This August, the Scottish Poetry Library is hosting Fringe shows in the evening; we shall be open as normal during the day. Curious to know what’s on?
Since appearing on a five pound note and being championed by the likes of Robert McFarlane, Nan Shepherd’s profile has had the kind of boost you don’t expect nearly 40 years after a writer’s death. Shepherd’s literary executor Erlend Clouston was her friend, and with Nan Shepherd: From Flaneur to Fiver he will be presenting what he calls ‘a sideways look’ at her life and career taking in a wild selection of ‘special appearances’ including Jefferson Airplane, Rousseau, Walter Benjamin and General Erich Ludendorf. (August 20-22, 7.30pm, £6.00 / £4.00 concessions).
Green Knight is an imaginative re-telling of the medieval romance Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. The story might be familiar: an apparently invincible green-skinned warrior challenges a Knight of the Round Table to a duel. The treatment is not: Debbie Canon retells the story from a feminist point-of-view. (August 7, 9-10, 13-14, 7:30pm, £10.00 / £8.00 concessions).
Deserving at least a nomination for ‘best Fringe show title 2019’, Employ Me, You Cowards! is a one-man show where Ross McCleary plays a poet whose new office job is taking a turn for the bizarre. There’s a maze in the basement, his colleagues move in strange patterns around the workplace, and art and admin are beginning to merge. (August 13-17, 20-23, 8.45pm, £7.00 / £5.00 concessions).
Gourmands of the ghoulish should check out Jen McGregor’s spoken word show, Grave. Combining horror and comedy, Grave is set – where else with a title like that? – in a remote graveyard where Jen learns that monsters don’t always have fangs and claws. Based on a true story, apparently. (August, 2-3, 6, 6.15pm, £5).
Hannah Raymond-Cox’s Polaris conflates the North Star and gay slang ‘polari’ in a one-woman show that explores female sexuality, queer culture and anxiety as Raymond-Cox searches for a community that will accept her. The plot swings between London and San Francisco and key moments in her life, including breaking up with her first boyfriend, coming out to her mum, and having her flatmate fall in love with her. (August 2-3, 5pm, £7.00 / £5.00 concessions; August 6-10, 13-17, 20-24, 5pm, £8.00 / £6.00 concessions).
Playground depicts common experiences growing up. Using poetry and spoken word, Playground draws on the diverse background of its performers (who come from four different countries) to illustrate not the differences within but the similarities between childhoods: friendship, fall-outs, joy and sadness. (August 2-6, 5pm, £5 / £3 concessions).
Word Jazzology (August 9-10, 6.15pm) combines poetry, jazz and comedy in a literary cabaret featuring Ali Whitelock, Magi Gibson and Ian MacPherson, with music by Le Jazz Band and violinist Helen Jayne.
Victoria McNulty’s Confessionals examines the effect of sectarianism and poverty on a young barmaid. (August 2-3 and 6, 7.30pm £8 / £5 concessions). The 900 Club (20-24 August, 6.15pm, £5) is a play which sees its characters reunited on a 900 Megabus to Edinburgh five years after the death of a mutual friend led them to fall out.
Stepping outside the building, Ken Cockburn returns with his latest popular ‘poetry tour’. Edinburgh has long welcomed international writers. On this leisurely walk around the Canongate, home of the SPL, Ken Cockburn shares poems by Scots dreaming of Europe and Europeans drawn to the Athens of the North. (August 2-4, 11am, £7 / £5 concessions; August 5-6, 8-11, 13-18, 11am, £10 / £6 concessions).
We’re also welcoming back ‘the biggest spoken word night in London for women’ That’s What She Said, which will take place over three nights. On Thursday, August 15, the bill will include Jemima Foxtrot, Rose Condo, Jane Claire Bradley, Gaynor Jones, Kim Deyn and Debz Butler. More information here. On Friday, August 16, the bill includes Reece Lyons, Donna Ogunnaike, Bridget Hart, Hannah McCooke, Joanne Bell, and Alice Godliman. More information here. On Saturday, August 17, the bill includes Jemima Foxtrot, Reese Lyons, and d’bi.young anitafrika. All performances begin at 6.30pm, with tickets £9 (£6 concessions).
If you click on the title of each show, it will take you to a page where you can buy a ticket online. Keep an eye on this page as we’ll be adding additional shows and information.