wed 11 Aug 2021 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

John Osborne

Venue

Secret Courtyard

My Car Plays Tapes is the new storytelling show by John Osborne, about getting older, jobs, cars that don’t really work and how to make big decisions with your life. From the creator of John Peel’s Shed ***** (Scotsman).

Event Categories:
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Wed 11 Aug 2021 @ 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Simon Thacker

Venue

Secret Courtyard

Drawing on a deep lifelong immersion in diverse cultures and an array of pioneering experiences, Scotland’s ‘musical alchemist’ (World Music Report) offers a revelatory new vision for the art of solo guitar. In Pashyanti [Sanskrit: the junction point between the ordinary waking state and pure consciousness] Simon explores every facet of the instrument, from ‘shimmering, fluttering delicacy’ (List) and ‘shifting rhythmic complexity’ (Songlines), to ‘primal, multi-layered sounds’ (Caleidoscope). ‘Punjabi folk song, flamenco and Sephardic music, Sanskrit alchemy and Gaelic folklore… they all seem grist to the mill for Simon Thacker’ (Scotsman). MadeInScotlandShowcase.com

Event Categories:
,

Thu 12 Aug 2021

Swallow the Sea Caravan Theatre Company

Venue

Secret Courtyard

A 1970’s caravan is the stage for outdoor performances, letting the audience escape into a wildly different world where no experience is ever the same. Visual Theatre incorporating puppetry, object, and physical theatre with live soundscapes to get lost in, no dialogue. ‘Swallow the Sea’s shows take delicate steps into the imagination’ (Guardian). ‘Perfectly pitched’ **** (Scotsman). ‘Swallow the Sea Caravan Theatre offer a real Fringe experience – amusing, slightly bizarre and definitely memorable’ **** (BroadwayWorld.com). MadeInScotlandShowcase.com

Event Categories:
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Thu 12 Aug 2021 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

John Osborne

Venue

Secret Courtyard

My Car Plays Tapes is the new storytelling show by John Osborne, about getting older, jobs, cars that don’t really work and how to make big decisions with your life. From the creator of John Peel’s Shed ***** (Scotsman).

Event Categories:
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Thu 12 Aug 2021 @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Casey Jay Andrews and Lion House Theatre

Venue

Secret Courtyard

The stars are empty, the moon has fallen from the sky and the mountains are full of monsters. Barri collects newspaper clippings and listens to vinyl in her grandmother’s attic. Sam is trying to outrun a community support officer investigating the murder of several domestic badgers. Weaved from folklore and fable Every Wild Beast is about fear, fate and running away from really big scary things. Sell-out show, Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2016.

Event Categories:
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Fri 13 Aug 2021

Swallow the Sea Caravan Theatre Company

Venue

Secret Courtyard

A 1970’s caravan is the stage for outdoor performances, letting the audience escape into a wildly different world where no experience is ever the same. Visual Theatre incorporating puppetry, object, and physical theatre with live soundscapes to get lost in, no dialogue. ‘Swallow the Sea’s shows take delicate steps into the imagination’ (Guardian). ‘Perfectly pitched’ **** (Scotsman). ‘Swallow the Sea Caravan Theatre offer a real Fringe experience – amusing, slightly bizarre and definitely memorable’ **** (BroadwayWorld.com). MadeInScotlandShowcase.com

Event Categories:
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Fri 13 Aug 2021 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Venue

Secret Courtyard

Sacred Paws don’t take things too seriously. You can hear it all the way through a conversation with its two members, guitarist Rachel Aggs and drummer Eilidh Rodgers, punctuated by rolls of giggles and thoughtful pauses, and you can hear it in the light touch they bring to their music. The Glasgow-based band bring that fun and light touch to Summerhall, performing songs from SAY Award-winning album Strike a Match and acclaimed follow-up Run Around The Sun, which showcase their unique blend of shimmering guitar riffs, snappy beats and swooning melodies.

Event Categories:
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Fri 13 Aug 2021 @ 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm

Darkfield

Venue

Online

Knot is a trilogy, a three-part immersive audio experience unfolding in three different locations – for the first episode audiences will situate themselves on a park bench, for the second in a car, and for the third in a room of their home. Three intersecting, interwoven episodes revolve around a traumatic event and question how inevitable anything is. You will need to experience all three for the story to be complete. To access the experience you will need a phone, the Darkfield Radio app, tickets and headphones.

Event Categories:
,

Sat 14 Aug 2021

Swallow the Sea Caravan Theatre Company

Venue

Secret Courtyard

A 1970’s caravan is the stage for outdoor performances, letting the audience escape into a wildly different world where no experience is ever the same. Visual Theatre incorporating puppetry, object, and physical theatre with live soundscapes to get lost in, no dialogue. ‘Swallow the Sea’s shows take delicate steps into the imagination’ (Guardian). ‘Perfectly pitched’ **** (Scotsman). ‘Swallow the Sea Caravan Theatre offer a real Fringe experience – amusing, slightly bizarre and definitely memorable’ **** (BroadwayWorld.com). MadeInScotlandShowcase.com

Event Category:

Sat 14 Aug 2021 - Sun 29 Aug 2021

Queen Jesus Productions

Venue

Online

Queen Jesus Productions presents A Space to Bless, live from St Mary’s Cathedral – a radical queer space for contemplation, connection and meditation. Each daily chapter will be streamed at noon, offering a gathering, a text, space for meditation and a blessing for a short time each day – filmed at the stunning St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral, in Edinburgh. The blessings incorporate elements of Jo Clifford’s groundbreaking play, The Gospel According to Jesus, Queen of Heaven, reimagined in this unique setting – inspired by the building’s use, stunning features and fascinating history.

  • All Festival Events

    View all our Festival events.

  • Theatre

    Contemporary performances from across the world.

  • Music

    Gigs and performances from Scotland and beyond.

  • Dance, Physical and Circus

    Contemporary physical performances from across the world.

  • Online Live

    Events broadcast online 'as live'.

  • In Person

    Events you can see in person at Summerhall during the Festival.

  • On Demand

    Online events you can view at any time during the Festival.

  • About This Year's Festival

    Find out more about how this year’s Festival will work.

    Frequently asked questions about ticketing, access, and safety, plus information about our supporters and awards.

  • Meet the Artists

    Summerhall presents a series of free online Meet the Artist events – a chance to hear directly from the artists who are presenting work in our online space during Fringe 2021.

  • Accessibility

    & accessible performances

    Information on show and venue accessibility for Summerhall Festival 2021.

  • Our Supporters

    In August 2020, when we were supposed to be celebrating our 10th Fringe programme, we instead found ourselves launching a Crowdfunder campaign to help Summerhall survive the Covid-19 pandemic.

  • FAQs

    Please check back here regularly, and certainly on the day that you plan to visit Summerhall, as this is where we will post updated information about any changes or new information.