The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the performing arts industry worldwide, causing festivals such as the Edinburgh Festival Fringe to be cancelled. The impact this is having on the arts sector – now and in the future – cannot be understated enough. Fortunately, platforms such as the National Theatre of Scotland’s Scenes for Survival have provided a space for creatives to share their work while also raising money for various hardship funds for theatre workers hit hardest by the current crisis.
In a similar vein, theSpace UK have announced that they will be hosting their own virtual project: Online@theSpaceUK. Reaching out to companies and creatives that were scheduled to appear at the Fringe this year, theSpace UK asked them to create new and original work during lockdown. The response was overwhelming, and embracing that ‘the spirit that the show must go on’, this work will appear online for free throughout August.
Running from 8-30 August, theSpace UK will present 80 shows from a multitude of artists covering a wide range of topics. Every Saturday night, theSpace UK will play host to a live Fringe experience with multiple performances, while each day there will be an array of work ready for audiences to view at any time.
The online programme promises a variety of virtual content. Some of the shows produced are lockdown related with Putney Theatre Company’s Stranded tackling the mother-daughter bond during the age of lockdown with the backdrop of a gap-year adventure. So, this Virus walks into a Bar… sees comedian Jacob Hulland making out light of the lockdown situation from his kitchen table.
While some shows are free from such references. Seville-based, all-female flamenco group Brujas Flamenco present their new show Alegrías, filmed around the world and adapted for online viewing. Likewise, both offerings from The Nottingham New Theatre – Spring and Awakening (adaptations of Franz Wedekind’s controversial Spring Awakening) and A Children’s Tragedy – explore self-discovery and identity for adolescents.
Interspersed with this are several shows that represent the sort of fun, off-the-wall performances one would expect from the Fringe. The Complete Works Of Shakespeare*… *but just the Deaths (and the gory bits too) sees Cream Faced Loons taking the audience on a whistle-stop tour of every death in Shakespeare’s works, which is sure to provide a number of laughs. Acclaimed ‘mystery maestros’ Highly Suspect will offer the audience a chance to partake in an interactive online murder mystery with The Murder(ed) Musketeers, while Bubble Laboratory bring their lauded Bubble Show with Dr. Bubble and Milkshake to the proceedings, offering content for young audiences in the process.
While the Edinburgh Festival Fringe may be cancelled this year, theSpace UK’s virtual project will at least offer a great opportunity for artists and creators to showcase their work in a new, online capacity.
A full programme for Online@theSpaceUK can be found online here
Online@theSpaceUK will run from 8-30 August via theSpace UK’s YouTube channel