As the August rain turns to September sunshine, theSpaceUK says farewell to Edinburgh for another year with everyone soon heading home for a well-deserved rest.
theSpaceUK’s theatre programme saw much critical acclaim throughout the month with numerous shows picking up multiple five-star reviews
For a Fringe that almost didn’t happen, a great many artists and companies courageously brought their work to the Fringe and audiences responded in their droves. With theSpaceUK’s in-person platform significantly decreased compared to 2019 (65 shows in 2021 compared to 445 in 2019), audiences remained strong in comparison (65,000 tickets sold in 2021 compared to 120,000 in 2019), meaning more shows were sold out than ever before. The average audience filled a staggering 78% of seats – an extraordinary figure for the Fringe.
theSpaceUK’s digital platform featured over 25 shows, accounting for 1200 of the tickets sold. This compared strongly with other digital platforms at Fringe and gave artists the perfect opportunity not just to get their work seen at the Fringe, but also pick up plenty of reviews.
Along with a consistent, cautious approach to social distancing measures and mitigating Covid-19 risks for audiences, companies and staff alike, theSpaceUK celebrated creative talent from across the UK. More tickets sold than any other venue, more shows than any other venue, more performances than any other venue: theSpaceUK WAS absolutely at the heart of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2021.
On Your Bike (Cambridge University Musical Theatre Society) picked up the only Musical Theatre Review Award awarded in 2021 for its sensational performance. From now on, CUMTS will be referred to as “the company that brought you SIX, Rust and On Your Bike”. Rossetti’s Women (Lemon Squeeze Productions) along with Shook (New Celts Productions and Twisted Corners) and Under the Floorboards (Simon Shaw) picked up nominations for the coveted OffFEST award.
theSpaceUK’s theatre programme saw much critical acclaim throughout the month with numerous shows picking up multiple five-star reviews. Brave Face (Hoo Hah House Productions), the pitch black comedy, was recognised as five-star from its opening night. Tropicana (Aidan Sadler) was featured in The Scotsman’s MUST SEE picks and received numerous five star reviews as well as Scene Alba Magazine’s Award for Best Solo LGBTQI Act. theSpaceUK regulars, Night Owl also picked up the plaudits for The Dolly Parton Story, The Nashville Story, The James Taylor and Carole King Story, The Johnny Cash Story & Laurel Canyon Legends. Special mention goes to Hannah Richards (Dolly Parton & Carole King) who performed a record 73 times this Fringe.
In the final days of the Fringe, Broadway Baby announced that theSpaceUK had received their highest accolade – the Broadway Baby Bobby Award for Outstanding Contribution.
Charles Pamment, Artistic Director, said: ”Eight weeks ago, we were unsure if we could make anything work, thanks to ScotGov, the council and our wonderful venue partners at Surgeons Quarter we jointly took the risk to make something happen. And, what a festival we've had! Over this extraordinary month we've dealt with forever changing guidelines, amended capacities, applied previously unheard of mitigation to keep everyone safe... and now we can celebrate a quite special month.
This is testament to the huge appetite, passion and commitment shown by our staff, performing companies and audiences. The community vibe has been unrivalled. We are very proud that theSpaceUK family have pioneered the return to the live stage at Edinburgh Festival Fringe. We can't wait to host you all in 2022.”