Earlier this Summer, Seemia Theatre took a show to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for their first time, and what an incredible experience it was. As many know who have done it before it’s a bombardment of the senses, with lots of choice for audiences and countless other performers, how do you stand out from the crowd?
It wasn’t an easy decision to take our show to Edinburgh. For starters it’s a big financial commitment for the company, funding everything themselves and it proves tricky scheduling all six company members time off together, not only for the two weeks in Edinburgh itself but rehearsals beforehand. But the drive to perform together, our love for the show and the opportunity to collaborate with Rose Bruford to present our play in the fantastic Upper Church at Summerhall won us over.
With a bunch of beautiful folk songs in our show, Evros | The Crossing River, we decided to take to the streets and sing, giving people a flavour of the performance. Some days we sung in the rain to little success - but on a sunny day - people would flock around us with smiles on their faces. We even had the owner of Summerhall fall in love with our music and what he calls our “angelic voices.”
Evrosis quite an intense show devised from stories from the Refugee crisis, and many of those stories featured are true. It was quite a beautiful thing to see how touched our audience was by the plight of our characters, highlighting the compassion people have for the cause. Some of the most touching moments for me were in the bar afterwards hearing from the audience about how the piece spoke to their hearts and how our songs ‘immersed them in a big hug when they most needed it’. A top tip I found this year, when working on such an intense show, physically and emotionally, was to not only find time for a long warm up, but a little time post show to come back to centre. For me, walking through the beautiful meadows home, stretching my body out and allowing time for a short meditation did the trick.
Overall, Edinburgh was a resounding success. We were nominated for Amnesty International’s Freedom of Expression Award and raised a good amount of money for the Refugee Survival Trust who we were supporting. It was a total surprise to us when we were presented with Summerhall’s Lustrum Award during the curtain bow of one of our performance’s. I couldn’t quite hold myself together and managed to cry all the way through a thank you! It was an honour to be recognised by Summerhall for one of the festivals ‘Greatest Theatre Moments’.
The icing on the cake came on our return when we were approached by the Arcola Theatre for a two night run in their main house, October 19th& 20th. We do hope to see you there! You can get tickets here:
Here’s what other performers in Seemia Theatre had to say about their experience:
“Edinburgh for me was about concentration and focus! The two weeks we were at the festival were all about our show and us, as a company and devisers of Evros.
As all members of our company have a second job to earn their living, we rarely get the chance to dedicate all our time and energy to Seemia. Edinburgh festival was a wonderful opportunity to think about nothing other than theatre. As well as performing our longest run yet, we got the chance to see plenty of other work and place our show, and ourselves, amongst other theatre companies and styles currently working in the UK.”
“Edinburgh is a fantastic opportunity to grow as a company, sharing not just the performances but the flat, the flyering, the mounds of food we cooked together! Performing our work every day meant I discovered new things in myself and the piece, enriching our show a little nugget at a time.”
“Edinburgh was a great avenue for us to explore the theatre industry, thriving as it does at the festival in August. This instilled in us a greater confidence in ourselves and the ability to continue to grow as a theatre company, not only in Edinburgh but internationally.”