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Monday, 24 August 2020

INTERVIEW: Anthony Alderson, Director of the Pleasance Theatre Trust

Anthony Alderson is the director of the Pleasance Theatre Trust. The Pleasance opened as part of the 1985 Edinburgh Fringe with two theatres facing onto a deserted courtyard-come-car-park at an unfashionable eastern end of Edinburgh’s Old Town. Thirty-four seasons later the Pleasance has become one of the biggest and most highly respected venues at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with the Pleasance Islington also being one of the most exciting Off-West-End theatres in London since it opened its doors in 1995. We chat to Anthony about what the pandemic has done to the Edinburgh Fringe and his hopes for the future. 

The cancelation of the 2020 Edinburgh Fringe was a devastating blow but of course, was vital in protecting people’s health. How did it feel to initially cancel the festival? 

So many mixed feelings. It was completely the right thing to do, but it was heartbreaking to know how many shows and performers we would be turning away. 

And of course, the plan is for the festival to come back stronger than ever in 2021! How do you think the work will be affected by the pandemic? 

All shows in the 2020 programme will be invited to return in 2021. It is a great line-up. However, with so many freelancers and independent small theatre companies affected, with long stretches without any income, I just hope they are able to survive to next year. 30% of our fundraising effort on Crowdfunder will go to assist shows doing their debut next year. 

The Pleasance Theatre Trust is such a fantastic organisation who are running a fabulous raffle to raise money where you can win a free pair of tickets to every Pleasance Show at the 2021 Edinburgh Fringe! Can you tell us a bit about the charity and your work with it?

Developing artistic ideas is not only challenging, but it is also expensive. At the Pleasance, we believe it is important to give people affordable space and the freedom to take risks, both on and off stage. From this spirit of innovation springs personal confidence through which they can flourish/ We give great careers a springboard. Giving our audiences the widest possible diversity of performance from the farthest reaches of the cultural spectrum is also central to the Trust’s aim. This spirit has embodied the Pleasance throughout the past 35 years, during which we have become world-renowned for spotting great talent both on and off stage, building an environment that nurtures, encourages and develops the brightest new ideas, raw talent and skill. Providing these opportunities is why we exist.

Friday, 18 October 2019

REVIEW: He’s Behind You - The Slasher Panto at The Pleasance Theatre

He’s Behind You - The Slasher Panto has been brought to the Pleasance Theatre by PopHorror with some London Drag stars featured in the leading roles 

The show tells us the story of how a mysterious killer (dressed up as Daisy the Cow) is going around killing all of the fairytale characters and the remaining ones must uncover the killer and save the fairytale world. 

What is wonderful about this cast is that the types of drag we see are so inclusive, in a culture where the world is obsessed with RuPaul’s Drag Rae this show opens up your eyes to the types of Drag we have available at our finger tips are its glorious. 
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