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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.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

REVIEW: The Lost Boy Peter Pan at the Pleasance Theatre

On paper the idea of taking a talented young group of actor musicians, the inspiration of JM Barrie's story of Peter Pan and modern pop music and combining it into a fresh take on the story of the lost boys is good. Of course already we have had in London the extraordinary visually exciting Bat out of hell which did just this with the music of Meatloaf and will return to West End next year. It is therefore a challenge that producer Action to the word have set themselves to do the same in the small intimate venue of the main house at The Pleasance in Islington for a Christmas run.

This version which says it is inspired by JM Barrie actually stays pretty close to the familiar elements of the story : the flight from London, the shooting of Wendy, the capture of Tiger Lilly , the poisoning of Tinkerbell , the capture of Wendy by pirates , the fight with Hook and the return to their Mother and Father. However what writer and director Alexandra Spencer Jones has created is a frenetic , energetic , punk version of the story with the cast of seven leaping around the stage playing a wide range is instruments in short bursts of song dressed in their pyjamas. 

Thursday, 20 February 2014

COMPANION PIECE a New Play by Kevin Armento at the Pleasance Theatre

“You know everyone's got things, in private, but if we were all totally honest with each other about things sexually, I don't know that anyone would ever be attracted to anyone else."

After months in an online relationship, Dolores has come to New England for a work conference and meets Leonard face-to-face for the first time. But when she starts to unravel a secret about his lonely existence, their transition to love in the flesh becomes a wholesale struggle over the nature of love itself - a struggle that will shape both of them for the rest of their lives.

Tickets cost £12.00 (£10.00) Wednesday - Saturday and Tuesday & Sundays are £8.00.
Please note there is nudity in the production and we recommend it is suitable for anyone aged 16 +.

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