Death comes to the Fringe

Jul 31, 2018

Awdri Doyle, Funeral Director by Colin Gray

Funeral director Awdri Doyle by Colin Gray

Death on the Fringe, the charity-run initiative to get the world’s largest arts festival talking about death and dying, returns to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for its fifth year.

The mini-festival draws together shows and lectures within the Fringe that deal with the big issues of death, dying and bereavement. It is curated by Good Life Good Death Good Grief, an alliance of organisations and individuals working to make Scotland more open and supportive around death.

Death on the Fringe presents audiences with a wide variety of ways to engage with the topic, and aims to break down the fear and discomfort people have when confronted with it. Robert Peacock, Director of Death on the Fringe says: “There is no shortage of issues being talked about at the Fringe. But death is one we can all relate to.”

“The arts have never shied away from confronting the big themes; in fact, some might suggest all art is a response to mortality in some way. So, in these times when modern life and modern medicine has distanced us from traditional wisdom and community support around death, we think the arts is one way to reconnect us and help us understand what it means to be mortal.”

This year’s shows include And Before I Forget I Love You, I Love You, Pip Utton’s latest solo piece about the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s, and Dante or Die’s site-specific piece about the online legacies we leave, User Not Found.

There is dark comedy in Paige Jennifer Barr’s show Death, Dating and I Do, the tale of finding love again after the death of her husband, and there is a chance for the audience to participate in cookery in Making Room’s The Midnight Soup.

Vicar of Dibley writer Paul Mayhew-Archer talks about his experience with Parkinson’s in Incurable Optimist, while a funeral home sales agent has to face up to her own death in Gillian Skye’s Come Die With Us . Other shows look at organ donation (From One Heart To Another)r, and the loss of a child (Canoe).

The programme also includes three public lectures on the history of the Scottish funeral, a day in the life of a funeral director, and what it is like to be a death doula, giving practical, emotional and spiritual support at the end of life.

Death on the Fringe is also collaborating with Edinburgh International Book Festival, who are hosting It Takes A Village, a powerful portrait exhibition by Colin Gray and the Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care that shows that support at the end of life comes in many guises.

Death on the Fringe takes place across Edinburgh from 3 – 27 August with over 20 shows.  The full programme can be found on the website

For more information, contact Robert Peacock

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