There are going to be literally hundreds of things you could see if you are spending some time next month in Edinburgh. But here are a few female-written/created shows that we like the sound of.
Chef tells the gripping story of how one woman went from being a haute-cuisine head-chef to a convicted inmate running a prison kitchen. Sabrina Mahfouz’s distinct award-winning lyrical style and Jade Anouka’s mesmerising performance make this an extraordinary, must-see, new show. Leading us through her world of mouth-watering dishes and heart-breaking memories, Chef questions our attitudes to food, prisoners, violence, love and hope. Inspired by an interview Mahfouz conducted with Ollie Dabbous, Chef studies food as the ultimate art form taking stimulus from Dabbous’ obsession with simplicity and making something the best it can be. Underbelly Cowgate – Big Belly from 31st July at 6.10pm.
Half a Can of Worms by Deborah Frances-White
Comedian Deborah Frances-White was adopted when she was only ten days old. Until late 2012, she knew nothing about her birth family. Then she stumbled across some information that led her to embark on a round-the-clock treasure hunt, drawn into her past like a magnet. When Deborah finally made contact with her birth mother, she exposed a part of the past that had been hidden for decades. This is her true story. Turns out, you can’t open half a can of worms! Pleasance Dome from 1st August (except 12th) at 3.45pm.
Hiraeth by Buddug James Jones
In the summer of 1989, a farmer’s wife gave birth to a baby girl. In this moment Buddug James Jones became heir to her family’s three hundred year old farming dynasty. Now as a modern young woman, Bud is desperate to change her destiny. Leaving five generations of tradition behind, she sets out alone into the big smoke encountering men, heartbreak, drama and hilarity along the way accompanied by live music and Welsh cakes. Through one woman’s struggle to escape and let go, Hiraeth explores the decline of Welsh identity and tradition. Hiraeth is a winner of the IdeasTap Underbelly Award 2014. Underbelly Cowgate – Big Belly from 31st July (except 13th) at 4.50pm.
Mock Tudor by Lily Bevan
Jess, Sophie, Nic and Sam re-enact Henry VIII’s weddings, feasts and river pageants. They take pride in authenticity. Well, they try. But, now ‘Visitor Operations’ have ideas about ‘the future of the past’ and want to replace the actors with a computerised experience. It has never been more vital to keep the Tudors alive. From the writer of Stephen & The Sexy Partridge comes a comedy drama about historical re-enactors. Pleasance Courtyard – Beneath from 30th July (except 11th) at 1.45pm.
Spine by Clara Brennan
From award-winning playwright, Clara Brennan (Soho’s Channel 4 Playwright in residence 2014), comes the world premiere of a hilarious, pan-generational and heart-breaking call to arms for our modern age. Spine is a funny and touching monologue, charting the explosive friendship between a ferocious, wise-cracking teenager and a mischievous activist pensioner hell-bent on leaving a political legacy. Originally a 15 minute short as part of Theatre Uncut 2012. Underbelly Cowgate – Big Belly from 31st July (except 12th) at 3.30pm.
The IdeasTap Underbelly Award
We’ve also spotted that the four winners of the IdeasTap Underbelly Award – which offers funding and support from IdeasTap, a prime location at Underbelly Cowgate during the Festival, and mentoring from leading theatre practitioners as well as Underbelly staff – have all been written by female writers. All winning plays share the theme of identity, both personal and national.
You can see Karla Crome’s Mush and Me, Rachael Clerke’s How to achieve redemption as a Scot through the medium of Braveheart, Buddug James Jones’s Hiraeth and Jacqui Honess-Martin’s We Have Fallen, at the Underbelly.