image44

LAILA NOBLE: svetlana

INTERVIEW BY IZZIE KERR

If you want to see an individual who successfully wears many hats in theatre look no further than Laila Noble! She directs, playwrights, produces as well as running her own all female company, Clarty Burds. I was lucky enough to steal some time in her busy schedule to discuss her Edinburgh Fringe show, SVETLANA, and what to expect from her next. 


Can you give me a brief summary of your show?


Svetlana is an exceptionally well written one woman show. It features Nicola Jo Cully as a Russian spy, who speaks in a strangely Glaswegian accent,  and tells you everything that has happened to her in the past 72 hours on her last mission. She takes you from her flat in Pollokshaws to Hindu Kush to Isis training camps and you meet Putan, along with other colourful characters, before returning to her flat at the end of the play. 


What inspired you to get involved with this piece?


It was the writing, hands down. It is a really bizarre hybrid between theatre, which is one of my greatest loves, and stand up, which is the other. Also it’s a fantastic female piece. It puts a woman front and centre on the stage by herself. She holds 100% of the narrative and holds 100% of the show and that is something that interested me because it’s hard for actresses to find great roles. She’s powerful and strong and makes no apologies for who she is. The is no mitigation of her or romantic storyline. It’s not about her failing or falling in love. It’s about her being totally kick ass from start to finish and owning that. As female artists, and marginalised artists, it’s a really nice experience to work on something like that. 


Do you think being involved in the queer community impacts on your work?


Undoubtedly it has. I would shy away from saying it influences my work in a literal sense because I don’t like the implication that queer artists have to make queer work. That can be quite damaging because first and foremost we are people with the same experiences as everyone else. I’ve fallen in love and got my heart broken. Yes, it was with a woman but it’s still a universal experience. However, it is undeniable that being queer has informed my character. I grew up in rural North Wales and it’s beautiful, but not what you call progressive. I’ve lost jobs for being gay, my friend had her jaw broken for being gay, my girlfriend got punched by her dad for being gay, so it’s not been easy. It teaches you resilience and empathy. The work you make is emboldened because you’ve got used to people not being happy with what you have to say. So in some ways I am less afraid than I might be if I hadn’t had those experiences.


What about your experience at the Fringe as a queer individual?


The Fringe is quite a beast and it’s changed a lot since I first did it. There are over 3000 shows so it’s exceptionally hard to route out the shows that really matter because we are drowning in flyers. It's great there’s so much work but in some ways I think we don’t hear the voices that we should be hearing because there isn’t enough stage time for it. I would like to see a more curated queer part of the festival. You get queer quarters in cities such as Manchester and Liverpool, and I would like to have an exclusive venue that is known as a queer hub to let that beacon shine a bit more because it is hard to find anything in this mess that is the Fringe. However, it’s a great time to experiment. What the Fringe is amazing for is it’s a time where you can walk around in whatever you feel like wearing, doing whatever you feel like doing and saying whatever you feel like saying and nobody is going to bat an eyelid.  And as an artist it is a place where you can fail. If I am searching for a platform to talk about my identity I would feel most safe doing it for the first time at the Fringe because if it’s terrible, it doesn’t matter.



With so many shows at the Fringe what makes yours the one to go and see? 


I would love to blow my own horn and say because how fantastic I am but there are three reasons for you to go and see Svetlana. The first is Nicola Jo Cully. She’s a genius. She’s absolutely breathtaking. An audience reviewer said she takes the play by the scruff of the neck and doesn't let go till the end and that’s exactly what it is! The second reason is the writing. It is intensely excellent and a tonic for our troubled times. It embraces that post truth, fake news, mess we are in, where we don’t know what’s real.  The third reason is we’ve had some very choice comments online about it, transphobic and homophobic ones, so if nothing else come and see it as a F*** YOU to those people!


@laila_noble

@ClartyBurd


GO SEE THE SHOW

AUGUST 21ST TO 25TH 

22.35  | 16+


Tickets: £12/£11


ASSEMBLY GEORGE SQUARE STUDIOS, GEORGE SQUARE, EH8 9LH


https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/svetlana

Find out more about laila noble
image45

OASISSY : THE ONLY QUEER OASIS TRIBUTE ACT

INTERVIEW BY ALISON WREN

Edinburgh based Kirsty Biff and Annabel Cooper are Oasissy, the greatest, and only queer, Oasis tribute act of all time. This Summer they’re camped out at the Gilded Balloon’s new Patter Hoose venue to bring you some of the best queer cabaret you’ll see at this years Edinburgh Festival Fringe.


So what’s the story with Oasissy? 


Kirsty: Oasissy is almost our way of processing that at some point in both our lives we were massive Oasis fans. I wanted to be Noel Gallagher in the school talent show when I was 7. It didn’t happen so I think Oasissy is my opportunity to reconcile that missed opportunity with the love I felt for them, hopefully making them a bit more woke and feminist. Like a queer reading of their lyrics that wasn’t obvious the first time around.


Annabel: Oasissy is like we’ve swallowed both the Gallagher brothers then shat them out as one.


I am pretty sure Noel Gallagher would hate this. But it is also an excuse for us to behave like madferrit c*nts and not everyone gets the opportunity to do that.


If someone was thinking of coming along to pop their queer cabaret cherry, what should they expect from your night?


A: The venue is the bar at the Gilded Balloon’s Patter Hoose on Chambers Street. The cabaret is on in three acts between 11pm-1am. The fun starts at 10pm and there are DJs after the cabaret has finished too. Also, it’s bloody free! No tickets required. We want to try to make it as accessible as possible and for everyone to feel welcome. There are also accessible gender-neutral toilets at the venue.


K: We tried to create something we would want to go to. Something that celebrates difference and otherness. Cabaret can connect people in a way that’s different to theatre. There’s no fourth wall and it can be much more responsive to the crowd.


A: There’s hopefully something for everyone on the bill; club kids, performance artists, drag acts. It includes a lot of home-grown talent from the Glasgow and Edinburgh underground scene, nights like Queer Theory and Shoot your Shot. But there are also people with bigger profiles like superstar drag prince Alfie Ordinary.


Do you think it's important to have queer specific events happening at the Fringe?


A: As a queer person, seeing other queer people on stage sharing their weirdness, uniqueness and talents has had a massive impact on me. To be able to curate something this year that contributes to that is gorgeous.


K: Yes, I think there needs to be diverse, queer specific events everywhere, especially the biggest arts festival in the world! This year Harry Josephine Giles has started the #TransFringe hashtag for trans and non-binary performers. It is a simple way of saying - yes we are here and we have important work that you need to see. This has been a tough year for trans and gender non conforming folk (you just need to open a paper to see misinformation and hate spread) and queer and trans artists need platforms (and paid) more than ever. There are 50 shows on the #TransFringe flyer now which is incredible.


Is the show only for LGBTQ+ people?


K: Everyone is welcome at our cabarets. We don’t turn down the queer politics in our work and nor do our acts. We believe in what we’re doing so if you are open I think you’ll have a lot of fun with us! We also want our queer audience to feel welcomed and know that they can take up space. Helping us with that we have Fluff, our glamorous audience fluffer who will be mingling, charming and making sure you’re ok!


@Oasissy1

GO AND SEE THE SHOW

AUGUST 23RD AND 24TH

10PM | 18+


GILDED BALLOON PATTER HOOSE, 3 CHAMBERS STREET, EDINBURGH, EH1 1HT


TICKETS: FREE

image46

ANDREW SIM TALKS AM I QUEER ENOUGH? & LINDA: EASY KILLING

INTERVIEW BY IZZIE KERR

Born and raised in Aberdeenshire, Andrew Sim moved to Edinburgh 8 years ago to complete his acting degree at QMU and Edinburgh Napier. He has been performing stand up ever since. His performance style has grown with him and this year he will be bringing two shows to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.


Can you give me a brief summary of your shows?


‘Am I Queer Enough?’ is an exploration of my bisexuality and the pressures from both the straight and gay communities. It's a show that is, primarily, for people who have gone through this before, don't fit into boxes and want to express that queerness doesn't have to be one or the other and you can still be proud of it. 


The other show is very different. It’s called ‘Linda: Easy Killing’ and it features my character act, Linda. Linda is this very messed up travelling woman who plays with, and terrifies, the audience. She also makes them laugh at the world around us. It’s very dark and pushes people to the extremes of what is deemed offensive or inoffensive. Linda is essentially a playful character who is influenced by the art form Buffon.


What inspired you to create these two pieces?


Am I Queer Enough? contains the best bits of my stand up career. Bisexuals are becoming more visible and people are questioning what it means to be Queer. Bisexuals are treated very differently to other parts of the community. We’re doubted and questioned. I've had issues with straight people in the past and I was beaten up in school. But now the uncomfortable conversations I have are with gay men who don't see my identity as valid. This is something I'm exploring.


With Linda, I’m inspired by my personal experiences. I've had very dark times, struggling with acceptance and paranoia about whether people like me or not. For a while I viewed myself as a monster. I knew deep down I wasn't. So I created Linda, a woman who tries to tell the truth more than anything else. It started with a voice of this woman who doesn't care what people think of her. She has terrible makeup, clothes and is enjoying life! Obviously I still care about peoples' sensitivities when performing as her, but Linda wants to blast through the bulls*** and attacks things like organisations, ideologies and has a real intention of trying to break down barriers. Linda feels like we should be pushed and question things, and sometimes we need to go to uncomfortable places to do that.


Do you think that your involvement in the Queer community has impacted your work?


Absolutely. Being part of the Queer community is huge because I wouldn't be the person I am without it. Being able to accept others for exactly who they are with no judgement is a huge skill I’ve learnt. That doesn't mean the community is perfect, but it has allowed me to open up and view things not just as oppressor and oppressed, but as a complicated narrative that is about power and non power and that people with power should be able to give those without it a chance. 


Where I come from, sexuality wasn't commonly talked about and when it was it was a joke. Two girls at my school started seeing each other and the boys would make jokes about it and the girls would make them feel like they were nothing. They were convinced by the school to end their relationship. It wasn’t the right choice for the people in power to side with bullies, rather than those who wanted to show love.


What about your experience at the Fringe as a queer individual?


I'll be honest, the Fringe is the queerest thing you'll ever see! If you go to see any shows you'll see queerness is a strong theme throughout. When I first came to the Fringe years ago with my dad, a straight bloke, he took me to the gayest, most outrageous shows because he thought it'd be a laugh. As a result he became more accepting of different views and individuals and it did the same for me. Fringe is for those you won't see on the TV because they have imperfections, but I find their stories far more fascinating to watch. It's a place to share for artists who have gone through traumas and issues. And a lot of the time, unfortunately, it’s the Queer community who have experienced that.


With so many shows at the Fringe, what makes yours the ones to go and see?


Am I Queer Enough? is for everyone. Bisexual people have watched my show and said they felt the same sentiments I discuss, but weren't able to verbalise it. And for the first two or three years of my stand up I played to predominantly straight audiences who maybe can’t relate, but still laugh because I’m able to share a different perspective.


Linda: Easy Killing is constantly complimented on its originality. This show creates atmosphere. There have been times where people have cried during the show and seconds later they're laughing. 


I think that if you like to experience different perceptions of what being Queer means and would like to hear mine, as well as seeing a silly show with music, dancing and high energy Am I Queer Enough? is the one for you. If you wanna see something weird and is something you'll always talk about, where you don’t know what you’ll get until you’re there, come and see Linda.


Trigger warning for Linda: Easy Killing - Taboo subjects will be covered and these vary from day to do.


@AndrewSimComedy

GO AND SEE THE SHOWS

LINDA: EASY KILLING:

AUGUST 8-13, 15-20, 22-25

5.30PM | 18+

LAUGHING HORSE @ BAR 50

50 BLACKFRIARS STREET, EDINBURGH, EH1 1NE 

TICKETS: FREE


https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/linda-easy-killing


AM I QUEER ENOUGH:

AUGUST 8-13, 15-20, 22-25

8.40PM | 18+

MIRTH MELTDOWN @ 52 CANOES, 52 CANOES TIKI DEN, EDINBURGH, EH1 2JA 

TICKETS: FREE


https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/andrew-sim-am-i-queer-enough


FIND OUT MORE ABOUT ANDREW SIM
image47

oskar kirk hansen TALKS META FISIKA & GLAMOOR THE KWEER KABARET

INTERVIEW BY IZZIE KERR

Mystika Glamoor, a.k.a Oskar Kirk Hansen, has been part of the Edinburgh drag scene for two years. In that time they have established ‘GLAMOOR the Kweer Kabaret’  and are now adding multimedia performance art to the list. After taking Edinburgh by storm last year, the pre-apocalyptic priestess Mystika Glamoor opens up about their mysterious life, presenting an evening of nomadic anecdotes, surrealism, and spiritual teachings in their Meta Fisika show.


Can you give me a brief summary of your Edinburgh Festival Fringe shows?


GLAMOOR the Kweer Kabaret is Edinburgh’s weekly alternative, wacky, intimate drag show. We operate in a small space and are inclusive, both on stage and off. I wanted a safe space where everyone feels welcome and appreciated. It’s somewhere to forget your troubles and a space that strengthens us and reminds us we all have a reason to fight.


My Fringe show, Meta Fisika, is a spiritual multimedia performance that tells the story of my past lives, reincarnation and the lessons I’ve learnt along the way. It features projection, lip-syncing, storytelling and crowd ritual. I’ll be in boy face for this.


I’ll also be taking part in other cabaret shows in town. I’m keeping myself busy!


What inspired you to create Meta Fisika?


Mystika is quite a camp lady, which I love, but sometimes drag can limit you. I wanted a chance to do something more artistic instead of slapstick and queer comedy. I have been given the opportunity to go back to the work I always wanted to do and remind myself why I started all this in the first place.


I also grew up internationally, living all around the world, and I experienced spirituality from Buddhism to Catholicism. I love the idea of bringing queerness and spirituality together. There’s something divine about being queer, a bit extra human, because society has said there is one way of doing things but we say; “No, we can transcend this all together and don’t need the binary”.


Do you think being involved in the queer community impacts on your work?


Hugely! Being a drag queen makes you a public figure in the community. I could perhaps do a song about mental health and then have someone come up and say; “Thank you, you helped me face my problems”, and it means the world to me.


The cabaret is now bigger than myself. I went from being a weird queen to having my own night where I can now give a platform to others. It’s easy to feel alone but if you see someone going through what you are too it can bring the community together. It gives me a sense of purpose.


What about your experience at the Fringe as a queer individual?


The city changes. In some ways it becomes more accepting because I can walk down the street in full drag and there are 500 others doing the same so who cares? On the flip side, so many people come and not all of them are going to be open minded, drag lovers. You get some people staring and shouting things like ‘is that a tranny’. Especially because I don’t do pretty drag. 


It’s a funny mixture of highs and lows. I do love it for what it is. Throughout the year I think it makes our city more accepting because we’ve seen it all in August and nothing can shock us anymore.


One thing I would like to highlight is that this city has queer talent all-year-round and the fringe is a chance for us to put out our work. It gives space to experiment and to share work with those who might not have access to it at other times throughout the year.


With so many shows at the Fringe, what makes yours the one to go and see?


My show is a mixture of spirituality and queerness which I think our community can do with a lot more of. We are all quite witchy and spiritual deep down. I don’t know any gay person who doesn’t have a deck of tarot cards somewhere. But I think we need more of it. Just in terms of belief and actualisation of ourselves. My show looks at all of this as well as the full range of identity and human emotion. All in all I think it will be a very fun wee night.


@MysGlamoor

GO AND SEE THE SHOWS

GLAMOOR THE KWEER KABARET: AUGUST 5/12/19/26 | 9PM | 18+

THE STREET, 2B PICARDY PLACE, EDINBURGH, EH1 3JT

TICKETS: FREE


META FISIKA: 

AUGUST 3-9 | 7.15PM | 18+

THE OUTHOUSE BAR, 12A BROUGHTON ST LANE, EDINBURGH, EH1 3LY

TICKETS: FREE

Find out more ABOUT META FISIKA
image48

NANCY CLENCH: AGONY AUNT

INTERVIEW BY THOMAS ANDERSON-THATCHER

Nancy Clench is Scotland's most eminent drag queen. She's been performing for over 10 years in venues across the country, whilst holding residencies in London's West End and being known for flying abroad to undertake international engagements. She's a live-singing, hardly-dancing, 7ft-tall, trainer-wearing, bearded-queen.


Hello Nancy. We’d love to know more about your upcoming Edinburgh Festival Fringe show, ‘Nancy Clench: Agony Aunt’


This new show is all about solving people's problems. So many people have got in touch with me to share their issues. I'm going to stand on stage and impart some wisdom to solve them. I'm basically the agony aunt that nobody asked for, but I'm here and I'm queer so folk better get used to it! Expect lots of laughs, leopard print and a strange story about the Illuminati. 


As an agony aunt, you must feel the pressure when giving out advice? 


Gosh, it is terribly daunting. You never want to screw up someone's life or relationship with stupid advice! I am actually known for giving the best relationship advice, despite living as a single, middle-aged woman. It's something in the vodka, I think. 


What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? 


When I was starting out in the entertainment world, a fellow artiste said "Never take anyone's advice - go your own path" and that always stuck with me. Many people will recognise that I've never taken any advice because my make-up has stayed the same for many, many years. 


You’re a bit of a Fringe veteran. What’s your most memorable Fringe experience? 


I've been performing in and around the Fringe for six years, but my last show was in 2014. ‘Down Right Dirty’ got 5-stars and there were lots of bums on seats, so it's a particularly memorable experience for me. Arthur Smith was in the crowd for one of them and gave me a glowing review after the show. I especially enjoy the bars, nothing beats a good drink. 


If someone is reading this and is still undecided about coming to see your show, why should they come along?


It's a late-night-laugh-a-lot show, with a bar! You know the last time I was at the Fringe the venue I was performing at didn't have a bar. Outrageous. This one does, I've checked. But genuinely, this is the first show that I actually feel incredibly proud of and I can't wait for everyone to see it. I can't wait to read everyone's DEAR NANCY letters! 


Are there any shows you’re looking forward to seeing at this years Fringe?


I'm really looking forward to catching up with Harry Clayton-Wright. His show is called ‘Sex Education’ and I love anything with the word Education in the title. He's at Summerhall alongside my other Fringe-buddy, Nathaniel Hall. His show, ‘First Time’, is all about his life when he was diagnosed with HIV, so particularly important for me to kick stigma in the butt. Oh, and finally Miss Hope Springs. She's an incredible singer-songwriter who went from the Ritz to the pits. Seriously, check her out at Assembly. 


@NancyClench

@NathanSparkling

GO AND SEE THE SHOW

AUGUST 13-17

23.20PM | 18+


‘JUST THE TONIC’ AT THE GRASSMARKET CENTRE, 86 CANDLEMAKER ROW, EDINBURGH, EH1 2QA


TICKETS: £6/£8

FREE SHOW PREVIEW ON AUGUST 11 - PAY WHAT YOU CAN ON THE DOOR!

GET YOUR TICKETS HERE
image49

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE FRAGILE MALE EGO

INTERVIEW BY IZZIE KERR

Mel Jordan is half of the seasoned Fringe theatre company Jordan and Skinner. They have previously delighted audiences with shows ‘Sanitise’, winning the Scotsman Fringe First Award 2014, and ‘At a Stretch’, which won the Three Weeks Editor award in 2017. This year the company has taken a side step from their physical theatre roots to help them discuss issues of toxic masculinity, responsibility and…awful accents.


Can you give me a brief summary of your show?


It’s a TED talk from a men's rights activist, Andrea, who is a member of the ‘Society of Men’s Universal Truth’ or SMUT. She’s there to ask us to support men as they collectively lose their shit. To figure out why the male ego is as fragile as it is and what we can do to protect it.


What inspired you to create this piece?


A quote from Margaret Atwood. ‘Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.’ It’s interesting as many people feel that feminism, as it is, is done. However people who aren’t Cis-Man are leading the fight, and some Cis-Men are great allies. But most are not looking at why this quote might have truth in it. There is still a huge amount of arseholes running stuff and we need men to be like, ‘What’s going on here?’. In recent years there’s been talk about Toxic Masculinity and calling for men to be vulnerable, which is good. But we are asking; Whose responsibility is it to look at gender inequality? We’ve also had support from the Pleasence Future Program this year which has been great!


Do you think being involved in the queer community impacts on your work?


I very much draw on my own experiences. Not that it’s autobiographical, but my experience of the world is that of a queer woman. My experience is connecting to my community and feeling what’s going on and the challenges or issues we face. So inevitably this shows in my work. Although this year the show is not a queer show, I am coming from a queer perspective, and the patriarchy f*** us all over regardless of who we are, so it impacts on us. And misogyny within the LGBT+ community is a massive issue we need to look at as it’s absolutely not acceptable and needs to stop.


What about your experience at the fringe as a queer individual?


What’s great about the fringe is that everyone is in town from all around the world. So the tribe grows, and queerness feels like it becomes more visible. When I was doing ‘At a Stretch’ last year, queer people I didn’t already know were talking about the work which felt really exciting because in Scotland we are a small community and we all know each other. During the Fringe what’s said in Edinburgh can carry around world and grow which feels really important for the queer cause. Having that voice is how we make change. So I hope our work sparks a conversation. Perhaps a bit of rage and activism. If the whole world is in town it feels like a good place to do it.


With so many shows at the fringe, what makes yours the one to go and see?


Although there is a huge amount of feminist work out there, and I think it’s amazing, I feel that this show is sparking a conversation that perhaps isn’t happening yet. That femme folks have fought the good fight and now its time for men to look at their shit. Who is responsible for breaking this toxic masculinity and how do we go about doing that? I don’t know the answer to that but I hope that this show will help us look at it. Personally I really like fighting the good fight, but I feel a bit tired. I kind of need someone else to take it on.


@joandskin

www.jordanandskinner.com

GO AND SEE THE SHOW

JULY 31, AUGUST 1-13, 15-20, 22-26

4PM | 14+


PLEASANCE DOME, 1 BRISTO SQUARE, EDINBURGH, EH8 9AL


TICKETS £11.00/£12.00


2 FOR 1 ON AUGUST 5 AND 6

GET YOUR TICKETS HERE
image50

FIRST TIME - STAYING POSITIVE IN A NEGATIVE WORLD

INTERVIEW BY ETHAN SHAPIRO | PHOTO BY LEE BAXTER

First Time is a new show by the brilliant Nathaniel Hall that's arriving at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe after a successful run in Manchester. Nathaniel recently spoke with our very own Ethan Shapiro about his show and gave us some personal insight into its development.


It’s a true life story about my experience of growing up with HIV. When I was 16 I met an older guy on a bench in a park in Stockport. It sounds very dodgy, but I was just kind of realising I was gay at that time. I wasn’t out and I knew I was gay. So there was this guy who was very nice and it was all very validating and we kind of hit it off. We then went into a relationship. As a result of that I contracted HIV from him when I was 16 and then I basically shut everyone out for about 14 years, before I told my family. I think it was the stigma of HIV and to get it so young, and to then have it mixed in with that kind of coming out process, it was all very powerful. When I was 17 I had a bit of a mental break down. Because I hadn’t told my family about it, I forced my hand and wrote a show about it.


The Edinburgh Festival Fringe hosts a vast array of performing arts shows that cater to people from all different backgrounds and interests. Nathaniel explained what drew him to want to bring his show to the Fringe.


Because we have been doing a lot of outreach work around the show with schools in Manchester, as well as a gallery exhibition, we hope to continue and develop that so we've partnered with charity HIV Scotland when we bring the show to Edinburgh. I suppose the Fringe being the largest showcase for theatre really is an opportunity to raise the profile of the show. We want it to have the biggest impact we can with it over its tour and life. We’re hoping that by having a successful tour it will really help us to reach as many regions as possible within the UK by maximising the impact and important messages in the show.


The show has some powerful messages through its tackling of HIV stigma. Nathaniel has felt this platform allowed him to eliminate misunderstandings of the diagnosis.


I also wanted to create something that was kind of tackling the HIV stigma but would inspire people to live comfortably and openly with their own diagnosis. We know from a lot of work around the show that there are many people with HIV that still live in fear of people finding out. So I really wanted to create a show that showed the fear of saying it out loud might be greater than the reality of saying it out loud itself.


Since Nathaniel’s diagnosis at 16 he has seen public opinion of HIV change. He has seen how improvements to healthcare and prognosis has evolved and also the development of different preventative measures. His show challenges the audiences thinking about HIV and makes them also consider how much work is left to do to remove the stigma.


First Time is unlike other shows that explore HIV. Nathaniel wanted it to be a message of hope for the future. People with the disease have the ability to live full and healthy lives. The tagline for the show “Staying Positive in a Negative World” is used to inspire hope in everyone.


I suppose one of the sayings around the show, or when I made the show, was that I didn’t see me reflected on stage or in film or TV. There’s a whole range of amazing films and plays about HIV, but they are all period pieces like Dallas Buyers Club and Philadelphia. You’ve also got Angels in America on stage, but they are all looking back. I was like, “What about now? What about looking forward?”. Because me and thousands of other people are not just living with HIV, but we’re thriving with HIV.


The show is an amalgamation of poetry, reading of personal letters, and monologues, among other things. One important character that Nathaniel takes on is a Drag Queen named Sue. Sue provides a real mixture of heart-warming and comedic elements to the show. Nathaniel was able to share some additional information about her development and the importance she has in sharing his story.


Sue came about from the way we go and explore the moment of diagnosis without me having to go to a very vulnerable place. So we decided we would try me as the health advisor that actually gave me the diagnosis. We tried a bunch of wigs and costumes and Sue was born. Sue is quite a comedic character. She’s kind of an amalgamation of every NHS health advisor, nurse and receptionist that you can ever imagine. She actually came out of a poem I wrote about those people. Those are the people who save lives every day and they’re really important people. They’re not the doctors. They’re not the scientists making the big discovery, but they are the day-to-day people doing amazing work. We get an opportunity to celebrate those people and also laugh along at their eccentricities. 


Sue isn’t her real name. I’m sad that’s not her real name because I would have loved to stand up on stage and say “Thank you” to that woman who sat with me for hours when I got my diagnosis and talked me through everything, but I can’t.


First Time is a must-see show that will capture audiences from all different walks of life. Nathaniel tells us why First Time is a must-see show at this years Edinburgh Festival Fringe.


I think what makes it a must-see show is if you have ever loved and lost it’s a must-see for you. It’s a show that will really resonate with everyone. 


We now have the tools to eradicate HIV in a generation. The UNAIDS have now set a target of ending all new diagnosis by 2030, and that is all across the Western world. Edinburgh has just signed up to be a fast track city and Manchester has signed up too. That means they are working together to use all the new prevention tools we’ve got: U=U, PREP, the condom message and getting tested. Coming together to say “We’ve got these tools now”, but what that actually means is that every person can know their HIV status. 


So I would ask people to come and see First Time to understand their role in achieving that goal of eradicating HIV in a generation, because it is achievable if we all work together. 


It’s also really funny! You’ll have a good laugh. Bring the tissues because you’ll cry as well.


@NathanielJHall

@HIVScotland


WHAT ETHAN THOUGHT ABOUT 'FIRST TIME' | ★★★★★ (5 STARS)


It was a captivating performance that made you both laugh and cry. Nathaniel was so engaging with the audience that you really felt for him and the story he was sharing. It really challenges you to think about the effect HIV has on people and how far we as a society have to go to remove the stigma around the diagnosis.

GO AND SEE FIRST TIME

JULY 31, AUGUST 2-11, 13-18, 20-25, 4.15PM | 14+


SUMMERHALL, 1 SUMMERHALL, EDINBURGH, EH9 1PL


TICKETS £5 PREVIEW/£14.50/£12.50


2 FOR 1 ON AUGUST 5 AND 6

GET YOUR TICKETS HERE
image51

TIME TO GET LOUD AND PROUD THIS FRINGE!

LOUD AND PROUD ON THE FRINGE: 10 AUGUST 7.30PM, ST CUTHBERTS, LOTHIAN ROAD, TICKETS £15/£11

In the first of our Somewhere at the Fringe features, we caught up with Evie Hastings-Jones, Chair of Loud and Proud, Scotland's LGBT+ choir,  to find out about what's in store for their forthcoming Fringe show:


Tell us about Loud and Proud - how big is the choir and how long have you been singing? 


From just 3 or 4 people meeting at a singing course at the LGBT centre in Howe Street back in 2004, we now have approximately 60 members ranging from late teens to 80’s - with a waiting list! 


Your Loud and Proud on the Fringe event is a regular August fixture for you. What makes it so special?


Singing to fundraise for Waverley Care (Scotland's HIV and Hepatitis C charity) is always an honour for us – they do such amazing work. We also get the chance to sing and meet up with a whole new bunch of interesting people from all over the world who may have never heard an a cappella choir before. The Edinburgh Fringe is just so much fun!


What can we expect this year, music-wise? 


We are singing to celebrate the legacy of the 1969 Stonewall Riots and how far we have come in those 50 years. The programme is an eclectic mix of songs reflecting on solidarity, rights, freedoms. A reminder to keep on fighting for the most vulnerable and invisible in our community whose voices might not be heard and to band together in the face of attempts to divide us. Expect Iconic Pop, Gay Anthems, Classical, a special song for Stonewall written especially for us and some less well known.


LGBT+ choirs are a big part of the LGBT+ cultural and campaigning community. Why is Loud and Proud important to you? 


To me personally? - how much space do you have? Lol! Even today many LGBT+ people feel lonely & isolated - for many different reasons. Singing together in Loud and Proud empowers and unites us in all our diversity. I believe it gives many of us a new-found confidence, a sense of belonging, a safe space to create a wonderful sound together. I am so happy to be a part of that.


Click here to get your hands on tickets to Loud and Proud on the Fringe!


@LoudProudChoir 

@WaverleyCare 

About Waverley Care

The work of Waverley Care is focused on prevention, education, testing and support. 


Throughout Scotland they are reducing new HIV and Hepatitis C infections, getting people diagnosed and supporting those affected in whatever ways they need. 


Through their work, they are also challenging HIV and Hepatitis C related stigma, tackling health inequalities and promoting good sexual health.

Find out more