Edinburgh Fringe Festival: LGBTQIA+ performers to stay at disused nuclear bunker
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Barnton Bunker, which is situated off Queensferry Road, behind Edinburgh Zoo, was built in 1944 and, in 1951, was commissioned as a Cold War shelter for the UK government and the Queen in the event of a nuclear attack. Decomissioned in 1955 it will now play host to a group of performers including queens of a different variety.
The company of LGBTQIA+ comedy group Alphabet Soup, which performs daily from August 4-27 at Le Monde Hotel’s Shanghai Night, will be living in caravans on the Barnton Bunker site throughout the festival.
Seven Graham, stage name 7G, the Alphabet Soup co-creator and camp leader said: “When I discovered that it would be £30-£35,000 to rent a house for the month for the performers of Alphabet Soup, I thought that we would not be able to premiere our brand new LGBTQIA+ extravaganza at the Fringe. Then a West Hollywood gay friend told me that he was volunteering throughout the month of August to help restore Barnton Nuclear bunker to its WWII glory.
"As we LGBTQiA+ feel we’re in a war for our human rights right now, staying at a nuclear bunker feels like a good shout. So we met with Ben Mitchell, whose family are raising £5 million to restore the facility for visitors, to tell him we were in. Not only are we building an Alphabet Soup Glamping camp site at a fraction of the cost of a house, we are also helping Ben raise the profile of his good work at the same time as planning our campaign to Love Bomb the hatred of those who seek to oppress us.”
Alyssa Poteet , co-creator and fellow camp leader, added: "From the most right-wing of red states all the way to our home of Los Angeles, California, you can feel the rise of LGBTQIA+ hostility growing in America. This concerningly well-organised and extraordinarily funded culture war is being seeded in our courthouses and legislatures and seeping into and infecting the hearts of US citizens.
"As we gear up to make our presence known and provide a new narrative about LGBTQUI+ in the wake of all these blows against us, it's fitting that we must seek refuge in a war bunker as we fight our fight. Some may lie down at this obstacle - we're toasting marshmallows and breathing in the fresh Scottish air.”
A spokesperson for The Barnton Bunker Preservation Society said: “We are delighted to partner with the talented team behind Alphabet Soup and welcome them to Barnton Bunker. By joining forces, we aim to raise the profile of Barnton Bunker and its restoration efforts, while at the same time giving the Alphabet Soup team a safe, secure, and affordable solution to their accommodation issues during their stay at the Festival.
"We extend our warmest thanks to Alphabet Soup, the LGBTQiA+ community and their entire team for their dedication, creativity, and commitment to making a positive impact. Together, we can transform Barnton Bunker into a unique destination that celebrates history, creativity, and the power of collaboration.”