Twelve-year-old Edinburgh schoolgirl Amelia Tuck is preparing for her professional acting debut in the title role of a world-premiere Edinburgh Fringe production.
She plays eponymous Dandelion in an immersive physical theatre piece by Creative Electric which addresses dislocation and isolation among children from forces families.
Writer and director Heather Marshall created the piece after extensive research.
She said: “Many forces children move around a great deal and, when asked, can’t identify somewhere that they feel is ‘home’.
“The play was created after interviews with children from Army families around Edinburgh and elsewhere in the UK.
“It addresses issues of dislocation’ isolation and loneliness – but while it is specifically about Army families, it applies far more widely across society, especially after what’s happened over the last 18 months.”
Creative Electric, a multi award-winning Leith-based company that specialises in accessible socio-political performance and live art, originally became involved with Army@TheFringe in 2018 as an act of protest against the military.
Since then they have been involved in a series of projects that have asked serious questions about issues including the role and experience of LGBTQI people in the Army.
Heather added: “As someone who is critical of the Army and what it does, it’s exciting to be invited back to challenge them once again.”
The research for Dandelion delved into issues like access to schooling and education, and the many different attitudes of young people towards their parents’ career – which can range from wanting to go into the forces themselves to complete opposition to the Army.
Set in a garden utopia in the middle of a city, a place to escape from digital overload, it takes the form of a two hander which follows the story of Dandelion and her older sister Lisa.
Amelia said: “What’s been most exciting is how much I’ve got to put into the play. I thought I’d just be given a script but I’ve been part of the devising process and have been able to share my ideas and say what I think is important to go in the show.
It feels like a big responsibility because we want to make sure we tell peoples stories properly.
“It’s been amazing and I can’t wait to show people what we’ve made.”
Dandelion is a relaxed in-person production, specially designed so the audience can move around and view it from many different angles.
It is for small, intimate audiences of no more than 20, who will wear specially provided – and carefully sanitised – headphones.
Discounted group bookings are being made available to community groups.
Army@TheFringe looks forward to welcoming audiences back inside the historic Hepburn House drill hall in Edinburgh’s New Town. The venue, in East Claremont Street, is being adapted to create a COVID-safe environment.
- Tickets are available from Edfringe.com or www.armyatthefringe.org.
- Picture by Colin Hattersley.
– Ends –
Dandelion Listings details
For more about Creative Electric see https://www.creative-electric.org
Writer/Director: Heather Marshall
Cast: Amelia Tuck (Dandelion), Rosalind McAndrew (Lisa)
- Show title: Dandelion
- Category: Theatre
- Venue: Army@TheFringe, Hepburn House Reserve Centre on East Claremont Street. Venue 358.
- Time: 1615 and 1815
- Dates: 10-15 August (community preview 10 August)
- Duration: 40 minutes
- Ticket prices: £5
- Box office contact details: https://www.armyatthefringe.org or https://www.edfringe.com
- Suitability: 5+
- First review date: 11 August
The Trick That Fooled – Kevin Quantum: A magic show inspired by tricks that fooled the smartest and most creative people ever to have lived. Exploring themes of wonder and escapism, the show travels back in time and experience recreating tricks that fooled Einstein, Abraham Lincoln, Marie Curie and others. The show culminates with the trick that fooled the Nazis, when British magician Maskeleyne assisted the British forces to fool German commander Rommel during WW2 – apparently conjuring a tank battalion from thin air. 6-8 Aug, 1800; 10-22 Aug (not Mondays), 2015.
Tickbox – Lubna Kerr: A one woman storytelling show about identity from comedian and actress Lubna Kerr. Inspired by her parents journey from Pakistan to Scotland in the late 1960s, when her father came to do a PhD in Chemistry, the show explores Lubna’s mum’s life intertwined with her own growing up in Scotland. 17-22 Aug, 1800.
Tunnels – Further Theatre: A new play about two cousins attempting to tunnel their way to freedom at the height of the Cold War in East Germany. Based on accounts of escape stories from the Eastern Bloc, the play deals with life in a surveillance state. Featuring live music with some performances streamed from Hepburn House’s rifle range. Supported by Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch. 6-22 Aug (not Mondays), 1600.
Punch, with Johnny – The Arts Enigma: The story of two unlikely heroes from the slums of The Gorbals. Two “hard men” – both outcasts, winning the war and losing their freedom in the process … blow, by blow … Benny Lynch, World Flyweight Boxing Champion and “Gentleman” Johnny Ramensky, the infamous safe blower, meet in a prison cell. Benny – drunk and disorderly and detained for breach of the peace. Johnny – detained for burglary and breaking in. Two “Champions of the People” at war in life and love – both in search of victory, vindication and peace of mind when they confront their enemies … themselves. 20-22 Aug, 1400.
The Mind Is The Frontline – Rosie Kay: A series of conversations hosted by Rosie Kay (founder and artistic director of the Rosie Kay Dance Company) bringing together artists, thinkers, writers and academics along with experts from the military and security as well as young people in cyber security. These events provide a platform to think, talk and question where we are now, what value we place on our so called ‘civilisation’ and where we are going in the future. Following on from her series of podcasts, The Future Proof Artist, these talks are for the curious and the questioning. 10-11 Aug, various times.
Live @ The Drill Hall: A series of variety events hosted by Mark McKenzie, featuring an Army musician house band and a rotating line-up of comedy, theatre and provocation. Taking place across the launch weekend of the festival, Live @ The Drill Hall offers an evening of variety to celebrate the return of live entertainment. 6-7 Aug, 2015.
Notes for editors
- Army@TheFringe was established to present a diverse programme of performances that tell stories of life in and out of uniform.
- It normally takes place at Hepburn House, an historic Army drill hall in Edinburgh’s New Town, which offers a variety of performance spaces.
- See www.armyatthefringe.org.
Shows from past years
Army@TheFringe has a track record of presenting bold, high quality, independently produced performance art. Highlights last year included:
- Dead Equal: All-female opera performed by three world-class sopranos telling the forgotten true story of Flora Sandes, heroine of the Allied frontline in World War I.
- The Happiness Project: Queer theatre looking at the need for non-sexual physical contact in a digital age.
- Unicorns, Almost: Owen Sheers’ play about the poet Keith Douglas and his Faustian pact with war. Initially as an audio experience and then as a live performance.
The 2018 dance theatre production The Troth, from the Akademi, (★★★★★ Broadway Baby, ★★★★ Herald) won Herald Angel and Lustrum awards with its portrayal of the experiences of South Asian soldiers on the Western Front in World War I.
In 2017 5 Soldiers, from the Rosie Kay Dance Company, achieved huge critical acclaim with a string of ★★★★ and ★★★★★ reviews and went on to enjoy major national and international success.
For media information about Army@TheFringe contact Matthew Shelley at SFPR on 07786704299 or Matthew@ScottishFestivalsPR.Org.