First 2020 Fringe stand-up show to be staged at Three Sisters next week

Nathan Cassidy has become the first stand-up to confirm a live show at this year's Fringe.Nathan Cassidy has become the first stand-up to confirm a live show at this year's Fringe.
Nathan Cassidy has become the first stand-up to confirm a live show at this year's Fringe.
The first stand-up show has been confirmed for this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe – on the day live events are able to resume in Scotland after a five-month hiatus.

Nathan Cassidy is to stage a free hour-long show at The Three Sisters courtyard in the Cowgate at 5pm on Monday.

The Free Festival, which normally stages shows round-the-clock at the venue in August, had moved its shows online this year after all the city’s major events called off their planned programmes in April.

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The London-based comic, who will be seeking donations after the show, has been performing at the Fringe for the last 10 years and has made regular appearances at The Three Sisters as part of its annual line-up.

Free Festival director Alex Petty said: “From the outset of the Fringe cancelling, we were always keen to do something if it was safe for everyone, and if we were able to.

“Everyone, of course, is very keen to keep things safe as a priority - and The Three Sisters courtyard is an existing Fringe venue which can comply with all of the safety needed for outdoor gigs, with the venue already limiting capacity, spacing out seating and so on. The venue and its owners have been great in making sure everything is correct.

“It’s been difficult to think of doing things at a lot of our venues, as they are quite limited for outdoor space and many have none at all.

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"With the way bar businesses need to run at the moment, and quite rightly to keep staff and customers safe, every bit of space is needed to distance seating for general customers and staff as well to be able to keep the businesses viable, which is very important thing for them, us and the Fringe so we can return with shows in greater numbers next August.”

Cassidy will be travelling to Edinburgh from the Lake District, where he currently on holiday, to perform his solo show Observational, which charts a series of life-changing “magical” events which unfolded when he was laid up with a bad back and sought the help of a personal trainer, who convinced him to believe in “a higher power.”

He said: “I was hoping for a miracle and the personal trainer turned out to be that miracle – my cripplingly bad back was cured fairly quickly but more importantly it was the secret of happiness that he unlocked alongside the series of extraordinary events that happened in 2019 as I went on a spiritual journey with him, culminating in a truly magical moment.

"I’ve never really believed myself in a higher power, but after hearing what happened to me, I usually convert a few non-believers in the audience, and give them hope that if they are going through a hard time maybe it can be turned around.

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“It’s an uplifting story that I think is perfect for the mood right now. So when I saw that live performances could be possible from Monday I got in touch with Alex Petty and The Three Sisters who I have worked with a lot in the past, and where I was due to do a full run this year, and they were keen to support me.

"I’m very excited to be doing the show at the Fringe, I’d hate to miss a year. And to be the only show at the Fringe this year is a strange thrill and I guess a responsibility not to screw it up. I love the show though and love performing it.

“We’ve all been struggling over the last few months - I’m so happy that I can give people some laughs and maybe a bit of hope as we all emerge from lockdown.”

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