This week I went up to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival to visit my fantastic friends making fantastic theatre and having a fantastic time doing it. It was only a flying visit but I had SUCH a great time and crammed as much as I could into the two-and-a-half days I spent there. It was one of the best atmospheres I’ve ever experienced, I think mainly because the city becomes a place for everyone. By this I mean, of course, that all are welcome, but also that all is welcome. Anything. By anyone. For anyone. Anything.
Not only did I see a spoken word show that was centered around Moomins – like, I dunno where else in the UK you’d see that – but I saw an amazing production written and devised by women in prison. It is flawless; so slick and well-acted and gripping. More than that, though, it is really really important.
It provides women with roles, something I think theatre really should do more of. It gives women a voice, something I think society really should do more of. It tells the stories of females in prison and, in doing so, raises issues that really should get more awareness (rape and domestic violence to name a few). It’s brill.
I’m trying heavily not to make this into a review, so take Key Change as an example of one of many, many, many productions at Fringe that provide women with a platform to do whatever they want. It’s almost overwhelming, in fact, I retract the ‘almost’. I was overwhelmed.
Quick side note, just in case anyone was thinking it, men are offered this same platform too. So there we go, equality, feminism, hooray.
The Arts have this effect. They are for everyone. They give everyone a place. The reason why there’s a lot of boundary-pushing theatre, performance art, dance, poetry etc etc is because the Arts sector allows for it in ways that other fields don’t yet. Sports are a good example to use here, I think; female footballers face all sorts of rubbish because they are still a significant ‘other’, a thing that followed suite of the initial game players and so are, for that reason, having to catch up and level the playing field (snort).
That snort isn’t genuine. It isn’t funny. It’s really sad.
But I think what’s more sad, is that it’s the Arts that will cut; that are getting cut. My two days at the Fringe solidified my love for them, and for those involved in them who use their respective talents – sometimes not even their talents, just their brains – to participate in the movement. I think the Arts are a movement, even if only in the most literal sense. They move across genres/audiences/places, sweeping along societal/political/nonsensical issues and exposing them under various spotlights – literally and metaphorically – that entice us, entertain us, emotionalise us (no that’s not a word). Through the Arts the world is getting better and that’s why we have to save them. They’re an indication of progress, and they will be chiseled back to the stone age unless we do.
I could put at this point that I’m usually always right, but it’d probably be less embarrassing for you if you secretively go to the Fringe and see for yourself just how fab it is (and just how right I am).