Theatre Venue of the Month: Leith

First Stop of the Edinburgh Festival

Feature by Sally Smith | 02 Aug 2011

Once again, Edinburgh ‘the festival city’ transforms into the annual creative metropolis. Once again you will most likely find yourself perplexed, Fringe brochure in hand, wondering where to stick your pin in innumerable options. With so many alternatives it can be hard to know where to head for some true festival magic...

Leith may have the answer.

A new fringe venture centred in the community of Leith is "aiming to create a unique artistic identity that will promote Leith as a viable festival destination," says founder John Diamond. Based in the impressive Out of the Blue, Drill Hall on Dalmeny Street, Leith on the Fringe (LOTF) is a new festival hub with two performance spaces, café and bar.

The venue is focusing on family friendly performances and this year’s inaugural programme sees a confident and dynamic schedule of theatre, dance, music, cabaret, film, talks, art and workshops. The performances incorporate both home grown and global talent, showcasing Edinburgh companies alongside performers from Germany, Italy and as far away as Hollywood.

A highlight of the programme is Angels Aerials’ interpretation of Peter Pan. Taking full advantage of the vast space of the stunning Drill Hall the company brings an acrobatic aerial adaptation of the classic J.M. Barrie tale. The sky will become performance space as children are encouraged to sit on the stage as the action unfolds above their heads.

In the spirit of involvement that permeates the LOTF philosophy the Angels Aerials team will be offering flying workshops for the whole family directly after their show.

Continuing the airborne theme San Francisco’s Paper Doll Militia present This Twisted Tale: theatre and circus collide in a modern, dark fairy-tale of a little girl’s encounter with the devil, told through aerial acrobatics, animation and puppetry.

If you prefer to keep your feet on the ground then the Edinburgh based new writers’ company Tight Laced Theatre may tempt you with Winner Wears Crowns, an exploration of what we do for our children and what we expect them to do for us, viewed through the glitzy world of American pageantry.

A Mississippi mum’s bubble bursts when her daughter begins to discover that there is more to life than diamantes and fake smiles. Tight Laced also showcase the third instalment of their successful adventure series Feline Fables with From the Lily-Pad; a fantastical tale complete with kingdom, princess, frog and goblin!

Another Edinburgh company, and residents of The Drill Hall, Strange Town present After You’re Gone, a piece written by young people for young people, wherein a stash of letters tell the story of the early 20th century, as war and heartbreak transcend the years and show that being a teenager is never easy. Another of the strong theatre programme’s highlights is Man to Man; a solo show about a woman who steals her husband’s identity to keep his job during the Great Depression.

Music and dance also feature on the LOTF menu with vaudevillian comedy musicians The Roughhausers’ Comedy Sideshow featuring cheeky musical delights, stand-up comedy, magic, contortion and more.

Complete with an open mic weekend evening show and much more, LOTF may well become the festival destination its creators dream of, and with the local community at heart and a delightfully packed programme on offer, this could be a great spot for the festival punter to pop their pin.

Leith on the Fringe, 5-29 Aug, Out of the Blue Drill Hall