INTERACTIVE FUN PLAY DAYS Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, postponed due to COVID-19 virus

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Throughout the year, Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre welcomes some of the world’s finest theatre, dance, music and film talent onto its stage. But for one week during the school Easter holidays, the experts in the room will be a whole lot smaller. Focusing on a different artform each day, Play Days will team up professional artists with young people aged 8–13 to create five brand new pieces of work. And although the five artists each specialise in drama, dance, music, clowning and film, it’s the young attendees who will be at the heart of the creative process.

‘Our aim for these sessions is to create confidence

in our participants,’ says Catrin Sheridan, learning and participation co-ordinator at Capital Theatres. ‘And for them to come away not only knowing they can make something from nothing in a short space of time, but that their voices are as important as the artist in the room. Which in practice means their ideas make up and steer the content of whatever is created each day.’ Costing just £10 for a full day, including lunch (with free places available for those who need them), each Play Day will culminate in a short sharing with family and friends. ‘Sessions will start with a welcome, warm-up and introduction to the artform,’ explains Sheridan. ‘Then after lunch we’ll start the devising process. There will always be something to share at the end of the day, be it a short stop- motion animation or a newly composed song; but we want to keep the atmosphere warm and relaxed, so it won’t be as formal as a show. And we hope having the different artforms will allow children to experience something they may have not tried before, and to expand their ideas of what they like to do.’ (Kelly Apter)


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DANCE DRAMA THE PROBLEM WITH PINK Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, postponed due to COVID-19 virus COMEDY MR FIBBERS & FRIENDS The Stand, Glasgow, postponed due to COVID-19 virus

Notions of what boys and girls should wear, play with, and do when they grow up have changed exponentially over the past few decades. But frustrating stereotypes still abound, prompting Canadian company Le Petit Théâtre de Sherbrooke to create The Problem With Pink, a dance drama for ages 6–12. ‘Things change slowly, too slowly according to us,’ says writer/director Érika

Tremblay-Roy. ‘The majority of what is currently proposed to children is still extremely gendered, and this goes way beyond toys and clothing. In 2020, boys and girls are still not brought up in a similar manner; society imposes and expects different behaviours from them. So, at the core of our project lies this question: do boys and girls truly feel free to express their tastes and choices? Do they really have the freedom to become the person they wish to be?’ The show follows four friends who are perfectly happy in their pink play space:

until they start to feel the heat of judgement from others. The company hopes it will get people talking and questioning their own thoughts and perceptions about gender.

‘The Problem With Pink gives children and adults material to start a discussion together,’ says Tremblay-Roy. ‘It opens doors that allow them to debate with their family and peers and look at their ideas, values, and the issues they deal with daily. Because the more we talk about these issues, the more we will evolve on this important topic.’ (Kelly Apter)

When Mr Fibbers was aged five, his gran gave him that moniker for all the funny stories he concocted purely for her entertainment. Many years later and he’s still at it. ‘Popcorn comes from unicorns and used to be called poop corn,’ he says, ‘but sales weren’t great so they changed the name. That is the absolute truth.’ Yeah, yeah, whatever. Still, such made-up nonsense goes down a storm with the smaller people Mr Fibbers performs for at his Back in Tune show, platforming his particular skills in musical comedy. He’s in town again minus his guitar this time, but joined by some comedy friends for a monthly Sunday show which promises ‘no sweary words or adult stuff, just a load of jokes and fun’.

So, who are the pals Fibbers has invited along to this Sunday afternoon extravaganza he’s hosting? ‘I’ve picked four of my bestest buddies to join me,’ he says. ‘Alana Duvey is an amazing drag queen who does ventriloquist lip-syncing with her puppet; Taryam Boyd has been on the circuit for a good couple of years now and has his own videos on BBC’s The Social; Neil Bratchpiece is just awesome and the kids are in for a treat; and Rachel “Hollywood” Jackson is one of my favourites: she’s starred in films with the likes of Karen Gillan and is an expert at comedy. Basically, I wanted to make sure the kids get a proper show. None of this “hi boys and girls” rubbish, just good comedy but without the naughty words.’ (Brian Donaldson)

1 Apr–31 May 2020 THE LIST 77