Can't wait for the Fringe? Want to get in the mood for the Jubilee weekend? StagEHd has just what you, your family and friends all need to get in the mood for a post-pandemic celebratory summer.
It’s new for you and it’s new for them; the start of the theatrical comeback we’ve all been waiting for and it has accessibility at its core. The company’s inaugural event, made possible by the City of Edinburgh Council’s Community Fund, will take place in the heart of the capital at the Ross Bandstand in Princes Street Gardens West on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 May.
The idea for the StagEHd Festival started with a group of theatre practitioners and enthusiasts in the summer of 2020. Lockdown wasn’t all negative; while venues were closed people had time to reflect, think and create. In this case, discussions circled around the growing commercialisation of events and public spaces in Edinburgh and the possibility of creating an open-access, free-to-attend festival of theatre that would feature the best of Edinburgh’s independent, grassroots, community theatre companies and performance artists. With time to plan, a programme came together to be presented under the umbrella of the Edinburgh Graduate Theatre Group (EGTG) with a small group of organisers: founder and producer Hannah Bradley Croall; Kyla Tully, event producer; Claire Wood assistant event producer and David Grimes in charge of finance.
The festival kicks off early on Saturday morning with a children’s puppet show, A Girl Called Grace from Mister Blue and Edinburgh-based puppeteer Emma Milton. A story about the power of kindness, it’s a fun start to the day for children and adults alike. Still looking for family entertainment? The English-Polish bilingual theatre company, The Mirror of Stage have it in the myth of Wawel Dragon, a hilarious adaptation of the Polish legend of a dragon who lives in a cave at the foot of Wawel Hill in Krakow.
Next up, something wicked this way comes with Bard on the Cards: Which Witch by SpeareShakers who devise material that brings Shakespeare’s characters to life for a modern audience. Brimming with life, The Paul Connolly Showcase does precisely what it says on the tin. Paul Connolly performs his own sketches featuring a variety of comedy characters, singing and dancing for a 14+ audience. Rounding off day one is Musical Mania, a cabaret for all ages by Momentum Performing Arts.
Sunday has a trio of new writing from local theatre companies starting at ten in the morning. Kate Macsween’s The Wishing Well is a tale of caution in relation to what you wish for. Fancy a slice of theatrical history with a twist? Then The Meadows Mummers, no doubt with a fine array of costumes to admire as well, have it in Galoshins, their adaptation of a traditional Scottish folk tale. Perhaps time for something a little more serious now as one of Edinburgh’s most acclaimed amateur theatre companies, EGTG, presents rock, a look at climate change and life in Edinburgh from the perspective of Castle Rock.
The much-misunderstood Scottish bard makes an appearance next as Reality Funds Theatre takes us on a journey through his poetry and times in The Life and Rhymes of William McGonagall. Closing the weekend is KATABASIS, an underworld transfeminine operatic odyssey in VII parts from lonely carp. This is their studio debut concept album, funded by Help Musicians UK.
StagEHd hopes to establish itself as an annual fixture in Edinburgh’s festival programme, giving space and opportunity to performing artists to experiment and showcase their work to their local audience. All performances are free to attend, so pack a picnic, bring your blankets and enjoy the shows.
Further details and booking at: