This year’s Army@TheFringe is exploring the experience of LGBT+ service men and women, both now and in the past.
The initiative, run in association with Summerhall, has been welcomed by performing artists and groups representing supporting the LGBT+ communities.
Sophie May Nichols and her partner Anna Iris, who run the UK-Icelandic Rokkur Friggjar theatre company which focuses on new writing, queer and political theatre are presenting their latest production Forget Me Notsas part of the programme.
Nichols says:“Army@TheFringe is giving us the chance to tell people about a different side of an important moment in Icelandic history.
“During the Second World War up to half the men in the country were British soldiers, giving rise to many love affairs. It was known as ‘The Situation’. Many were between men and women, and others between men – which is something that is still rarely spoken about.
“Forget Me Notsis about a young Icelandic man who gets caught up in ‘The Situation’ when he falls in love with a British soldier.”
A second production, Cezary Goes to War, is a piece of Polish queer theatre inspired by the director’s own memories of the military. It was the winner of the best artistic team award at the 2017 Divine Comedy Festival (Krakow) and is being supported by The Polish Cultural Institute.
The Army@TheFringe programme has been supported by the Army LGBT Forum.
Major Rob Ridley, Chair of the Army LGBT+ Forum, said:“It is great to see such diversity being explored in this year’s Army@TheFringe productions.
“Whether dramatic interpretation of the experiences of military recruitment, or the rarely explored story of love between men in wartime, this year’s programme is a timely exploration of diversity in the Army.
“In the 18 years that LGBT+ service has been permitted the Army, and the whole of defence, has made exceptional progress in LGBT+ inclusion; Army@TheFringe carries on that progress in a truly exciting fashion.”
This year the Army was once again named in the top 100 employers in the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index.
It will be the second time the Army has had its own Fringe venue and it hopes to build on the foundations laid in 2017 with wide range of independently produced that are chosen for their quality and message.
Lt Col Gordon Mackenzie, director of Army@TheFringe, (pictured) said: “It’s now many years since The Army ended its ban on gay soldiers and it very much recognises that diversity brings strength.
“That certainly doesn’t mean that everything is perfect and that individual LGBT+ soldiers don’t face difficulties.
“By including such a strong theme in this year’s Army@TheFringe we really hope to encourage discussion about the experience of LGBT+ people not just in the military but in the whole of our society.”
Army@TheFringe is presented by Army Headquarters Scotland as a way of engaging with wider society through the arts and initiating discussion about soldiering.
The venue, which runs from 10 to 25 August, is staffed by soldiers who run the bar and front of house services, and who mingle with the public before and after shows.
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Notes for editors
The shows at this year’s Army@TheFringe include:
- The Troth, from Akademi
- Forget Me Nots, from Rokkur Friggjar
- InValid Voices, by Helen-Marie O’Malley
- Shell Shock, by Neil Blower
- Wired, by Lesley Wilson
- Cezary Goes to War, Komuna Warszawa
- Army@TheFringe is presented by The Army in association with Summerhall. Summerhall is working with the Army to present a diverse programme of performance which tells stories of life in and out of uniform.
- Facilities at Hepburn House will include the relaxed and comfortable Mess Bar plus an Army Tuckshop.
- Summerhall is at 1 Summerhall, Edinburgh, EH9 1PL. Email email@example.com
- Details of all the shows can be found online at summerhall.co.uk
For media information contact Matthew Shelley at SFPR on 07786704299 or Matthew@ScottishFestivalsPR.Org