#EdFringe Life: Human Zoo & human mind

In Features, Inspiring people, Opinion by Chris GradyLeave a Comment

Today is my final day at the Festival this year and I have had the chance to see the sell-out Greater Belfast at the Traverse – a poetic storytelling music gig which reminded me of Stu and his work at the Public Theatre, and a little of the sound speech patterns of the Adam Cook’s London Road. Were the Musical Theatre Matters MTM awards still in existence, this would be greeted with a great deal of internal discussion, and I sense it would have been nominated as a powerful piece of music theatre.  This afternoon I, at last, get to see Mairi Campbell’s Pulse directed by Kath Burlinson, with whom I have the joy to share my life. I can’t wait to see it – plus the bonus of it being signed by Rachel Amey.

Yesterday I had a quick run around across a range of shows and mini creative surgeries. This quick blog is here to highlight two young companies that deserve the great reviews and good houses that they are getting – but both probably won’t object to yet another shout-out. Producer Daisy Hale had suggested that a New York based-company Mind over Matter Theatre Collective, who explore productions with combine Art Science and Philosophy. They have chosen On Ego by Mick Gordon, first seen at Soho Theatre in 2005 and now getting a welcome new production.  This three-hander deserves to be seen widely, and this young company will hopefully go on with this level of high quality and thoughtful work.  If you have a slot in your diary at 2pm, then head to Zoo on the Pleasance for a thoughtful piece considering the 1.5kg piece of meat which we call our mind.  What happens when science, ambition, relationships, our health, our brain and experiments go wrong ?

From there I moved on to see Human Zoo Theatre Company in Pleasance Above with their fourth touring show – and the biggest yet by far. Three generations arrive and live through our eyes from birth through life to a Giant end.  Part mime, part cabaret, part commedia, part clown this white faced troupe are a natural companion theatremaking ensemble to Gecko and Kneehigh. Remembering that they are not currently funded in the same way to make work, and they have recently had a nightmare when a host/producing venue they believed to be their new home closed down suddenly. I hope within a year or two they will become a well funded company able to shine with their work nationally and internationally. Do try and grab a ticket at 15:40 Pleasance Above. I hope you love what Artistic Director, Flo O’Mahony and her close knit company have created.  Individually they are some of the most facile and moving storytellers I have seen, and together as an Ensemble they offer Giant pictures and emotions for our delight.  If you have not programmed them in your theatre yet, or commissioned them for your festival, then do get in touch with them and explore possibilities for the years to come.

That’s all for this festival, and I will look forward to reflecting in a week or so’s time to see which shows stay in my memory. For now time to pack my tent and head to a weekend festival.

Enjoy the rest of your EdFringe 2016 – and calling all artists and staff on the Fringe – remember there are things called fruit and vegatables which are available in some shops, bars, and outlets.

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Chris Grady
Chris Grady is a creative and business life coach who has worked in arts and project management for more than 30 years, running marketing departments and creating festivals and theatres in Bristol, Plymouth, Edinburgh, Buxton, Keswick, London and Bury St Edmonds. He has also run the Vivian Ellis Prize for new musicals, and written Your Life in Theatre, a careers guide for all stages of your career. He is preparing an MA for Theatre Producers with Mountview Academy for Theatre Arts. Chris blogs about arts management at www.chrisgrady.org.
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Chris Grady on RssChris Grady on Twitter
Chris Grady
Chris Grady is a creative and business life coach who has worked in arts and project management for more than 30 years, running marketing departments and creating festivals and theatres in Bristol, Plymouth, Edinburgh, Buxton, Keswick, London and Bury St Edmonds. He has also run the Vivian Ellis Prize for new musicals, and written Your Life in Theatre, a careers guide for all stages of your career. He is preparing an MA for Theatre Producers with Mountview Academy for Theatre Arts. Chris blogs about arts management at www.chrisgrady.org.

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