Tag Archives: What’s on AUGUST

NEWS: First acts announced for AJ Bell Fringe on Friday as FringeMakers crowdfunding campaign launches

Today, Wednesday 29 July, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society has announced the first line up details for AJ Bell Fringe on Friday, a 60-minute Fringe variety show and fundraiser, made possible thanks to the generous support of online investment platform AJ Bell.

This new digital show will stream every ‪Friday during the Fringe (07, 14, 21 and ‪28 August‬) and will showcase a snapshot of the festival across a range of genres, including comedy, cabaret, dance and music. Each show will feature nine different acts and will go out live at 9pm, with tickets costing £9
(£1 less than the cost of the average Fringe ticket).

The broadcast has been brought to life by Scotland-based cultural producers Lucky Cat and Michael Fraser, and production company Inner Ear. The first show will be hosted by Suzi Ruffell, with Nigel Ng, Jayde Adams and Courtney Act also confirmed to host later editions.

Further acts confirmed so far include Abandoman, Magical Bones, Daniel SlossFern Brady, Briefs, Bernie Dieter, Craig Hill, Michael Odewale and Sadia Azmat. The full line-up for each show will be announced the Wednesday before the Friday broadcast.

AJ Bell Fringe on Friday is a key part of the FringeMakers campaign, a Fringe-wide fundraising initiative that has been developed in partnership with Crowdfunder. This new, zero-fee platform is designed to help Fringe artists and venues raise vital funds in the absence of a physical festival in 2020. Artists and venues keep 100% of the proceeds from tickets they sell, plus any donations made to their own campaigns. Several artist and venue fundraising campaigns are already underway, with more to follow over the coming weeks.


Shona McCarthy, Chief Executive, Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society said: “The closer we get to August, the more we’re all feeling the physical absence of the Fringe in Edinburgh. For so many creatives across the festival, this loss is compounded by the severe financial impact of the Fringe not going ahead as planned. With help from our partners AJ Bell and Crowdfunder, FringeMakers is a way to support those artists and venues and to help fund their future. They are the festival and we need to rally around them.

“As a thank you for donating, audiences will be able to access AJ Bell Fringe on Friday – a cabaret show capturing the spirit of the Fringe. It’s great to see this snapshot of the festival come to life and the lineup is truly a reflection of the wonderful talent this festival is known for. This will complement the vast array of digital offerings Fringe artists and venues have been working on over the past few months, details of which will be available through our website.”

“I’d encourage everyone who loves the Fringe to engage with the shows, donate to individual projects and get behind our amazing FringeMakers, to help ensure the artists and venues that make your Fringe every August return stronger in 2021.”

Jayde Adams, Comedian and Fringe on Friday host, said: “I’m delighted to be hosting one of the Fringe on Friday live shows. I’ve experienced how valuable the Fringe can be for an artist’s career, from my Best Newcomer nomination back in 2016, to releasing last year’s show as a comedy special, and I’m excited to bring some of that Fringe energy we’ll all be missing so much this summer.

“This is a great way to keep supporting the wonderful artists and venues that come together each August, so get behind your favourites on FringeMakers and enjoy the show.”

Andy Bell, Chief Executive, AJ Bell, said: “The Edinburgh Festival Fringe has been an iconic arts and cultural event that gives established and emerging artists the opportunity to showcase their talents and hone their performances. It has always been a truly inclusive celebration of creativity, arts and culture that is famous around the world. COVID-19 has dealt a hammer blow to the entire sector but as the saying goes – the show must go on.

“It’s great that the Fringe Society has not been deterred and will be going digital for 2020 and everyone at AJ Bell is very proud that we are supporting it. We are delighted to see the creative thinking of the team bring to life the AJ Bell Fringe on Friday and the AJ Bell Fringe Pick N Mix – initiatives that will bring joy to audiences in the UK and around the world, whilst at the same time raising much needed funds for the performers, venues and creative businesses that have been hit so hard by the pandemic.”

Simon Walker, Head of Projects, Crowdfunder, said: We’re absolutely delighted to have created the Crowdfunder platform behind FringeMakers. It’s clear that venues and the arts industry have been hugely impacted over the last five months and as a result the Edinburgh Festival Fringe will this year look like no Fringe before it.

“It’s fantastic to be weaving Crowdfunder’s technology into the Fringe 2020, where it’s being used to provide support to Edinburgh’s venues and Fringe performers by connecting with audiences and raising much needed funding.”

About FringeMakers: how it works

Fringe fans can buy tickets for each AJ Bell Fringe on Friday show through individual artist and venue fundraising pages, with 100% of the proceeds going to the artist or venue in question. They will also be able to buy tickets from the Fringe Society, with all money raised going towards a central artist and venue recovery fund, which has already been boosted thanks to the support of AJ Bell. Funds will be circulated to artists and venues at the end of this year’s festival, with an independent panel deciding on how the money is distributed.

Individual Fringe artists and venues can create their own a page on the dedicated FringeMakers platform, https://crowdfund.edfringe.com/. These pages are a space for participants to share their own stories, connect with their audiences and offer tailored rewards (from exclusive merchandise to their own online content and unique experiences). All participants can set their own rewards for donation in addition to selling access to the AJ Bell Fringe on Friday broadcast. Participants keep 100% of the ticket cost sold from their page.

Crowdfunder have generously waived all fees for the project, and are providing participants with tailored support, including dedicated webinars, one-to-one training for Fringe artists and venues, and how to guides, to enable them to raise as much money as possible during the month of August.

You can find more detail – including a range of artist and venue fundraising campaigns – by visiting the FringeMakers website here.

WHAT’S ON AUGUST: Shades of Tay from Pitlochry Festival Theatre

Shades of Tay is a series of new digitals works written by an exciting line-up of British playwrights and poets including Timberlake Wertenbaker,  Jo Clifford, Hannah Khalil, Peter Arnott, Abi Zakarian  and Chinonyerem Odimba, and brought to life by Pitlochry Festival Theatre’s 2020 Summer Season ensemble, forming a vital part of the theatre’s tri-daily, digital series #PFTLightHopeJoy, which launched just before lockdown began, and created to respond to the uncertain and isolating world in which we now find ourselves. All works will be filmed along the 119 miles of the River Tay.

Inspired by the River Tay and its surrounding landscape – including Scotland’s multi-award-winning, world-renowned outdoor extravaganza, The Enchanted Forest, with whom these commissions are in partnership – the works will be performed as audio dramas, podcasts, short films. The cast will also perform the short works later in a live festival after the Theatre reopens.

All Shades of Tay commissions will première on Pitlochry Festival Theatre’s online platforms, including YouTube: https://bit.ly/PFT_YouTube where all videos from the #PFTLightHopeJoy series can be followed.


All works will be online at 6pm except for Douglas Maxwell’s Beautiful Boy which will start at 9pm. Each new work will be online for the foreseeable future.

Friday 7  Beautiful Boy Douglas Maxwell Richard Standing  30 mins
Sat 8 After Miss Georgina Ballantine Linda McLean Rachel McAllister  6 mins
Sat 15  This is Not Schiehallion Ellie Stewart Blythe Jandoo and Richard Colvin  TBC
Sat 22 We All Need Company Sometimes Chinonyerem Odimba Dominique Jackson, Kirsty Stuart, Rachael McAllister, and Dan Willis  TBC
Sat 29 The Fish Woman Frances Poet Kirsty Stuart  TBC
Sat 5 A Man Stands in A Forest by A River Peter Arnott Richard Colvin  TBC
Sat 12 The Birch Tree Speaks Timberlake Wertenbaker Jesse Fox  TBC
Sat 19 Shadows of Tay Jo Clifford Blythe Jandoo  TBC
Sat 26 Tatha Wakes Up from A Very Long Sleep Abi Zakarian Barbara Hockaday  TBC
Sat 3 22 Mays Martin McCormick  Richard Standing  TBC
Sat 10 A Passing Dance Morna Young Rachel McAllister  TBC
Sat 17 Part of the World Michael O’Neill Richard Standing  TBC
Sun 18 This Is the Scene Jenny Lindsay Jenny Lindsay  TBC
Sat 24 Cold Water Oliver Emanuel Kirsty Stuart  TBC
Sat 31 Meeting Tatha Hannah Lavery Dominique Jackson  TBC
Sat 7 The Message Hannah Khalil Rachel McAllister  TBC
Sat 14 Here We Are Again Dan Rebellato Jesse Fox  TBC
Sat 21 Recovery Daniel Bye Kirsty Stuart

INTERVIEW: Duncan James on stepping into Frank-N-Furter’s platforms this month in Glasgow

What made you say yes to playing Frank-N-Furter in The Rocky Horror Show?

It’s been a dream role of mine for a long time. I heard they were doing The Rocky Horror Show and I think Frank-N-Furter is one of the best roles you can play in musical theatre. It’s such an iconic role and the show has such a loyal following. It’s such a wonderfully written show and I thought ‘Wouldn’t it be great to play Frank?’ I rang my agent and said: ‘I hear they’re casting The Rocky Horror Show can you get me an audition?’ He did and so I went in, did the audition and got a recall. When I went back, I said to myself ‘I’m gonna get this’ and I did. I was really lucky because I fought off lots of competition from other well-known actors who were up for the part. I was like ‘No, no, no, this is my part!’ so when I got it, I was really proud of myself.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show
©The Other Richard

What are most enjoying about playing Frank?

Everything! And of course, he has one of the best entrances in musical theatre. The reaction you get from his opening number Sweet Transvestite is amazing because it’s such a great song and you come out in a cloak, then take the cloak off to reveal his really out-there outfit. It’s a great moment.

Can you relate to him in any way?

For me it’s more about having fun rather than relatability. The part of Frank-N-Furter is so twisted and so dark and that’s such fun to play. I mean, he’s essentially a psychopathic doctor who wants to create a man for his own pleasure and he’ll kill whoever gets in his way. Coming from Hollyoaks where I got to play a serial killer I thought it’d be great to then go and play Frank – to explore that dark, twisted mind again of someone who is living on the edge, someone who isn’t afraid to do what he has to do to get what he wants. That kind of character is really fun to play.

Credit : Johan Persson

Presumably with this role you’re very comfortable in heels?

I am, yes, and I love getting dressed up every night, putting on the corset, the fishnets and heels. It’s such an empowering moment because when I walk out on that stage, I feel huge compared to the other cast members. I feel like I’m towering above everybody and instantly I get that sense of command that Frank has. [Laughs] And of course I’m not shy so I love strutting round. I’m really embracing it. Also, I have a bit of a fascination with drag queens and drag artists. I’ve become a huge fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race. It’s like my number one guilty pleasure. I cannot miss an episode of any of RuPaul’s stuff.

Do you do much ad-libbing in response to the audience shout-outs?

There’s none of that from me. The only person who’s allowed to do that is The Narrator. They are the only ones who get to heckle back. I can do an eyebrow raise or a little smirk because, apart from The Narrator, Frank is the only one who’s allowed to acknowledge the audience.

What sort of shout-outs have you had so far?

There’s a lot of rude stuff and I got to do a scene in bed with Ben Adams from A1 when he was in the show. So it’s two boyband members in a bed, which is quite funny and prompts quite a few amusing shout-outs.

Why do you think The Rocky Horror Show has endured?

I think it’s down to the genius of Richard O’Brien. He created The Rocky Horror Show back in the 70s when it was really taboo to talk about certain subjects and having a man dressed up as a transvestite was unheard of. It was like ‘What on earth is this Tim Curry guy doing?’ It was banned in some countries because they thought it was completely wrong and it had a tough start because a lot of people didn’t know how to take it. A lot of people found it in bad taste but that was a sign of the times, of course. As attitudes towards sexuality, sex and transgender issues have changed we’ve become a lot more open-minded and liberal, haven’t we? It’s fantastic that we now embrace shows like The Rocky Horror Show. It’s great that this show in particular has stood the test of time. It seems to be getting bigger and bigger, with more and more people getting dressed up to come see it as well as knowing the story and shout-outs. The show gains more and more fans every time it goes out on tour.

When it comes to musical theatre, what have been your favourite roles?

I’m really lucky that I’ve gotten to do so many great shows. I loved playing Billy Flynn in Chicago. That’s a great role and I was lucky enough to play him again in the West End revival last year. I got to work with Alexandra Burke, who I adore, and we had great chemistry together. I loved playing Tick in Priscilla because it’s one of the most incredible, most liberating roles. Me having a child and being a gay man, I really related to the character. And The Rocky Horror Show is really good fun. It’s one of those shows where you get on stage every night and just have a really good time. It doesn’t feel like having to go to work and the audiences love it. The music is great, Frank’s words are so delicious and the way the story is told is just brilliant. I’m living my best life right now.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show
©The Other Richard

Do you have any plans to work with Blue again?

Definitely. As long as people want to come see us there’ll always be Blue. We’re very lucky that we get to travel all over the world. We get to play sold-out arenas wherever we go and we get to have these amazing trips away. We were in Bahrain recently then we went to Singapore and Malaysia, which was wonderful – to be able to travel to these countries with my friends and get up on stage and sing songs that everybody knows.

When it comes to theatre, do you have any pre- or post-show rituals?

This show consumes quite a lot of preparation with the make-up, the wig and everything. I have my little routine of doing my make-up, getting the wig put on, getting into the costume and then I’m on stage. There’s not a lot of time to think or prepare. After a show I take it all off then spend up to an hour at the stage door signing stuff and having pictures with everybody. There are always so many people at the stage door, which is lovely and I always want to make sure to give time to everybody. By the time I get home after that it’s like 11.30pm and I’m knackered.

What’s the one thing you couldn’t be on tour without?

My pillow goes everywhere with me. I cannot sleep in a hotel room without it because I can’t stand those horrible synthetic pillows you usually get. I have a proper old-school, feathered, heavy pillow which goes with me everywhere.

You’re bringing the show to the King’s Theatre, Glasgow. Does it have any significance for you?

Me and the Blue boys performed in Glasgow when we were on tour with Wet Wet Wet and we were the first act to ever play in their brand-new arena, which was great. The audiences were great too. I do find that the further north you go the rowdier they get.

The Rocky Horror show is coming to the Kings Theatre August 12 – August 17 2019 starring Duncan James (Blue) and Joanne Clifton (Strictly Come Dancing).