Hi. We’re Parachute Dance. And we’re going to put on a show!
A contemporary dance show. A show in Edinburgh. A Fringe show! A two-and-a-bit week run of a show, that mixes dance with physical theatre, that draws inspiration from the comedy and the tragedy of Joseph Heller’s Catch-22. Our first ever show!
So who are we?
Our choreographer and director is Róisín O’Brien (@roisintobrien), and all this is her idea. Róisín’s in her second year of a diploma in Dance Studies at Trinity Laban in London, having previously studied English Literature at Edinburgh Uni and Film Studies at UCL. She first started to think about putting on a Fringe show during her first year at Laban; but in 2015, she decided to make it happen.
Cut to a kitchen table in an Edinburgh flat, late 2015. Laura Jones (@laurafjones) and Aran Ward Sell (@aranws, typing this now) enthusiastically signed up to co-produce the show. We’ve all known each other for years, we’re all Edinburgh English Lit graduates, and you can read more about us on the ‘about‘ page (makes sense, right?). What’s most important to know is just how psyched we are for this. None of us have put on our own Fringe show before (though Róisín has worked with The Place and Booking Dance in previous years, Laura has flyered for Electric Talent and as a reviewer for ScreenGRAB magazine, and some of Aran’s poetry was set to music in the 2014 Fringe show ‘Spoken Spaces Sonic Traces‘). It’s fair to say we all love the Fringe; have wandered through more packed comedy tents and half-empty rooms above pubs and tourist-strewn Old Town streets than we could remember. Seen funny shows and sad shows and shows that made no sense (and were therefore terrible) and shows that made no sense (and were therefore wonderful) and loved being a part of it and wanted to be a part of it more.
Of course, you can’t make a dance show without dancers. We’ve got three-maybe-four dancers signed up just now; Róisín’s hoping for four to six in the finished show. As rehearsals start to happen and these amazing people have sweated and stretched Róisín’s vision into life, we’ll be putting a lot more posts about – and hopefully by – them online too. For now I just refer you to the ‘about‘ page again.
Like Laura says here: we’ll be asking for help.
It’s not easy putting on a Fringe show, especially without any kind of external funders or backing. Don’t get me wrong; we’re up for the challenge, and we’re sinking significant amounts of our own money into this. But for young people working part-time and freelance, alongside creative studies and projects which make no money at all, that means a lot of hard graft; because putting on a show isn’t cheap. We’ve put a deposit down on a venue (theSpace @ Venue 45; shout-out to theSpace team whilst we’re on the subject, they’ve been fantastically encouraging and informative), and the Fringe themselves require a fee to add the show to the programme. Then there’s flyers, marketing, website registration fees, PRS, and of course the money it actually takes for a dance troupe to sleep and eat in Edinburgh for a few weeks. The Guardian did a pretty good rundown on the financial difficulties of making a Fringe show last year.
So we’re going to launch a crowdfunding campaign (fairly) soon, in the hope of pulling our show a little closer to happening. Expect to hear plenty more updates on that in the months leading up to August; and also posts about the art of the dance itself, the inspirations behind it, and the kind of experience that Róisín and our dancers are actually going to create.
Thanks for reading. I know it’s so easy to let your eyes flicker past the closing paragraph that says LIKE SUBSCRIBE FOLLOW SHARE RETWEET – but we really would be delighted if you liked our Facebook page, followed us on Twitter (@Parachute_Dance, as well as our individual accounts linked above), subscribed to this blog (you can also read Róisín’s blog When Róisín Grows Up, which she’ll be updating with Parachute things soon, my blog Reasons to Remain, and Laura’s publishing blog Publishthings), and generally kept an eye on us and the work we’re doing. We really want to make an exciting piece of performance art; and we know there’s a lot of hard work to be done, but we really think we can. Please do stay tuned!