Edinburgh 5 – Biscuit jess, York 2015, & Space support

A pleasure this morning to be invited to Space by Karl Bevis to meet companies for a drop in discussion about their shows, their creativity, and the festival – now entering the pain threshold mid-marathon point for some, and the star splattered sense of possibility for others.  After the coffin was shifted out of the way we settled down to discussion.   By the end a lead actress and emerging young director were exchanging business cards, a couple of companies had new ideas of where to target for audiences, and there was even a plan for some collaborative showings in London.  My thanks to Karl for offering this sort of free support to Space’s 270 companies which complements Fringe Central’s big programme.  I will be back at Space Surgeon’s Hall next Tue 19th 09:30 for another session – do join me.

A quick meeting with Rob Winlow about the planned 3rd York New Musical Theatre Festival (May/June 2015 for around 10 days). He’s up with his own piece Austen before taking it to the Jane Austen festival in Bath.  It is great that this new work festival will continue to grow.  They are hoping for more shows and a greater concentration of work in any one day which should encourage publishers, emerging producers and theatres to visit.  Come on good theatrical community of York, get behind this endevour and arrange a UK Theatre or professional business event alongside to encourage more people to make the trip.

A quiet lunch before Jess Tourettes’ Superhero.  Only one chair left at a table in the Pleasance café – oh well hope this nice couple won’t mind me settling down with my smelly tuna melt.  They didn’t. They instantly asked what I’d seen as they were just up. They were off to Reduced Shakespeare and loved theatre. I offered them Shakespeare for Breakfast,  maybe Peter Straker.  I wondered about Freak and Naked in Alaska but resisted suggesting them.  Our conversation continued and as the career onion was peeled back it transpired he’d played with a company back in the 1970s in Buxton (coincidence – I’d worked there and Three’s Company comes from there), and he said he’d been involved in theatre touring for a long time in Keswick (coincidence – I’d worked at Theatre by the Lake).  Then it was revealed we’d both worked in the old Blue Box portacabins – he’d been artistic director of the theatre in the 80s and I’d been brought in there with Greg Doran at the end of its life as the bulding work began. We shared leaking roof stories and celebrated the work of Ian Forrest and Patric Gilchrist in running the theatre today.   A pleasure to meet you Paul.  Enjoy the RSC, then the complete James cycle.  I love coincidences in Edinburgh and the Universe.

And just before jumping on the train I settled down with eager anticipation to Jess’s show about her life with Tourettes.  I know a little of her life from her amazing Ted Talk and her long friendship with Matthew part of our extended family.   The show is inspired, joyful, deeply moving, heartwarming, unexpected, random, beautifully crafted, informative, open, and very very funny.  Jess’s verbal tic’s offer a completely surreal accompanying world. And on one day in rehearsals they took the tic words and made it the tic list of the props which were to make up the set.- I won’t spoil the delight for you.   I was weeping tears of joy,  life-affirmation, laughter, and occasionally sadness at the challenges life and the public have thrown her way.   This has to be my hit recommendation for the Festival.  I so hope she can continue to bring her joyful life force to audiences in theatres for months and years to come.  I trust film companies are already talking with her.  I love Biscuits and applaud Matthew for helping Jess bring her uncontrollable language & ideas generating machine to delight the theatre, and congratulations to Jess / Chopin for her support performance (and for being part of the amazing Improbable Beauty and the Beast).