The Traverse Theatre earlier today launched its 2012 festival programme, with eight world premieres and two Scottish premieres among its total of 19 festival shows and events.
The programme showcases new writing from some of the most important names in contemporary theatre. A flagship double bill contrasts pieces by two major Scottish playwrights: David Greig’s The Letter of Last Resort, about a future Prime Minister struggling with her vision of the future, with David Harrower’s Good With People, in which a man returns to a past he’s been trying to avoid.
Morning, a dark coming-of-age drama, is the first play for young people by Simon Stephens, and its production by the Lyric Hammersmith performed by the Lyric Young Company is directed by Sean Holmes. Bill Paterson and Dearbhla Molloy star in And No More Shall We Part, a moving look at a fracturing relationship by Australian playwright Tom Holloway.
Two erstwhile comedians also tread the boards of Traverse 1. There’s a new show from Daniel Kitson, at the moment given the title As of 1.52GMT on Friday April 27th 2012, This Show Has No Title, although Kitson has admitted that he is yet to write it – he will think about it in June, work on it in July and perform it in August. And political activist Mark Thomas turns the spotlight on himself and his family in the world premiere of Bravo Figaro!, which focuses on his father.
Belgian troublemakers Ontroerend Goed return to the Traverse for the final part of their trilogy on youth, All That Is Wrong, which follows the acclaimed Once and For All We’re Gonna Tell You Who We Are So Shut Up and Listen and Teenage Riot. And award-winning writer Chris Goode collaborates with the Unicorn Theatre on Monkey Bars, a verbatim piece based on 30 children aged eight to ten talking about their lives.
There are two productions performed at the Scottish Book Trust aimed specifically at children: Shona Reppe’s puppetry piece The Curious Scrapbook of Josephine Bean and The Ballad of Pondlife McGurk from Catherine Wheels, who received wide acclaim for their sublime White.
Two emerging Scottish artists get prime slots in Traverse 2: Kieran Hurley with his look at 1990s rave culture, Beats, and Gary McNair with Born to Run. And there’s the return of breakfast theatre, with Dream Plays (Scenes from a Play I’ll Never Write), curated and directed by David Greig and Traverse Artistic Director Orla O’Loughlin, for which they’ve asked 12 of the UK’s most gifted playwrights to explore the world of dreams.
With a wealth of other productions and collaborations, contemporary opera, talks and cutting-edge political theatre, it’s a rich and compelling season.
Everyone seems to be at it. After the success of The Chemical Brothers ‘Don’t Think’ cinema release, more and more bands seem to want a bit of a red carpet moment to launch their concert DVDs.
Kasabian, a band with countless gongs for their live shows, have followed suit. Filmed at the O2 on the last night of their 2011 Velociraptor! tour, it showcases exactly what the band are about – exhilarating vocals, napalm guitars and drums that they can hear in Valhalla.
In cinemas for one night only (their sound systems can breathe a sigh of relief) it follows the traditional concert film template. No interviews, no build-up, just straight to business. Lesser bands would struggle to hold the audience’s attention in this format but Kasabian’s visceral playing and outstanding back catalogue leaves the cinema captivated.
Anybody who has been to one of their gigs knows the mayhem that ensues when they take the stage. This film gives you an insight into the whole picture of the performance, some of which you have missed whilst jumping around like a madman.
The main thing the audience will take away from this bird’s-eye viewing will be the enjoyment the band clearly have in playing. Serge jumps about like a madman. Tom is forever playing the air guitar just like thousands in the crowd do. In fact, the front man even throws in a costume change (well, his jacket anyway) to keep the more observant of fans happy. Who says boys from Leicester don’t know what showbiz is ?
Naturally the tunes are fantastic. They are played, and come across, as exquisitely as one now expects from Kasabian. ‘Days Are Forgotten’ gets the riot started, ‘Velociraptor’ sounds as nuts as it does on record before ‘I.D’ brings a sense of serene calm to the eye of the storm.
It does not last. ‘Club Foot’ and ‘Re-Wired’ kick like a mid-set shot of adrenalin. Things take on an emotional angle when Tom starts a mass sing-a-long of ‘Happy Birthday’ to celebrate Serge’s birthday. ‘La Fee Verte’ continues this touching thread before ‘Fast Fuse’ goes off like a keg of dynamite.
After a cheeky rendition of ‘Jingle Bells’ it’s the touching ‘Goodbye Kiss’ and then the colossal ‘L.S.F’. Any band that has the bottle to play this mammoth sing-a-long before the encore are clearly at the height of their powers.
Obligatory encore taken, it’s the dark and brooding ‘Switchblade Smiles’ and ‘Vlad The Impaler’ to warm the crowd up for the supernova that is ‘Fire’. If there’s a song that’s enshrined itself into the British public more this century I’d like to hear it. From the beginnings of the rumbling bass to the final drum beat, the band have the audience in the palm of their hand. Tom even manages to get the whole of the O2 to sit down in preparation for the final surge of the chorus.
This film will make you want to go and see them live. It expertly transfers the brilliance of the band and energy of the crowd to the audience and leaves you wanting more. It won’t win any Oscars but it will definitely show you a good time.
Kasabian headline this year’s T In The Park (8th July)
‘Kasabian Live! – Live at the O2′ is released on 25th June
The MS Marco Polo called in at Leith on Monday morning to pick up some passengers and also allow some to reluctantly disembark after a short trip to the north of Scotland. She is on her Jubilee round Britain cruise at the moment and by tomorrow Friday she will be halfway round the British Isles calling in at Cardiff. She will be visiting various other ports including London’s Tilbury on the way which is regarded by the ship as another home port.
This vessel is small by cruising standards, but big enough to get yourself lost. The Reporter certainly tried quite deliberately to wander off and stay on board, but the crew would have known as they take your passport for safekeeping at the top of the gangway. There is also an airport style scanner to go through, but the voyages are sold very much on the basis that the security which airport passengers endure is not an integral part of boarding the Marco Polo.
We enjoyed a very tasty and beautifully presented lunch, served in the main restaurant by accomplished waiters and waitresses, some of whom have been on the Marco Polo for a number of years. We were royally entertained in sight of the Royal Yacht Britannia by Paul Foster representing Cruise Maritime Voyages who run a full programme of cruises.
There is a small swimming pool, a gym and a beauty salon as well as all the food that is constantly on offer throughout the day. Paul explained that there are some cruises where formal dress is required for many of the nights on board, but generally cruise wear seemed to be shorts and T-shirts.
This is our video of our tour on the Russian built ship:-
One of the other visitors who accompanied us on our tour of the Marco Polo was Gary Donaldson from Edinburgh based Pickncruise who gets some really good late deals On Marco Polo. He had a couple booked in the top suite onboard and managed to sneak a quick look round before they came onboard – seperate livingroom , bedroom and a marble bathroom – champagne chilling and complimentary hors d’oeuvres!
For anyone tempted the 10 night North Cape & Land Of The Midnight Sun cruise on 26 June has just been reduced to £549p/p – alas the suites are sold out though!
Representatives of cycling safety group, Pedal on Parliament, met with Scottish Government Transport Minister Keith Brown MSP, along with other MSPs and government officials today to discuss the key points of their eight point manifesto.
The group concentrated on their top three demands: more funding for cycling, safer speeds, and better designed cycling networks across Scotland. These were the three areas that their supporters have been raising with them via Twitter, email and their website. They consider them to be the key issues that have to be sorted out if the government is to achieve its target of 10% of journeys being made by bike by 2020.
While they were encouraged to hear that the government would at least be sticking to its manifesto commitments for increasing the level of spending on active travel, Keith Brown made no commitment for the sort of funding they were asking for, which is 5% of the transport budget. The Minister explained that he felt responsibility for cycling is largely in the hands of local authorities, and although he is planning to look at what the Welsh government initiative does (mandating local authorities to create safe networks) he said he was reluctant to impose policy on Scottish councils in a top-down manner.
Without substantial central government funding, then realistically the group feel that there is little The Scottish Government can do to meet its own target for cycling levels. Although the Minister promised to look at making it easier for local authorities to lower speed limits in their areas, he argued that this is largely out of his hands.
However, they have agreed to meet again and to work together to try to identify what The Scottish Government might do. In particular, the Pedal on Parliamenters hope that the road or traffic design guidelines might be strengthened in line with international best practice.
Dave Brennan, one of the organisers, said:-
‘We had a positive meeting with Keith Brown and we are very pleased that he’s invited us to meet again to follow up on some of the points we’ve raised and others we didn’t have time to cover. We are hopeful that this is a start of an ongoing relationship and that together we can make Scotland a cycle-friendly nation. However central funding is absolutely critical, especially if the details of policy are to be left up to local authorities. Strategy, leadership and core funding must come from the Scottish Government.’
The Edinburgh Reporter caught up with the POP representatives after their meeting when they were hard at work putting down on paper what they felt they had achieved at their meeting. (They all look quite different when they are not in cycling gear!) We interviewed the three people who had been at the Holyrood meeting and the audio is here:-
easyJet, Scotland’s largest airline, is the official European travel partner for the Edinburgh International Film Festival 2012, its second year of association with one of the city’s leading Festivals.
As part of the sponsorship deal, easyJet will fly many of the high profile industry figures associated with this year’s event into the city, during the Festival dates from 20 June – 1 July.
The Edinburgh International Film Festival will open on June 20 with legendary director William Friedkin’s comic noir thriller, KILLER JOE, starring Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch, Juno Temple, Gina Gershon and Thomas Haden Church. The Festival will wrap up with the European Premiere of the wildly anticipated Disney-Pixar animated film BRAVE on June 30.
Hugh Aitken, easyJet’s commercial manager for Scotland, said:- “We are delighted to be supporting the Edinburgh International Film Festival for the second year in a row as it continues to enhance its reputation for delivering the very best in international cinema.
“easyJet is fully committed to the city of Edinburgh, introducing new routes to Naples and Dalaman this summer, bringing the total amount of routes out of Edinburgh to 24.
“In the past year, we have carried 2.4 million passengers on flights in and out of Edinburgh as we continue with our objective of making air travel easy and affordable for our growing customer base in the business and leisure markets.”
Graeme Davies, Head of Commercial Development at EIFF said: “We are delighted to welcome easyJet back as the official European travel partner of the Edinburgh International Film Festival. During June, we bring guests to Edinburgh from all over Europe to allow audiences and filmmakers to come together and share their passion, and, as Scotland’s largest airline, easyJet is the most natural partner to help us achieve this.”
The barge and two motor launches which tend the Royal Yacht Britannia left their places alongside the vessel moored in Leith today to take part in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in London on Sunday. The Britannia Barge will take part in the celebrations, ferrying the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh to the Spirit of Chartwell, which will lead an estimated flotilla of 1,000 boats on the Thames on Sunday.
The boats left by road at 10am, and were waved off by the winners of the competition run by the Edinburgh Evening News to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee, Olivia Hulford, Ella Rubenstein and Rachel Higginson. The weather was damp, but spirits were not as the original crew of the barge will be ferrying the royals for the first time in 15 years. This follows a major restoration of the barge, and sea trials at Western Harbour and in the River Forth.
The Royal Barge’s coxwain, Peter Bringham Young has said that the Royal Barge is in far better condition than was expected after 15 years of inactivity, but restoration was still a large undertaking for the charitable trust which maintains the Yacht.
Bob Downie, chief executive of the Royal Yacht Britannia joked that the crew required replacement uniforms as the originals have mysteriously shrunk after fifteen years of retirement.
Photos above by Vikki Nye
Beehives, edible flowers and lacy, see-through cat suits are just some of the lasting memories from the vintage party hosted at Duddingston House last week. The party was held to honour the new business venture started by Fleur Rush and Lynne Hare, who both share a passion for all things vintage.
The event featured a fabulous jazz band, playing to us from the idyllic setting of the house’s grand staircase, and fronted by Dave Bachelor. Throughout the other rooms of the grand home, slightly reminiscent of Downton Abbey, guests could enjoy the hair and beauty parlour, compliments of Miss Dixie Belle, old age photography and vintage cocktails, provided by Barnomadics.
Bruce Hare, Chief Executive of Duddingston House Properties and husband of co-host Lynne Hare, explained the history of the house:- “William Chambers was the architect who designed it. It was a royal household at that time.” An expert on the house’s extensive history, Bruce shared some of the highlights with us.
He continued:-”The house was built in 1763 and finsihed in 1768. It was the first house of this Palladian style that had been built in Scotland, and it was built to bring the Scots and the English back together again.”
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe was launched today, unveiling a huge 376-page brochure with 2,695 shows, over 42,000 performances involving more than 22,000 individual performances and 279 venues. That’s 6% more shows than the Fringe has ever hosted before, flying in the face of potential competition from the London Olympics and the effects of the economic downturn.
The 2012 Fringe shows represent 47 different countries, and there are 1,418 world premieres. New for 2012 is a Spoken Word category, whose enormous range of events includes appearances by Scotland’s Makar Liz Lochhead. There’s also a significant increase in the Cabaret genre, with 99 shows representing 4% of the Fringe’s output.
St Stephen’s Church in the New Town makes a welcome return as a Fringe venue, this year hosting a range of events from Northern Stage, representing the north-east of England. And after its year-long closure for refurbishment, the Assembly Rooms in George Street reopen under new management, joining forces with the Famous Spiegeltent to install a new pedestrianised terrace on George Street.
Meanwhile, Assembly Theatre has added the Roxy Art House to its collection of Old Town venues, renaming it Assembly Roxy for the duration of the Fringe. And C venues have expanded into a new base at C Nova in the India Buildings on Victoria Street.
The Made in Scotland showcase returns with a diverse line-up of 12 shows representing the best in Scottish creativity, from Rob Drummond’s Bullet Catch, where one lucky audience member gets to fire a gun that the performer will (hopefully) catch in his teeth, to a reimagining of Burns’s Tam o’Shanter. And the Old College Quad is the outdoor home to five Polish shows, including the spectacular Planet Lem, Carmen funebre and Macbeth: Who is that Bloodied Man? from Teatr Biuro Podrozy.
And to encourage visits from our Glaswegian neighbours, there will be a box office operating in Queen Street Station from 27 July until 27 August, allowing audiences from the west to buy their Fringe tickets and then hop on a train to the capital.
Speaking at this morning’s launch of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe at the Scottish Café, chief executive Kath Mainland explained: ‘We’ve been selling tickets since January. Why did we do that? Research has shown that Fringe audiences often begin making plans in the early part of the year and are keen to start getting a taste of what will be on offer. Secondly, these aren’t our shows or our tickets. They belong to the wonderful and creative Fringe companies and venues who make up the festival. It’s our job to respond to their needs and sell their tickets whenever they are ready.’
She continued: ‘The Fringe is an amazing thing. It’s been around a while, we all love it, and we all think we know what to expect from it. But every year it reinvents itself, shakes itself up and delivers a slightly different proposition.’
by Barry Dickson
Edinburgh Band Honoured To Play At The Olympics Concerts
Edinburgh band The Asps have been asked to play in London’s Hyde Park and Victoria Park on Saturday 4 August 2012 where they will play three times in one day as part of a huge series of concerts for the Olympic Games, BT London Live. Hyde Park will be packed full of daily live music performances and will featuring some incredible artists. Other free to access days at Hyde Park are 28 July – 12 August and exclude August 4 and 7.
Some of the bands performing throughout these dates include Sir Tom Jones, Feeder, Cast, Blur, Duran Duran, Snow Patrol and Paolo Nutini to name but a few. This is a massive oppertunity for The Asps to get themselves out there into the public eye in a huge way and they will be sure to grab this fantastic opportunity with both hands.
PJ Dourley, lead singer and guitarist with The Asps, told The Edinburgh Reporter:- “We were thrilled to get the chance to play Hyde Park through our own resources after losing Hard Rock Calling, and get the opportunity to appear at an event which, by all accounts, is much more historic.”
The Asps played a free gig in Cabaret Voltaire this month, and were well received by a very appreciative crowd. Indeed comments were made by many members of the audience about how much they enjoyed the gig and how well The Asps performed.
Since signing with Sony/ATV and signing up with Reverbnation, The Asps have been working very hard, and they seem to be constantly gigging making them (in my opinion) one of the hardest working bands out there. They are due to go to San Francisco soon to team up with legendary producer Ron Nevison (Meat Loaf, Heart, The Who, Bad Company and many, many more) to record their first album, and hopefully this gig in London will propel them into the mainstream.
Having seen this band play quite a few times now, I firmly believe the time has come to go to a bigger stage (no disrespect to the smaller venues intended) and Hyde Park will provide The Asps with the stage that I believe their music deserves.
Festival launches – Architecture consultation – MSP Newsletter – QMU play is a fundraiser – Police offering bike marking
This is the week of festival launches. Yesterday it was the turn of The Edinburgh International Film Festival, and today it will be the Fringe Festival launch which we will bring you news of later. Later The Traverse will launch their 2012 programme and the tickets for that will be on sale from 10. It is all hotting up already for the summer, but unfortunately the weather today in Edinburgh is slipping back to pre-spring with a maximum temperature of only 13 degrees predicted for today. We have suggested for you 60 things you can get up to this holiday weekend. Please feel free to add in more ideas of your own!
Later today we are meeting with new Transport Convenor, Councillor Lesley Hinds, to talk all things transport related. Do you have any questions for her? Then please send them in by commenting below or by Twitter. We hope to bring you a ‘live’ interview later. Watch out for it!
The other thing we are looking for is people who have been asked to carry the Olympic Torch. If that is you then please get in touch and we will tell everyone else about you!
And finally on Tuesday next week we will have some exciting news to tell you about a live event that we are running on 19 June 2012. It will be of particular interest to those living in the west of the city….but we hope you will all join in! More on Tuesday.
Marco Biagi has highlighted the problem of some of our buildings in the capital, and has alerted us to the fact that there is a Scottish Government consultation which offers Edinburgh residents a chance to have their say on the shape of architecture and the built environment here for years to come.
He said:-“With renowned architecture and as a World Heritage Site, Edinburgh residents know well how important it is to have well-designed places to live and work. So much of our city’s vital economic appeal in tourism and the arts comes from its unique character and appearance. Unfortunately Edinburgh is also home to a number of outrageous eyesores – like the St James Centre – that should never have been allowed to happen.
“This consultation will inform Scottish Government guidance and policy on these areas. It is open to all and I encourage anyone who has strong views to get involved and have their say on what the future of Scotland’s towns and cities should look like.”
The consultation runs until 7 September 2012.
Lothians MSP Sarah Boyack’s newsletter has been published and you can read it here.
Students and pupils have made a drama out of ‘Porty People’. A student community project, based on the history of Portobello, has raised over £500 at the box office.
‘The Day the Aliens Came to Portobello’ the production developed by Community Theatre students from Queen Margaret University in conjunction with Towerbank Primary School, is based on the history of Portobello. The production has been well supported by the local community, raising £530 for a charity in Malawi which was selected by the Primary 5 pupils.
Four performances of the play were staged at the newly refurbished, Portobello Community Centre.
Irvine Alan, Lecturer in Drama at Queen Margaret University, explained: “It has been very rewarding to see the students work so well with the primary 5s. The pupils devised, designed, acted, stage-managed and controlled front of house for the whole production. Both students and pupils really rose to the challenge and there was a great sense of team work and achievement in pulling the project off so successfully.”
Irvine continued: “The feedback from Towerbank Primary’s head teacher and the parents has been excellent. We are immensely proud of the Queen Margaret University students – Gillian Downie and Lindsay Duncan – who delivered the project. They are a credit to the University.”
A call from Lothian and Borders Police who are offering help to cyclists. When your bike is lost or stolen the chances of ever retrieving it are slim, but you can increase these chances significantly by having it registered, UV marked, and electronically marked.
Bring your bike to be:
- registered and UV marked for £5
- registered, UV marked and electronically tagged for £16
A limited number of bikes will be registered and marked free, so arrive early if you don’t want to miss out.
|Date (all June 2012)||Time||Venue|
|Mon 18||11am - 2pm||Ocean Terminal (Overflow carpark to the front of the building)|
|Tue 19||11am - 2pm||AEGON building (staff entrance – Lochside Crescent), Edinburgh Business Park|
|Wed 20||8am -10am||City Chambers, High street, Edinburgh|
|Wed 20||11am - 2pm||Festival Square, Lothian Road, Edinburgh|