Amanda O’Reilly is back on the blog:
Edinburgh this month, Worthing the next …
I write this on my fourth day at the Edinburgh Festival, literally standing in a queue outside the Assembly on the Mound waiting to see Transit by Flip FabriQue.
This is my fifteenth year and it is just as colourful, creative and crazy as the first time I came.
The hills feel steeper and the bed in student hall of residence seems a little less comfortable – but that is really just due to my being fifteen years older (I was practically a child on my first visit – honestly)
2017 has been a good year and I still have three days of shows to go.
I have been moved to tears by The Nature of Forgetting by Theatre Re, Mother’s Ruin felt like a party, Sue Perkins was candid and warm (do you know Sue and Mel are working on The Generation Game? It was news to me…), Fleabag was incredible and darkly horrifying.
The best performance for me has been The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk by Kneehigh which told the story of Chagall – exceptional performances from the small cast, amazing set and costumes and a musical score that carried the performance through the ecstasy of love to the despair of loss and beyond to a place of acceptance – I loved it completely.
It is undoubtedly a privilege and a thrill to spend a week here but it also directly affects the cultural programme for Worthing.
Each year I book between eight and 12 shows directly after seeing them at the Festival.
I see an average of eight shows a day (eleven is my peak) and if I had to see them on individual nights in London it would take 48 days and cost over £2,000 in train fares alone.
Just as important are the shows I see and choose not to book – almost any company or performer can have a year where they just don’t make the magic happen.
I see nearly fifty shows in about thirty different venues. It is a crash course in venue management, technical possibilities and the fierce competition to sell tickets.
During the week I also manage to touch base with fellow programmers and creatives. Many a project is born out of a late night after a show at the Edinburgh Festival. In 2016 I had a quick supper with Nick Young from Bristol-based Circamedia and the Gratfon Carpark Vertical Dance project was born.
I will return to Worthing inspired and informed, having been challenged, filled with creativity and the courage to programme exciting new work.