Shows celebrate three awards as curtain falls on Army @ The Fringe 2019

Press Release: 26 August, 2019

The curtain has fallen on the third Army@TheFringe, with the venue celebrating the critical success of its five shows. 

This weekend also saw the awarding of three Lustrum Awards for “best festival moments” by Robert McDowell, Director of Summerhall. 

These went to: 

  • Bomb Happy: A verbatim play developed from the experiences of Normandy veterans from Everwitch Theatre. Two of the veterans, Ken Smith and Ken Cooke, have attended some of the performances.
  • Dead Equal: An all-female opera, performed by three world-class sopranos, telling the forgotten true story of Flora Sandes, hero of the Allied frontline in World War I, presented by Palmer and Hall Music.  
  • Hallowed GroundExploring the experiences of Australian women medics over the past century – including those who served with The Scottish Women’s Hospital. By The Shift Theatre.

This year’s full Army@TheFringe programme also included:

  • The Happiness Project: Queer theatre looking at our need for non-sexual physical contact in a digital age.  
  • Unicorns, Almost: Owen Sheers’ play about the poet Keith Douglas and his Faustian pact with war. Initially as an audio experience and then as a live performance.

All the productions in the programme received four and/or five star reviews.

Brigadier Robin Lindsay, operational head of the Army in Scotland,said:

“Army@TheFringe has worked hard to establish itself as a home for high-quality shows which are diverse, inclusive and that prompt debate about life in and out of uniform.

“We are extremely proud that the shows we hosted have enjoyed so much success – with a series of awards and excellent reviews.”

Dead Equalwas also highly praised by Edinburgh author Louise Miller’s whose biography A Fine Brother: The Life of Captain Flora Sandes was one of its key inspirations.

She said of Flora, who was the only British woman to officially fight as a soldier in WWI, who rose to the rank of captain (and was decorated seven times) in the Royal Serbian Army: “Flora was the most courageous woman I have ever encountered. I loved the opera. To see her brought to life on stage in front of me was wonderful.”

The book has been optioned by Mad as Birds and a film is under development.

Army@The Fringe takes place inHepburn House, a Drill Hall in Edinburgh’s New Town for training Army Reservists.

During the festival it is transformed into a performance space, staffed by soldiers and hosting shows intended to encourage debate about the role of the Army – and wider social issues.

This year there was also a field kitchen serving Army food, a series of post-show discussions about issues raised by the productions and Live Equal, a photographic portrait exhibition of serving Army women by Wolf James.  

Army@TheFringe takes place in association with Summerhall.