The Fringe is a place for ideas, as well as a place for entertainment. If you get both in the same package, so much the better! Hence a show like Outside The Box, by Liz Rothschild. Trained as a performer at Bristol Old Vic, she’s also a funeral celebrant who runs an award-winning burial ground on an organic farm on the Oxfordshire/Wiltshire border. She puts all that experience together in a Summerhall show full of tales and truths about the funeral industry, which is also part of this year’s Death on the Fringe. We caught up with Liz in between stops on her tour…
Who are you and what are you doing in Edinburgh?
I’m Liz Rothschild – performer, celebrant and burial manager and I am here to do my one woman show and unlock some more hidden stories.
Fringe first-timer or old hand?
Fifth time up here but have not been here for eight years so it feels a bit first hand because a lot has changed!
How and why did you take up running a burial ground?
I wanted to create a place where there could be a sense of community amongst the bereaved, where the cycles of nature could comfort us and we could all create the funerals that best suited us and those who had died.
But you’re also a performer too. What’s your performance background?
Yes. I trained at the Bristol Old Vic, with Dario Fo and Agosto Boal. I have always been interested in using theatre to change things. I worked for years in small scale touring and rep and have always loved working with a live audience in small intimate spaces telling untold stories or making silenced voices heard.
What was the spark that made you decide to do the show?
I wanted to find a way to share what I have learnt over the years with a wider audience than I can reach through my day job or my festival of living and dying in Oxford. I want to relate directly with people so a book or blog would not work for me.
What have the reactions been like to the piece?
Really just what I was hoping. I have been in conversations with audiences for hours when the opportunity arose – and the doors were not locked I promise you! Stories and questions come tumbling out, people call me and write to me afterwards expressing such relief that their story is welcome and their experiences recognised.
What are you looking forward to most about August?
Finding out what stories people choose to share with me, seeing other work that is exploring related territory and also seeing work that has nothing to do with death. I relish the chance to see performers from abroad. And going to the Farmer’s Market and Portobello Turkish bath.