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Underbelly Untapped: meet our companies

8th Jun 2016

This year, Underbelly are supporting 4 fantastic pieces of new writing through Underbelly Untapped. As part of this programme, Underbelly have selected four shows who will receive support, advice and mentoring from Underbelly to help present, produce, promote and market their shows in Edinburgh in the most successful way. We spoke to the four companies who told us a bit more about their shows and being part of the season:

Be Prepared by Ian Bonar

Be Prepared is the debut play from actor and writer Ian Bonar. It has been developed with director Rob Watt at The RSC's studio theatre The Other Place, and is now presented by The Corner Shop Events, with lighting design by Elliot Griggs and sound design by Alex Crispin.

Ian’s narrative is a personal one about grief and loss, unexpectedly funny in places but nonetheless poignant. It is partly based on a memoir that his grandfather wrote as an old man, whilst in the grip of dementia. Ian came across the manuscript after his own father’s death, and was fascinated by the idea of someone desperately trying to tell his life story but being unable to find the words.

Be Prepared will be performed by Ian himself, whose acting credits include Arden of Faversham and The Witch of Edmonton (RSC Swan), DNA and The Miracle (National Theatre), Black Mirror, Spectre and Skyfall. He will soon be seen in the BBC’s New Blood and Mozart biopic Interlude in Prague.

Our team is delighted to be part of the Underbelly Untapped season. We look forward to having such a strong support network in Edinburgh, and learning from the work of the other featured companies.

Blush by Charlotte Josephine

Snuff Box Theatre is a collective of theatre-makers thriving on guts, grit and heart to create bold new theatre work. We’re returning as a company to produce Charlotte Josephine’s third full-length show, BLUSH, following the award-winning BITCH BOXER, which played at Underbelly in 2012.

BLUSH was written in response to the recent legislation passed to make revenge pornography a criminal act. Whilst revenge porn was the catalyst for the play, the true focus of the work is shame. BLUSH is a fast-paced angry and honest two-hander that explores where our desire to shame others comes from. Looking at the unwritten rules of gender-related responsibility; what we think it means to ‘be a man/woman’ today, and then in turn how the shame we feel at ‘not measuring up’ can spill out sideways into acts of violence.

Being part of the Underbelly Untapped season allows us to return to the same space that we performed BITCH BOXER in. BLUSH gives us the opportunity to build on the conversation about gender roles that our show WEALD started earlier this year. BLUSH feels at home with Underbelly, and we’re looking forward to seeing how audiences connect with the work.

Joan by Lucy J Skilbeck

Milk Presents make theatre that is a protest. It is also a celebration. You know that sticky, messed-up, extraordinary and ambigous thing called gender? Our work is often about that. 'Theatre that flies in the face of convention' The Stage.

For JOAN we have teamed up with drag king champion Lucy Jane Parkinson, combining her quick wit and cabaret prowess with our lyrical new writing.

All the way from Domremy, France via Orleans, Paris and Soho, JOAN is a show that’s been 600 years in the making!

It’s the earthy story of Joan of Arc – possibly the world's first drag king - retold as a bold exploration of identity. Packed with guts, heart and some ingeniously packed cous-cous, this is an intimate but raucous solo show of courage, conviction, hope, survival and love.

We’re delighted to be supported by Underbelly Untapped at the fringe this year. It’s important that new work is championed and we also couldn’t be in better company! We’ve bought our previous shows to Underbelly so it’s really brilliant to return with their support.

Nicole Henriksen is Makin It Rain by Nicole Henriksen

Nicole Henriksen is an Australian award-nominated independent festival performer, writer, and producer. Since 2011, Nicole has been on the road, honing and touring her unique solo works to festivals around Australia and the UK.

Those unique shows have been alternative comedy, until this year, when Nicole branched out to present a debut theatre piece as well. That theatre debut is Nicole Henriksen is Makin It Rain, an autobiographical tale of Nicole's experiences as a stripper to fund her filthy and shameful performing arts addiction. Makin It Rain is a raw and compelling look behind the scenes of life as a high class tease, as well as discussing the gender, sexuality, and image concepts at the core of the sex work industry, and our society as a whole.

Makin It Rain has toured multiple festivals around Australia, to sold out crowds, gaining rave reviews and an award nomination for Best Theatre at Perth's Fringe World Festival. And it was during this Australian tour that Makin It Rain was offered a place in the Underbelly Untapped season, an amazing and unparalleled opportunity for emerging and independent artists, and among intimidatingly good company in the three other Untapped shows.

Browse our full programme for Edinburgh Fringe 2016 here.

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