August 12, 2013
I’m in Edinburgh for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – the world’s largest arts festival or Glastonbury for culture vultures. It’s my first time here though I’ve visited vicariously through friends for decades. I’ve know people who’ve come here and bag a Fringe First Award and never look back, career wise – I’ve also had friends who have had their hearts broken here, lost their shirts and all other sorts of clichés. Some have partied for 25 days, others have honed their craft, been inspired, made contacts, others have been mistreated by slave driving ego monster directors. But everyone comes away with an Edinburgh story and everyone tells me I should go. So, I’ve heeded their advice at last, deciding I’ve definitely got to see the Fringe before I leave the UK for good. Moreover, I’m hoping to bring my own stage play here next year, so this is also a rekki of sorts.
I’ve only booked four shows in advance, preferring to wait to see what was buzzing when I got here. I’ll report on highlights and must-sees but please, please, please any suggestions on what to see (or avoid!) would be gratefully received. And, as I’m a first time Edinburgh visitor, any other tips regarding the Scottish capital are most welcome.
Good veggie restaurants? Hidden café gems? Cool bookstores? Meet ups, gatherings etc… You never know I might bump into one of you here.
From Ireland, Sue Healy is Literary Manager at the Finborough Theatre, London, a full-time Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Lincoln. Her book on theatre literary management is published by Routledge, December 2022.
Sue is an award-winning writer for stage, TV, and prose writer.
Her current project, a 6x60minute TV series, is under option. She is under commission with Lone Wolf Media, producers behind PBS’ “Mercy Street”, to co-write the pilot and treatment for a six-part TV series.
Her most recent stage-play, Imaginationship (2018), enjoyed a sold out, extended run at the Finborough and later showed at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough. Her previous stage productions include Cow (Etcetera Theatre, 2017) and Brazen (King’s Head Theatre, 2016), funded by Arts Council England. Sue’s short plays have been performed at the Criterion (Criterion New Writing Showcase), Arcola (The Miniaturists) and Hackney Attic (Fizzy Sherbet Shorts).
Her radio work includes nine plays broadcast on BBC Radio 4 (Opening Lines winner), WLRfm and KCLR96fm.
Sue has won The Molly Keane Award, HISSAC Prize, Escalator Award, Meridian Prize and has been published in nine literary journals and anthologies including: The Moth, Flight, Tainted Innocence, New Writer, Duality, HISSAC, New European Writers. She has been writer-in-residence on Inis Oírr, Aran Islands, and at the Heinrich Boll Cottage on Achill Island. She has also benefitted from annual artist residencies at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, and at Ginestrelle, Assisi in Italy.
An academic with a PhD in modern theatre history, specifically the Royal Court Theatre, Sue has presented her research internationally. She spent eleven years in Budapest, editing Hungary A.M. She has a PhD in modern theatre history (Royal Court Theatre) and is a UEA Creative Writing MA alumnus.
View all posts by suehealy
August 12th, 2013 at 17:00
Have a great time and keep us up to date if you have time.
August 12th, 2013 at 17:39
Sadly, my experience of the Fringe, and indeed Edinburgh, mainly date from the early 80s, when I was living and working in Stirling, so it is probably far too out of date to be worth sharing. The woman I went there with still lives in the area, but never frequents the Fringe these days. She says it has become very commercialised and also very expensive. To what extent – if any – that is sour grapes, or simply a result of the ageing process and emotional sclerosis I cannot of course judge. I do remember some wonderfully good times, and I hope you are able to lay down a few memorable experiences of your own 🙂
August 14th, 2013 at 09:08
Hey there…and welcome to Edinburgh!
I follow your blog and I live in Edinburgh too and I have to say I love both! Probably the city a little bit more as I’ve lived here for seven years having narrowly escaped London with a little of my soul left. I still love the fringe though most of the folk I know who’ve lived here for ages kinda get weary after a while…I think I’m stuck in a prolonged honeymoon stage of sorts!
The thing with the Fringe is you have to tread cautiously! There are a lot gems out there but there are some shows that will leave you scarred for life, and a little out of pocket too! Yes, follow the buzz but remember everyone is too and if the papers miss something, then you do too. I think this article sums it all quite well…
As for cafe recommendations etc. Spoon on Nicholson Street for a tasty inexpensive lunch, Kilimanjaro on the same street for the BEST coffee in town, avoid the Royal Mile like the plague when it comes to food and drink (think frozen food and tourist prices) and definitely make time to have a wander along to Stockbridge or Morningside for a lovely Sunday brunch and a stroll.
Hope you have a great time here and maybe we’ll bump into each other at a relatively good show!
August 17th, 2013 at 09:25
Thanks so much for this, Colette! I’m loving it up here – will blog in full when all is digested. Speaking of which, am heading to Kilimanjaro now.. : )
August 21st, 2013 at 17:26
I’m behind (due to being away for a week) so I hope you had fun! 🙂