Edinburgh Festival Fringe walking play to take audiences to city’s lap dancing quarter

Edinburgh's "pubic triangle" is to get a starring role in a Fringe show which will take festivalgoers on an alternative tour of the city centre.

Monday, 26th July 2021, 4:55 am
The Burke and Hare lap dancing club will feature in the Fringe "walking play" Eavesdropping. Picture: Jon Savage

The city’s unofficial lapdancing quarter will be one of the key locations in a “walking audio play” which will also visit the site of an old meat market, a nightclub and a job centre.

Part of the Traverse Theatre’s Fringe programme, the promenade-style production is said to explore “who gets to define a city, who gets to be it's guide and who's story matters.”

Audiences for the play, which is being designed to be experienced individually via their own mobile phones or mobile handsets collected from the Traverse, will be taken to the currently locked-up Burke and Hare club during the show, which will be able to be downloaded from 20 August.

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Audiences will be able to experience the walking play Eavesdropping individually using their mobile phone or on mobile handsets which can be picked up at the Traverse Theatre.

The show is being developed by Manchester-based theatre company ThickSkin and the Traverse, with all the locations within walking distancing of the theatre, which is at the heart of Edinburgh’s cultural quarter.

Previous walking plays have been created by ThickSkin for Manchester and Huddlesfield.

The new Fringe production - which is aimed at encouraging audiences to "look differently at the rich tapestry of people you may walk past every day, whether you see them or not" – has been written by two Edinburgh-based playwrights Hannah Lavery and Sarah MacGillivray, and will be set to a soundtrack by composer Finn Anderson.

The four-strong cast will feature Scot Squad stars Julie Wilson Nimmo and Sally Reid, Saskia Ashdown, one of the stars of Lavery’s play Lament for Sheku Bayoh, which is being performed as part of the Edinburgh International Festival next month, and Rueben Joseph, whose previous theatre credits include Rapunzel and The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil.

Saskia Ashdown will be among the stars of the audio walking play Eavesdropping.

Starting and finishing at the Traverse, audiences will be taken on a circular route, passed both the Usher Hall and the Royal Lyceum Theatre before heading to Bread Street and the so-called “public triangle.”

Other locations include Tollcross fire station, the Union Canal, the Meadows and Edinburgh College of Art.

Linda Crooks, executive producer at the Traverse, said: “We can’t wait to continue our exploration of the different facets of Edinburgh, and bring to light people, places and events which we may never have come across before.

"Edinburgh has many stories still to share, and Eavesdropping gives audiences an exciting chance to get to know and appreciate the city afresh using new and innovative technology.

"We hope you will join us on the main roads and side streets to experience this immersive audio experience this summer.”

Director Jonnie Riordan said: “We’ve been developing the Walk This Play series throughout the year and it felt like the perfect project to bring to Edinburgh, a city with so many rich stories and wonderful places to be explored.

"We imagined it would be a different kind of festival this year, so an immersive audio experience via our Walk This Play app offers audiences a new way to experience theatre.

"With a smart phone and a set of headphones, they can take part any time they choose so it’s great for fitting in between the gaps of scheduled live shows and it’ll take them off the beaten track.”