Hibs play becomes first Fringe sell-out show of the year

The stars of the show, from left, Conor McLeod, Ellen Shand, Steve Small, Jacqueline Kelly, Hazel Irvine. Picture: Andrew O'Brien
The stars of the show, from left, Conor McLeod, Ellen Shand, Steve Small, Jacqueline Kelly, Hazel Irvine. Picture: Andrew O'Brien
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A PLAY charting the history of Hibernian Football Club is thought to be the first show at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe to sell out, more than a month before its first performance.

A Field of our Own is set to be performed in the concourse of the East Stand at Easter Road as part of the festival, with fans snapping up every ticket for its five-night run from August 15-20 before the end of July.

It’s an amazing feeling to learn it has sold out, it’s a project I’ve been very passionate about

Steve Small

The play follows the club’s founding fathers on their journey to the Capital from Ireland in the 1850s through to the formation of the club in 1875 and on to their initial success at the end of the 19th century.

It also tackles the themes of prejudice, integration and respect as the pioneering Hibees struggled for acceptance in their adopted homeland.

The production was commissioned by the GameChanger public social partnership – set up between the Club, the Hibernian Community Foundation and NHS Lothian in 2016 – in conjunction with Leith-based youth theatre company Strange Town.

Steve Small, director of the production and co-founder of Strange Town, said he was “delighted” with the high ticket sales.

However, the boyhood Hibs fan admitted he felt a “burden of responsibility” to capture the story of the club’s formation.

He said: “It’s an amazing feeling to learn it has sold out, it’s a project I’ve been very passionate about from day one.”

“As a Hibs fan, it’s something I’ve felt a bit of a responsibility for, to make sure this is the best possible representation of the history of the club.

“Obviously we can’t cover the entire history in an hour, but our performance closely follows a few of the key people who helped make Hibs what they are today.”

Mr Small also revealed he hopes to attract a different crowd to the production given its unique staging at the stadium, adding: “This is a production that touches on a lot of interests, both on the football pitch and off it.”

“Hopefully we can attract a few football fans in and give them a taste of theatre they may not otherwise get.”

The GameChanger Public Social Partnership was started in 2016 and aims to “harness the appeal of football to tackle health inequality and promote social justice”.

It has since launched a number of social initiatives including fitness classes for fans and a pioneering community health centre at the stadium ahead of the forthcoming 
football season.

A spokesman for Hibernian said: “We are delighted that A Field of Our Own has proven to be so popular with our supporters and those interested in the origins and early history of Hibernian Football Club.

“The run of shows promises to be entertaining for everyone in attendance, with Strange Town doing an excellent job with the script and production of the show, and we are already investigating the possibility of staging more of the shows in the near future.”