So the time has come to give you a better sense of what we’ll be making happen in Edinburgh during this summer’s festival. The first thing to say is that not everything that will be happening has been decided yet. Indeed, if you read on you’ll discover that this is announcement is the beginning of the process of putting this summer’s festival together rather than the end of it. Secondly, regardless of what happens we can be absolutely certain that it will be happening at our familiar home at the Forest Cafe on Bristo Square, as they have been assured their lease on the building is valid till the very end of August. After that, we don’t yet know. To keep up to date with developments please follow their blog over here.
Though it seems almost too obvious to say, these are tumultuous times we’re living in. Certainly the most tumultuous that we at Forest Fringe have known in our short lifetimes. Events happening across the world and our government’s brutally utilitarian approach to the arts back home are challenging us to think about what we do and why we do it. Even closer to home, the Forest Café’s ongoing battle to save the building we share each August has also challenged us to think about the value and future of Forest Fringe as part of the Edinburgh Festival each summer.
As we’ve said before, we believe that this is a time at which more than ever we should acknowledge that everything we do has a political dimension; the shows we choose to make, the way we choose to make them and indeed how the festival itself supports that work. For a while we’ve been thinking about ways in which Forest Fringe can better embody the collaborative ideals we believe in.
To that end this year we’re changing the way Forest Fringe is run. We’ve chosen a small group of artists whose work inspires us and excites us; work that we believe is doing difficult and important things. Each of those artists is being offered the chance not just to show their work at Forest but to collaborate with us to make the festival happen.
After an exhausting and difficult process we’ve finally settled on the group of artists we will be working with this year. We’ve spoken to a range of incredible companies almost all of whom would have been wonderful to collaborate with on this summer’s festival. In the end, however, these are the artists we’ll be working with this year:
• Bristol-based duo Action Hero
• Brilliant social gaming organisation Hide&Seek collaborating with performance poet Ross Sutherland
• Sharon Smith (Gob Squad) and Tom Parkinson
• Innovative young company non zero one
• Bristol/Cambridge-based dancer Dan Canham
• Glasgow’s award-winning writer/performer Gary McNair
• Performance artist Tania El Khoury
• Artist, performer and activist Lucy Ellinson
Some of these artists we’ve worked with a lot before, others are totally new to Forest Fringe. We hope they represent a fascinatingly diverse range of backgrounds and perspectives that can be brought to bear on putting this summer’s festival together.
Each will present one headline piece that will run across the the festival. This daring and imaginative range of work incorporates dance, theatre, poetry, a performance lecture, a daredevil stunt and a pervasive game played out on the streets of the city.
Alongside this, these artists will have the opportunity to create their own events at part of the Forest Fringe programme – to host workshops and residencies, curate performance nights and explore new ideas and new collaborations of their own. We will work with them over the next few months to help plan this range of possible work, all of which will be announced later in the spring. We hope they will provide audiences across the festival with an extraordinary range of projects to explore, and an unprecedented number of ways to engage with these exciting Forest Fringe artists.
Additionally, these artists will also be integral to the running of Forest Fringe. They will work with ourselves and the Forest café look after the venue and manage the festival. In every sense we hope that this year Forest Fringe will be a genuinely collective festival – created, curated and overseen by this incredibly exciting range of artists.
We look forward to seeing you there!