An Interview with Massimiliano Rossetti

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Massimiliano Rossetti

During their world tour, Lost In Translation are bringing some quality family fun to the Fringe

Hello Massimiliano, who are Lost In Translation, what is your role?
We are an international circus company creating both indoor and outdoor performances. We work with a tight-knit group of performers from Italy, France, Ireland and Australia. This results in accessible, multi-layered shows in which we combine circus with theatre, high level circus skills and music. And above all: great fun. I am a Performer and the Artistic Director of the Lost in Translation Circus.

You are a Guinness World Record holder – can you tell us about the experience?
My dear friend Roisin Morris and I are the Guinness World Records holders for the most somersaults on a Korean Cradle in one minute: that’s 14 somersaults! Each catch was to Roisin’s feet.

What does Massimiliano Rossetti like to do when ’s not being all circussy?
Well I’m always very circussy! My head never stops with creating new ideas and I spend lots of time with my circus family – performers from all over the world. I love to cook pasta for them… our late night spaghetti dinners are epic.


You’re bringing a new show to this year’s Edinburgh Fringe; can you tell us more?
Hotel Paradiso is an exciting and very funny circus show for all the family. The staff of a quirky hotel uses daring circus skills, physical comedy and theatre to thwart the dastardly Banker. You can expect a spirited story told through the means of high level circus and the theatre farce of comedy. This version of the show has specifically been created for the Spiegeltent. So this Spiegeltent version will be premiered during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival!

Where, when & why did the idea for Hotel Paradiso originate?
Hotel Paradiso came from an idea that we always wanted – that was representing a very simple narrative about one of the multiple sides of human condition. We found inspiration in books, films, but also in our own emotions and relationships. Last year the idea started to grow more and more – and in the past few months we worked really hard together to create a version of the show specifically for the Spiegeltent during this Festival.


How are you finding blending storytelling with circus – what are this particulatr theatrical hybrid’s chief strengths?
This show will appeal to a large range of circus and theatre audiences right across the age spectrum. Young children will love the quirky set, knockabout humour and bright costumes – while adults can relate to the storyline, subplots and deeper social themes of the show. Come and experience this crazy and colourful ride for yourself, it’s all in the mix!

What are your future plans beyond this show?
We’ve got many bookings and will be touring the rest of the world in the next months. On short notice all of us look forward to the Fly High Convention, 20-22 September. It’s the 4thtime we’ll be organising this big gathering in the gorgeous, over 500 year old church in Norwich – that is our home base. We’ll bring you a great line up of international coaches, plus a Late Night Cabaret and our beautiful food of course.

Hotel Paradiso

Aug 13-24 (12:10)

Underbelly Circus Hub


An Interview with Nicole Burgio


All the way from America comes circus with meaning…

Hello Nicole, first thing’s first, where are you from & where are you at, geographically speaking?
I was born in Staten Island, New York. Grew up in New Jersey. Live in Philadelphia. And am Currently in Edinburgh.


Can you tell us about your training?
I was introduced to Gymnastics at 3 yers old and continued to pursue the sport competitively until my matriculation at Temple University in Philadelphia, USA. Graduating university I left gymnastics and focused on getting my master degree in health psychology from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.  During my time at graduate school, the circus came to Philadelphia. I went. The next day I decided to go to circus school. I was accepted at the New England Center of Circus Arts were I majored in trapeze and minored in partner acrobatics. From there I did a 2 year residency in Montreal, Canada training with coaches from the Ecole National de Cirque. And now, I travel all around the world to share, teach, and create with other artists.

When did you first realise circus was your passion?
When I sat in the front row as a 23 year old. In that moment I felt art-less. I felt detached from my body. I missed moving and I missed sweating. I looked at the performers below me and I thought to myself “how incredibly beautiful”. It just seemed like the perfect fusion of art and sport.



Can you tell us about Almanac Dance Circus Theater?
Almanac Dance Circus theater in an ensemble based collective located in Philadelphia. We like to define ourselves as storytellers. Each one of Almanac’s members come from a different place of specialty: circus, theater, dance, clown, music, writing. We combine our forces and make something strong and beautiful.

What does your perfect Sunday afternoon look like?
Well… It has to be a sunny day. I want to wake up with a coffee and a chocolate muffin while I watch Shameless. Then I would like to laugh with my sister on the phone until she tells me she has to go to the bathroom so we have to hang up. Then, I would love to pick out a funky outfit…grab my partner.. and spend the day outside. Get lost in Philadelphia. Eat somewhere I never ate before… find friends randomly on the street… allow them to distract me into a new adventure. I would love to end my Sunday watching a movie and after walk around the block to exhaust whatever energy I have left. Then..Finally… hold my parter as we watch anime to fall asleep.

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You are bringing a piece called oxo moongirl to the Edinburgh Fringe Fringe, can you tell us about it?
Yes, I am bringing my solo show xoxo moongirl to Edinburgh. The show is a blend between a circus fantasia and my real life experience of growing up in a house with domestic violence. Ben Grinberg (director) and myself attempted to make an ugly story and a somewhat scary one.. into something beautiful…. in my opinion we did just that.

Moongirl is your co-creation with Ben Grinberg, who is also directing the piece – how did you & he meet?
After I graduation circus school I cam back to Philadelphia and taught a workshop at the Pig Iron School of Theater, where Ben was completing his final year of school. After Ben graduated he created a show called Communitas which included a ton of acrobatics… he ask if I would be the acrobatic consultant for the show.. I said yes… and never left.

What have been the creative processes behind xoxo moongirl, from inception to realisation?
I was in Mexico teaching and directing at one of Mexico Cities largest circus schools, Casa de Artes Circo Contemporanea, and I was spending a lot of time alone. I started to think maybe I could make a solo show…what story would I want to tell? I started to think in all sorts of images. I wanted flying dinner tables… eggs everywhere… red sweaters that unraveled.. mirrors.. and milk. I told Ben. He said “ok…. that seems like a lot”. We decided to get in the rehearsal room and play… And what came out… the story that was hiding in me… was the story about my messy family… about the abuse I saw… about how I love adventure…. about how I love story telling and sharing. and then… there was xoxo moongirl.

Domestic abuse is not a typical theme for circus, how has it been going down with audiences?
This was very scary for many reasons. I didn’t want people to feel bad for me or think “oh poor her”. I didn’t want to trigger those who have experiences violence or domestic abuse. And, I did’t want to seem callous or insensitive because the show involves a lot of clown and humor.  But, I am lucky. I have had the experience of talking to many audience members some who have had experience with abuse, some who have no relation to violence, some who have been in an identical situation to my mother. The feeling that I get from them is that I and my team have done a good job. People are messy. I am messy. The public seem to understand that and resonate with that message.  One thing that I hear from audiences is that circus is something that requires discipline, physical strength, courage in the face of fear. So on a basic level, circus is a pretty good metaphor for what it takes to overcome domestic abuse situations. Then I think we’ve done a pretty good job connecting specific circus apparatus with specific feelings and characters within the show, so that they don’t feel like they come out of nowhere, but are an integral part of the narrative. Handstands are a way of processing a traumatic moment, the silks become a world my mother enters when she is drunk and on ambien, and the trapeze is about transformation and a returning to the ground to face what needs to be faced.

You’ve got 20 seconds to sell xoxo moongirl on the streets of Edinburgh …
xoxo moongirl is a story about a girl, her experience with domestic violence, and her flight to the moon to escape and prevail. If you ever felt like an underdog or unheard… I think you should come…

xoxo moongirl

31 Jul – 25 Aug (19:50)

Assembly Checkpoint

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An Interview with Dance-Forms


Susana B. Williams has exemplified the majesty of human movement through the Royal Ballet’s principle dancer

Hello Matthew, first thing’s first, where are you from & where are you at, geographically speaking?
Matthew: I was born in Liverpool, England. At present, I work in London and when touring as it’s happening recently I have been in Los Angeles, California, USA, Tokyo, Japan and soon I will be at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Edinburgh, Scotland. All taking place in less than one month.

& you, Susana, where are you from & living today?
Susana: I was born in Guatemala City where I initiated my dance education at the National School of Dance of Guatemala. By marriage, and after residing for more than 36 years in the U.S.A. I became a U.S. citizen in 1999. My home is in Kentucky, USA.

Can you tell us about your training?
Matthew: I joined The Royal Ballet School aged 11 and graduated through the School with honors. Roles while astudent included Fritz (The Nutcracker) with The Royal Ballet. Awards as a student include at the School’s 2011 Lynn Seymour Competition, the 2009 Kenneth MacMillan Senior Choreographic Competition and the Gailene Stock and Gary Norman Award for Excellence. I joined the Royal Ballet during the 2013/14 Season, promoted to First Artist in 2015, Soloist in 2016, First Soloist in 2017 and Principal dancer in 2018. In 2016 I was named Best Emerging Artist at the Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards.

How does one become the principal dancer at The Royal Ballet?
I don’t think I could be the dancer that I am today without having been trained by extraordinary ballet masters at the Royal Ballet School and receiving superb attention and coaching at The Royal Ballet and other companies I dance for including Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures. My responsibility and commitment is to excellence when performing the work of acclaimed choreographers nationally and internationally. I’m fortunate to be surrounded by the quality of inspiring international dance-artists from all over the world.


Matthew Ball

You’ve got three famous dancers (dead or alive) coming round for dinner. Who would they be & what would you cook; starters, mains & dessert?
Matthew: I have to say that Johan Kobborg is someone I appreciate for his artistry and acting a lot, and the way he gets into roles. Of course, both Baryshnikov and Nureyev obviously, who I’ve watched hundreds of times on video. I will hire a chef and will look at his suggestions.

Susana, you have devised a piece called “My Accidental Departure” for a one-off performance at the Fringe, can you tell us about it?
Susana: The dance-theater piece “My Accidental Departure” honors the memory of my oldest son who at age 36 was in a fatal accident that took place in the early hours of a Summer day. To offer the audience the most perfected interpretation of the theme and utilizing my own movement idiom to express what I perceive as the stages of the accident I invited Matthew Ball a principal dancer at the Royal Ballet to collaborate with me performing the work.


Susana B. Williams

Where & when did you first meet Susana?
Matthew: I met Susana B.Williams thanks to an invitation I received from Dance-Forms Productions via the internet. I began communicating with Mrs.Williams on November 2, 2018. I was very flattered to have been selected to perform her new work “My Accidental Departure” to be presented as part of “Dance-Forms’ 76th International Choreographers’ Showcase” at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in exclusive performance on Monday, August 5, 2019 at the Emerald Theater/Greenside show starting at 9:20 A.M.

What compell’d you to pick Max Richter’s avant-garde update over the real thing?
Susana: After listening to various musical compositions the ideal choice for me was to synchronize Max Richter’s arrangement of Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons/Summer” to the choreography. The musical structure of “Summer” presents all the musical modalities and transitions I was looking for.

Dance-Forms will be delivering eight other distinct works by choreographers from across the world – is there an element of competition or is the event more a festival of ideas?
Susana: Exploring an unlimited range of creative ideas, “Dance-Forms’ 76th International Choreographers’ Showcase” delivers a solid line-up of superb choreography. The company will celebrate its 25th anniversary with a feast of stunning dance works by international choreographers in a program featuring original choreography by Frances Lai Baca, Cornelius Carter, Aylin Eleonora, David Justin, Mercede Kia, James Morrow, Kelley Schoger, Shoko Tamai. The element of competition is present, but above all is a wonderful celebration of the art form. The showcase will be presented in five performances at the Emerald Theater/Greenside Venues from August 5 through 9, 2019 at 9:20 A.M.

How are you finding working with Susana & her creation?
Matthew: I first became acquainted with Susana’s work watching a video of her acclaimed solo “Time And No Time” with music by Bahramji & Maneesh De Moor’s ‘Call Of The Mystic.’ The work was reviewed as a highlight of “Dance-Forms’ 75th International Choreographers’ Showcase” in Dancing Times Magazine. The solo was interpreted by Brandon Lawrence, principal dancer at the Birmingham Royal Ballet who I knew from our years at the Royal Ballet School. Working with Mrs.Williams is a delightful experience. I begin learning and rehearsing her choreography on August 1st. She’s synchronizing the work to Max Richter’s arrangement of Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons (Summer),” a musical composition I love.

How are you finding working with Matthew?
Susana: Working with Matthew means to me having the opportunity to present my work at the highest technical level. His extraordinary artistry as demonstrated in performances offered with the Royal Ballet and Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures will help make his performance of “My Accidental Departure” an unforgettable experience.

You’ve got 20 seconds to sell My Accidental Departure on the streets of Edinburgh…
Susana: A dance performance like no other with the cream of the crop of dance.

Dance-Forms’ 76th International Choreographers’ Showcase

Greenside Venue, Nicolson Square

August 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 (09:20)


An Interview with Sacha Copland

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From the genius that brought her Back of the Bus to the Fringe, comes a brand new & delicious tasting dance show

Hello Sacha, first thing’s first, where are you from & where are you at, geographically speaking?
I am from New Zealand, 2 islands shaped like a question mark at the bottom of the world. I grew up in a tiny village called Kirwee in the country in the South Island. there was a lot of space! I have just arrived in Edinburgh after premiering chocolate a week ago in Wellington. I have just been awarded the 2019-21 CNZ Choreographic Fellowship and I am about to go and rehearse on a bus (The Red Bus for Back of the Bus).

Can you tell us about your training?
I trained at the New Zealand School of Dance and I’m one of their ‘distinguished graduates.’ When we were training we danced all day every day except for Sunday.

How did you get into choreography?
Since I was a kid I have always been into trying to tell stories and express the mysteries of life through choreography. I made all the farmer boys in my class be in the first ever dance show I choreographed when I was 8.

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The cast of Chocolate

You’ve got three famous dancers (dead or alive) coming round for dinner. Who would they be & what would you cook; starters, mains & dessert?
Pina Bausch, Douglas Wright and Alain Patel. I would cook home made bread for the starter, mole for the main and chocolate tart for dessert, served with delicious wine and whisy and inspired by Java’s Artisan Series (RISE, In the Wine, The Creamery, Chocolate and……)

Can you tell us how Java Dance Company came about?
I just started making shows and then needed to establish Java formally because it just kept growing. My first ever show was called Espresso. In 2008 we made the hit Back of the Bus and we’re still performing it all over the world! It somehow always seemed inevitable.

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What are the creative processes behind actualising your show ideas?
We experiment a lot!!! The dancers sing, the musicians dance, we tell stories, we play games, we use text to improvise movement. For Chocolate we had a residency that included Mexican masterchef (with prizes and time limits), a cacao ceremony, importing a tiple (12 string guitar) from Colombia and lots of dancing!!! We worked as Chocolatiers for a day. We did an installation where we filled a room with cacao husks and the audience ept saying they felt like they were in a dream… it has all fed into CHOCOLATE!

Your Back of the Bus has gone down extremely well in recent Edinburgh Fringes, why do you think this was so?
I think people like unexpected things, they like travelling, they like being included. Back of the Bus sweeps the audience off their feet and it turns out people like being swept 0ff their feet!


You’re bringing something new to this year’s Edinburgh Fringe; can you tell us about it?
CHOCOLATE might just be my favourite of the 20 full length works I have created (I’m not that old I have just been on a rampage!). I love it when the audience taste Chocolate together, I love the huge transformation that happens in the work. It really captures both the bitter and the sweet of chocolate. Its high contrast. There’s beautiful dance and some post sugar rush grit. And melted chocolate is involved…. and chocolate cello, lush live music, dancers singing, the romance of chocolate, unbridled consumption, the ancient beauty of cacao. There’s a lot in there!


This is your latest work in the Artisan Series, can you tell us about the earlier productions & how does Chocolate fit into the same scheme?
Chocolate is the 4th of the Artisan Series! We started with Bread in RISE (and 40gs of flour fell slowly onto a dancer, honey poured over lovers, water gushed from walls and the audience mixed and kneaded it all). It was like the land before time. In the Wine was about Wine making and village politics and smelled delicious (Darchat Award for Best dance 2016), The Creamery explores mob mentality and warring neighbours. the audience wear cheese hats and its hilarious! Chocolate is the dessert and its more personal somehow. Its about what is closest to your heart and how insatiable our wants and desires are. And maybe there’s whisky still to come….

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Can you tell us about the creation of Chocolate’s physical stage?
It’s staged in the round at Assembly’s new venue The Bijou! The audience has to take their shoes off for the full experience. Cacao immersion. you’ll have to come to find out more!

You’ve got 20 seconds to sell Chocolate on the streets of Edinburgh, what do you say?
You get to taste Chocolate in the lushest ways you can imagine, live music, dancers who can dance, act, sing and play the charango, musicians who can dance and delicious Chocolate sponsored by Chocolate Tree and the Wellington Chocolate Factory!


Assembly Rooms

 Aug 1-24 (14:30)

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An Interview with Kevin Quantum

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The irrepressible & sorcerous talent that is Kevin Quantum is returning to the Fringe

Hello Kevin, so where ya at, geographically speaking?
I’m in Edinburgh, near the Botanic Gardens. Lovely part of the world.

When did you first realise you were, well, magical?
After being on a reality TV show. I was a physicist up until 12 years ago. Then I was plucked from obscurity to go on C4’s Faking It and found I had not just an aptitude but a love for being on stage. So I ceased the PhD and became a magician. Needless to say mummy was surprised.

You are a Guinness World Record Breaker, can you tell us about it?
Sure, like most of my work it was a collaboration, this time between myself and Royal Blind Charity here in Edinburgh. We brought 2000+ people together and I taught them a magic trick. The biggest magic lesson ever! It was so surreal.

What does Kevin Quantum like to do when he’s not being, well, magical?
I play in a tennis league, I compose music for guitar and bass, I spend time with my family. My daughter is 4 now and I love spending time with her. I have a huge family (mum is one of 9 kids and dad is one of 7 so lots of cousins, uncles, aunts etc ) and I’m one of 4 kids myself. We’re close and I really take the time to spend time with them. I love them all.

You know a good show when its happened, what are the special ingredients?
From the performer’s side, there are three things. 1) attention to detail. 2) Rehearsal. 3) Heart.

What does your perfect Sunday afternoon look like?
Well it’s definitely summer, and I’m somewhere warm but with a gentle breeze. And I have a scifi book and nothing on my to do list. That’s real magic.

Which corner of the planet has inspired you the most, & why?
This year Adelaide, I got so much from watching the shows at the Adelaide Fringe in February. And so many of my friends from the Antipodes are here this year! Check out Josh Glancy, Tom Walker, Zach and Viggo amazing acts. A wonderful city. I made friends and won awards and had sell out crowds. Kinda the perfect overseas tour. I’m not really one for the city-city tour circuit. It’s pretty tough moving every day somewhere new, so when a festival opportunity arrises then I’m well up for it. Edinburgh and Adelaide have lots in common, they both come alive during the fringe. I felt right at home.

What is it about being performing in front of other people that makes you tick?
The buzz. The adrenaline. It’s the best. With the magic/science thing I get to be an engineer when not performing building cool props and illusions.

You’re performing at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe; what are you bringing to the table?
This year it’s NEON FUTURE. A show that examines what the future is. With magic. And laughs. In it I examine our evolution using the only discipline able to illustrate our incredible possible futures, here, in the present: magic. Having spent half of my adult life studying physics and half magic, I explore the exotic space where science and magic meet.

What does the rest of 2019 hold in store for Kevin Quantum?
Moving house! And to be honest, not too much more. I’ll likely plan a tour and get on with other jobs when they come along 🙂

Neon Future

Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose

July 31 – Aug 26 (18:00)


An Interview with Aylin Eleonora

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When Flamenco touches your soul, all you can do is dance…

Hello Aylin, first things first, where are you from & where are you at, geographically speaking?
I consider myself a global citizen, I have Finnish and Turkish in me. I have lived in Finland, Australia, in the UK, was schooled in France and have been living in Spain for the last 16 years. I am located in the centre of Madrid, downtown, in La Latina.

When did you first realise you could dance?
I started with ballet and contemporary at 4, but I really got hooked when a friend told me about a Flamenco class in Seville. I had no knowledge of Flamenco whatsoever, and the level was too high for me, but somehow I felt I was getting it. That this is a language in which I could express myself and be understood.


How did you get into Flamenco?
My flatmate at university took me to a Flamenco concert at the Komedia in Brighton. From that moment I was enamoured. Although my approach, attitude and personality have changed, I am still on that path.

What is it about being performing in front of other people that makes you tick?
Before finding Flamenco I dreaded performing in public, but there is something honest, universal and captivating about Flamenco that gives me power and energy to dance in front of a public. Beautiful movement is also something that elevates me and I enjoy a lot watching ballet.

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Can you tell us about your training with the Flamenco masters?
I started my training in Andalusia, continued in Madrid where most of the professional Flamenco dancers have been training for decades, and completed my Masters at the Institute of the Arts Barcelona/Liverpool John Moores University, that offers a dance education with both UK and US influence. At the IAB I got to explore my creative practice got to explore my creative practice more in depth and got used to think through my dancing and dance my way out of troubles. Generally speaking I struggled finding a teacher that would guide me in a foreign land and culture and help me grow as a person, not just a dancer. However, I have taken classes with some excellent professionals and learnt from talented dancers. In Flamenco you also learn from musicians, and from having to perform with very little or no previous rehearsals with the group. When I traveled to Cuba and was invited to ballet events I learnt a lot about dance discipline and guts.

What does your perfect Sunday afternoon look like?
I often work on Sundays as well, but I enjoy winding down by listening to jazz and relaxing by the pool whenever possible.

You were in Edinburgh last year, with the Dance-forms 75th International Choreograper’s showcase, how did it go?
It was a very special experience participating in Susana B. Williams´showcase. I was lucky to get an excellent review from TheWeereview and get to work with some great professionals in the dance field. I am participating this year as well.

You’re performing at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe; what are you bringing to the table?
We try to create a moment on stage that is pure and elegant. You will see shapes, energy, forms and also feel the power and poetry of dance expression. You will also discover Raul´s musical universe that is very profound.

Where, when & how did the idea for VIVIR originate, & is the reality fulfilling your vision?
Originally it was a need for me to simplify, try to do a Flamenco performance with minimum elements. This show has been developing in the studios of Madrid, also inspired by the Mediterranean landscape, during the last 5 years. Singing, that is a central element of Flamenco, helps the dancer to grow on stage, and gives dramatic power to a performance – is not present in this show. Filling that void has been a challenge, but satisfying both personally and professionally.

You premiered VIVIR in Australia earlier this year, have you tweaked the show since?
After returning from Australia, I have taken ENSUEÑO FLAMENCO, another show in our repertoire, on tour to Finland, an ensemble featuring some of the top artists of the Madrid Flamenco scene. I have also given workshops in Ukraine, and been busy with pre-production. We performed excerpts of both shows at the Madrid Conservatory, and I´m taking VIVIR to Avignon for the month of July.

Can you tell us more about the non-traditional musical styles instruments Raul Mannola will be utilising?
In this show Raul plays the traditional nylon-string flamenco guitar, as well as steel-string acoustic guitar to provide a wider variety of sounds. He also uses the electronic tampura to get the Indian drone for some oriental flavoured improvisations. Come and get a taste!

What are your dreams or plans for the future?
I would love to work with a choreographer. Although ballet specialists might not like this, I want to include a number with pointe shoes in my repertoire, to give voice to the more fragile and lyrical side of me as a dancer.

You’ve got 20 seconds to sell the show to somebody in the street, what would you say?
I would dance a “llamada” or a “pataíta”. If you are not sure what it means, come and find out!

VIVIR: Flamenco Guitar & Dance 

C venues – C Aquila

Aug 10-18 (18:25)

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An Interview with Ty Jeffries

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Ty Jeffries has a widely adored diva alter-ego, & her name is Miss Hope Springs…

Hello Ty, first things first, where are you from & where are you at, geographically speaking?
I left the pandemonium of London’s Pimlico for sleepy Somerset about a year ago. It’s absolute bliss here! I live in the middle of nowhere. It’s so quiet. I can think, rehearse and write in peace.

Can you tell us about your famous father?
So, my late father was the British character actor, screenwriter and director Lionel Jeffries. He starred in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, with Dick Van Dyke, and made masses of movies in the UK, many with Peter Sellers, and films like Camelot with Vanessa Redgrave in Hollywood back in the 60s. He also wrote and directed the much loved classic family film The Railway Children.

Can you tell us about your training?
I was trained classically in piano, voice, composition and violin at the prestigious Purcell School of Music in London from the age of 13. It stood me in good stead.As well as my career thread, as my piano playing nightclub chanteuse alter-ego Miss Hope Springs, I also write and perform my own original classical piano music, which was very recently featured on BBC Radio 3 Essential Classics.

What is a ‘Gender Illusionist’ & how did you become one?
I sometimes even call what I do Gender Tromp L’Oeil. Anything but ‘drag’. I suppose I have always been fascinated by the Golden Age Hollywood movie stars of yesteryear, and I wanted to emulate the female artists of that era. I approach what I do as a character actor/actress. I’ve always been fascinated by transformation, the power of makeup and masks and how you can magically become someone else and access different parts of your personality. My transformation takes a good 2 hours before each show and, once I am fully Miss Hope Springs, I don’t even respond to my name Ty. He has left the building and Hope takes over.

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So, how did you get into ‘Gender Tromp L’oeil’?
I come to it from a love of showbiz and movie stars and old Hollywood musicals. Compared to other ‘drag acts’ my show is really not a drag act. It is theatre. And that is the thing I’ve been up against all along. There is a lot of prejudice in this country about drag. Not so in the USA, where it is perceived as an art form. Here you are battling the image of a ‘cock in a frock’ miming to Barbra Streisand in the back of a pub.

Can you tell us about Le Crazy Coqs & your role with them?
I was very lucky to be invited by Jeremy King and Chris Corbyn (OBEs) to open their new cabaret room Crazy Coqs in Piccadilly in 2012. It’s pure art deco and the most beautiful cabaret room in London, right smack in the heart of the West End, now possibly better known as Live at Zedel. I’m lucky enough to say that I have been resident there pretty much ever since. The programme, the room and the quality of what you get there is the best in the country.

What is it about being performing in front of other people that makes you tick?
I simply love the in-the-moment interaction with a live audience. They stimulate me. You are bouncing off each other like sparks. Sometimes you have to work a little harder to win them over but I always get there in the end. It’s like a brief but very intense love affair. There’s a lot of adrenalin involved. I compare it to an extreme sport. Some people like to do ironing as they jump out of an airplane at 10,000 feet…I perform live.

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Where & when did you get the idea for for Miss Hope Springs?
Listen, I’ve been writing songs since I was 7 years old. I had my first publishing deal at 16 and went on to be signed to Elton John’s Rocket music in the 80s. But, to be frank, I was getting nowhere fast. I was writing what were considered ‘old fashioned’ songs back then, suitable for Judy Garland, Peggy Lee, Lena Horne and to be honest no one was interested. Then along came the renaissance of ‘Vintage’ and suddenly my songs were considered classics, new standards. Well…Judy, Peggy and Lena are all kind of difficult to get in touch with these days, so I created my own diva, Miss Hope Springs, the never quite made it, down on her luck nightclub denizen. It’s been a wonderful roller-coaster ride ever since.

How has the character evolved since then?
Her look has evolved… although intrinsically the same. Just more her. She has developed an extremely rich and fully populated backstory (she now lives with her husband Irving and his ‘close’ hairdresser pal Carlos in a camper van in Dungeness). I suppose having played the part for 7 years now, I know her inside out. In fact it’s difficult to know where she ends and I begin…or is it the other way around?

Miss Hope Springs is performing at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe; what is she bringing to the table?
Whatever she’s bringing, she’s bringing it to the piano! Live, original vintage Vegas-style songs in an array of styles, from toe tapping showstoppers to heartrending ballads. She’s a lovable character who people really relate to. Her ‘Ritz to the pits’ story is one of thwarted ambitions and broken dreams. It’s a laugh a minute,plus a few moments of turn-on-a-dime pathos that have been known to bring tears.

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How important are your self-penned songs to show?
I created Hope as my muse. The songs are the reason she exists. Each one reveals another moment in her life, another thread, her hopes and aspirations, her ups and downs. They are closeups into her mind. It’s a universal story. I think that’s why people of all ages and persuasions relate to her so much. And you’ll go home humming a few of the songs, The Devil Made Me Do It and A Seedy Little Nightclub in Pigalle, amongst others, are famously ‘ear worms’. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Can you tell us about your famous fans?
I’ve been so lucky since I started to have had a glittering array of celebrities come to the show. From marvellous Miriam Margoyles who is truly a joy, and ravishing Rula Lenska who’s become a dear friend, to Marc Almond and Will Young, who’ve both been to catch the show a few times. Pete Waterman loves the songs, which with 22 number ones is a good sign. Oh! and The Pet Shop Boys and Frances Barber too…who, funnily enough, are on directly after my show in the ‘Bijou’ as part of the Assembly Rooms Edinburgh Fringe.

You’ve got 20 seconds to sell the show to somebody in the street, what would you say?
It’s without doubt the best show you will ever see in your life! Even though I say so myself (laughs)… If you want to be entertained to within an inch of your life, get your butt down to the Bijou and don’t forget it’s a chance to dress up in your sequins, boas and bling. Miss Hope Springs is a firm believer that MORE IS MORE!

Its Miss Hope Springs

Assembly Rooms

Aug 1-24 (20:20)

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An Interview with CTC Dance Company


Fresh, young & dynamic, CTC Dance Company are set to wow the Edinburgh Fringe. The Mumble caught up with three of the team…

Hello Christopher, can you tell us about your training?
Chris: Originally I started training more in acting and drama when I was in secondary school. I was introduced to Musical Theatre at Melton College in the Midlands studying my BTEC Diploma. This is when I explored the creativity and devising of work. It wasn’t until I started training at The Urdang Academy did I discover Dance. At this moment I fell in love with it and made sure that I was practising, rehearsing, and stretching all day, everyday. I studied in Jazz, Ballet, Tap, Commercial and Contemporary alongside Acting and Singing. I feel that training in all of these areas has really helped mould the way I perform and choreograph.

Hello Jac, can you tell us about your background in theatre?
Jac: I trained in Musical Theatre at Italia Conti Arts Centre and on graduating performed for a year, with my first contract being Romeo and Juliet at Shakespeare’s Globe. Having always written (Book and Lyrics) I put performing aside to focus on my writing and creative work and I set up O’Kody Arts which focuses on producing theatre with issues based on mental health and run outreach programmes across London to ensure arts training is accessible to all.

As a commercial performer, you have danced for several pop sensations; who has been the easiest to work with, & who has been the hardest?
Chris: The easiest artist to work with I would say was Fleur East. She was so lovely to all of the dancers and spoke to us all during rehearsals and before the show! She also was fine with us all asking for those Instagram selfies haha! The hardest haha! Well I wouldn’t say any has been hard to work with fortunately but the artist who just did her own thing was Rita Ora. She’s absolutely lovely but definitely did what she wanted to do!

Hello Denzel, you know a good show when its happened, what are the special ingredients?
Denzel: A show that also has the story at the heart of it, and is expressed in such a way that makes you question and challenge your own life choices.

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Jac O’Kody

You’ve got three famous dancers (dead or alive) coming round for dinner. Who would they be & what would you cook; starters, mains & dessert?
Jac: Alvin Ailey is just purely iconic and the music from his repertoire is just soul food in itself. I’d also invite Bob Fosse and Paula Abdul as they are my biggest inspirations as each have one of chronic health problems I have (Arthritis and RSD). I’d have to keep it real and treat them too a roast for a main and give them that British home food, with Borsch soup as a starter as I’m half Belarussian and for desert cheesecake. Always cheesecake.

You’re washed up on a desert island with an all-in-one solar powered DVD/TV combo & three films, what would they be?
Chris: What a question! My films would have to be: Coach Carter (Inspirational), The Matrix: Reloaded (Action) and Pocahontas (Disney).

What does your perfect Sunday afternoon look like?
Denzel: Ah for me it’s spending time with my family. A roast dinner at my mums or stew chicken and rice at my great grannies.


Can you tell us how ‘CTC CØMPANY’ came about?
Chris: CTC CØMPANY came about from working on my first short dance film called ‘Imperfections’. I asked a group of dancers who I knew and wanted to create something that was intimate and truthful as most of Concept videos I’ve created before have been more commercial based. As we were creating the movement within the studio, it felt like such a company vibe and from then I was like, I want to have a company. From creating in my truth I found that the style of the company is a mixture between; Contemporary, Jazz, Physical Theatre and Afro Beats. All layered with intention of movement.

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Denzel Westley–Sanderson

How did you get involved with ‘CTC CØMPANY?’
Denzel: I worked with Chris on Jesus Christ Superstar in 2017 and he asked me if I’d be interested in collaborating on a new idea. Flash forward a year and a half later, via a workshop, and now I’m so excited to being at the Fringe!

CTC has a growing reputation for reformulating the term ‘dance theatre,’ – why is that & what freshness are you bringing to the table?
Jac: The great thing about entire concept of ‘dance theatre’ is that their are no boundaries or limits to the different kinds of art forms you can integrate and establish into one singular piece of theatre. I think this is what makes it the natural style of IDENTITY as while it is movement based due to to being created by Christopher who specialises in movement the collaborative process of how the entire show was devised allowed space for peoples talents to contribute whether it be spoken word, music, singing, acting. There are plays, ballets and musicals and now there is Dance Theatre, its clever not greedy.

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You’re involved in a show at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe; can you tell us about it & what is your role?
Jac: I am Chris’s associate choreographer so I’m involved both behind the scenes and in rehearsals. Assisting Christopher in preparations before hand choreographically, being a second set of eyes in the room. I will also be Rehearsal Director when we go up to Fringe standing in for Christopher as he has another very exciting project going on! Can’t wait for you to hear about that one too!


Christopher Tendai

Where, when & how did the idea for Identity originate, & is the reality fulfilling your vision?
Chris: Identity came about when me and my director Denzel Westley-Sanderson met up in January 2018 and said let’s put on a show. Most weeks we would go for lunch at a cafe in Wood Green and discuss about what kind of show we wanted to make that came from a dance and theatre background. After a few months of devising we wanted to create something that could connect to an audience and inspire. From Imperfections we wanted to discover what moulds a persons Identity. Identity…. Boom! There was our title! In August 2018 we held a workshop week with 8 dancers and at the end showcased whatever we had to an audience. The feedback we had was so so positive and from then we knew we had something special that we wanted to share with the world. The reality of the show fulfilled my vision and then some! I can’t wait to share it with audiences at Edinburgh Fringe and help inspire others to be proud of their Identity and show them that they are powerful beyond measure.

You’ve got 20 seconds to sell Identity on the streets of Edinburgh, what do you say?
Denzel: Through the narrative of dance/movement and spoken word, if you have ever felt insecure, not good enough then we have a message for you and we want to share our journey of self-discovery with everyone.

What does the rest of 2019 hold in store for for ‘CTC CØMPANY?’
Jac: The rest of 2019 will be preparations and the start of our annual tour, all going well. So get down to watch the show and see what you think, we can’t wait to share it with the world!


Greenside @ Infirmary Street

Aug 12-17, 19-24 (16:10)

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Shirin Majd: Kooch

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The Edinburgh Fringe is all about talented performers, & there can be few in the city this August as talented as Shirin Majd & her ensemble

Hello Shirin, where are you from & where are you at, geographically speaking?
My background is Iranian but I’ve been living in Australia for the last 8 years.

Why the big move?
One of the reasons that I moved to Australia with my family is to become a solo singer, which I couldn’t be in Iran to perform publicly as a soloist. But I started my musical training and pursued my singing career in Iran.

Can you tell us about your training in the arts?
At age 10, I began learning classical guitar and then at age 17, I began studying classical singing and joined the choir of Tehran Symphony Orchestra. I went to Armenia to participate in Hasmik Hasagorchian classes and later attended summer courses at the prestigious Universitat Mozarteum Salzburg, studying with Professor Alessandra Althoff and Barbara Bonney. In 2010 I went on to study Opera and music at the Johann-Joseph Fux Konservatorium and at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz, Austria for one year. Since I moved to Australia, I continued my education in classical singing with Margaret Schindler and Lisa Gasteen. I graduated in Master of Music Performance (Classical Singing / Opera) and Master of Vocal Pedagogy at the Queensland Conservatorium. I’ve also completed Diploma of Sound Production.

Where did your appreciation of Jazz come from?
14 years ago in Iran my teacher gave me a new song called “Summertime” by George Gershwin from Porgy and Bess Opera. This is a popular song between classical and Jazz singers. I really loved it and I started listening to different version of the song. While digging, I came to Ella Fitzgerald’s version and then my appreciation of Jazz got stronger and continued till now.

What does your perfect Sunday afternoon look like?
In Australia, with the sunny and nice weather, I would like to be on the beach with my family, friends or alone; listening to lovely music and reading my book.

You’re performing at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe; what are you bringing to the table?
I am really excited about my performances in the Edinburgh Fringe. I will perform my new project called “Kooch”, a multi-art performance based on Folk songs (we chose these songs in different languages such as Farsi, Turkish, Spanish & English) which Mastaneh (composer and one of the creators) and I gathered them. I will sing in western classical style on jazz arrangements of folk music along with a dancer, videos and visual art. This will accompany us to interpret the meaning of the songs.


Can you describe some of the musical styles from Iran?
We have traditional style music (Dastgah and Magham), and singing folk music as well. However, these days like other countries the pop and fusion music have become more popular. Personally I like fusion music based on Folk or traditional Dastgah.

What is the cultural landscape of Iran in 2019 – are women more readily accepted there as performers there?
In my last visit 5 years ago, I noticed that women are more involved in the music industry compared to the time I left Iran but since the government rules are still against women’s freedom to sing solo or play instruments, the government can ban musicians from performing. Iranian women are always active and they are fighting against the rules, which restrict their freedom as a human being.

Who are you collaborating with & what are their roles?
Sydney Cabioc is my Show Manager for these performances, and Mastaneh Nazarian is the composer of Kooch project. Iraya Noble (dancer) and Douglas Kemp (guitar bass) are our Edinburgh-based guest performers joining Sweet Sound Ensemble, along with Saxophone, Guitar Electric and Percussion. I will also introduce my next project and music in this performance which are composed by Mahyar Alizadeh and Basir Faghih Nasiri.

What is, would you say, the quintessence of Nazarian’s creativity?
I have been working with her for more than 3 years now. I think she is really creative and she has this ability to explore her feelings in her compositions and arrangements. She captures a unique and personal narrative style.


You know a good show when it happens, what are the special ingredients?
I think the special ingredient for a good show is a good artistic idea, which can have a perfect impact on the audience and engage different art forms to achieve a better result. Then, I’d develop that idea by working with a professional crew whom have similar contemplations. As an Artistic Director/Singer, I am always looking for opportunities to collaborate across cultures with exceptional artists from Australia and abroad. I believe in the energy of teamwork.

You’ve got 20 seconds to sell your show on the streets of Edinburgh, what do you say?
What is “home” for you? Come to the show, Kooch, and hear Shirin Majd and her ensemble perform a special and beautiful arrangement of folk songs from around the world. Enjoy a fusion of opera, dance, jazz, and visual arts presented in traditional and new songs from the Farsi, Turkish, Spanish and English languages. Enjoy an evening of travelling the world without leaving the excitement and comfort of the Edinburgh Fringe!

What does the rest of 2019 hold in store for Shirin Majd?
I will have a tour around Australia in October and November of the Kooch project, which is really exciting. I will publish my new Album, “Secret,” by the end of 2019 which is in two languages, Farsi and English.


Paradise in Augustines

Aug 19-20 (19:20)

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An Interview with Mandy Muden


Blending the magic of comedy & the comedy of magic, Mandy Muden is ready to wow the Edinburgh Fringe…

Hello Mandy, where are you from & where are you at, geographically speaking?

When did you first realise you were, well, magical?
4 years old. I got a doll and my brother got a magic set for Christmas. I wanted the magic set he wanted the doll.

Can you tell us about your training?
I was privileged to be mentored by the legendary Pat Page and comedy clubs. Also I just worked as hard as I could.

Can you tell us about your experience on last year’s Britain’s Got Talent?
I just loved it. There are all sorts of nonsense saying ti is fixed, I didn’t feel that at all. I had a ball.

Has BGT changed your life?
I’m a lot busier.

You’ve been on TV quite as bit – which appearances do you like to watch back the most?
I don’t watch any back. I can’t bear to see myself on TV

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You’ve got three famous entertainers (dead or alive) coming round for dinner. Who would they be & what would you cook; starters, mains & dessert?
Bette Milder, Joan Rivers and the amazing Jonathan. I would probably just get in a couple of crates and something herbal to smoke.

What are the creative processes behind writing your material?
Just sit down and write. I find it very hard but that is the only way.

What is it about being performing in front of other people that makes you tick?
Its the only place I can relax. Because you can’t think about anything else.

You’re performing at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe; can you tell us about the show?
It will be comedy and magic. I just want people to have a good laugh

How do you find blending the two pillars of your style; magic & comedy – is it a fine art?
I find most things funny. I really find it hard to take anything seriously.

You’ve got 20 seconds to sell your show on the streets of Edinburgh, what do you say?
Come and have a laugh and see some magic.

Mandy Muden is Not the Invisible Woman

Gilded Balloon Teviot

July 31-Aug 26 (16:00)

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