Celebrate Bilingualism & Languages at Edinburgh Fringe

The largest arts festival in the world is kicking off this weekend here in Edinburgh!

We’re excited that two of our directors at Bilingualism Matters have fantastic shows as part of the Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas that will challenge some commonly held notions about languages in modern society. Catch Antonella Sorace on 14th August ‘In Praise of Useless Languages‘ and Thomas Bak on 23rd August, ‘Is Monolingualism Making Us Ill?’.

For those of you looking for even more language treats, we’ve also been through the Fringe Programme in search of more shows that aim to celebrate languages and bilingualism, although be aware that inclusion doesn’t imply endorsement – so take a chance or check reviews!

Use the hashtag #bilingualfringe17 on Twitter to make more recommendations!

Lost in Translation: A Bilingual Journey (Aug 4-6, 8-13, 16-21, 23-28 at 16:00)
What happens in the mind of a bilingual person? Lose yourself in a joyful and intimate journey celebrating languages, cliches and pop culture. Interactive and thought-provoking: a performance like no other, pushing and questioning both theatrical and European frontiers.

The Wonderful World of Lapin (Aug 3-15, 19-20, 26-27 at 10:30)
Tania has just arrived from Paris for a very special occasion: The World’s Tastiest Carrot competition! In her leather trunk, she carries her very own garden, from which a whole world is revealed… A world of Tania’s animal friends, each of them desperate for a taste of her prize carrot… The Wonderful World of Lapin! Narrated in English with French sentences from the puppets, the show is a fun and heart-warming bilingual piece of theatre, with a big surprise ending. Accessible to all non-French speakers. Made with the support of Creative Scotland.

Making a Signbank Withdrawal (Aug 4 at 13:50)
Jordan Fenlon and Andy Carmichael (Heriot-Watt University) take a light-hearted look at the British Sign Language (BSL) Signbank – the online repository based on the BSL Corpus. Loosely inspired by the TV show Pointless, they’ll keep each other in check while taking the audience on a slightly naughty, irreverent but evidence-based and informative tour of the many vaults contained within the Signbank. Double entendres will abound, alongside puns, riddles and politically incorrect signs as the pair elucidate the linguistic wonders of the UK’s beautiful, iconic, indigenous language. This performance will be interpreted in BSL and English.

Caldicot Male Voice Choir (Aug 27 at 19:00)
Formed in 1963 by steelworkers in Llanwern, the Eisteddfod-winning choir has since travelled both in the UK and abroad, delighting audiences with their wide repertoire of songs sung in Welsh, English, German and Italian.

Ariadne auf Naxos (Aug 17-20 at 19:00)
VoiceArc are excited to return to the Fringe with their new production of R Strauss’ wonderful opera Ariadne auf Naxos. Our re-working is set in a small-town Scottish church about to be demolished the next day. The rival opera and drama groups have been double-booked to give the last night entertainment. They have no choice but to work together as neither will give way. Will it be wigs at ten paces between the prima-donna and the comedienne? Will sparks and costume jewellery fly? Join us to find out! Sung in German with Scots surtitles.

Katie Macfarlane (Aug 25 at 22:00)
Katie is a Gaelic and Scots singer from Airdrie who is greatly influenced by her connections to North Uist in the Outer Hebrides. She has had a passion for Gaelic and Scots song all her life and has been a semi-finalist in both BBC Radio Scotland’s Young Traditional Musician and BBC Radio 2’s Young Folk Award competitions. Accompanied by Chris Gray on piano, Katie’s performance ranges from folk and traditional to self-penned songs.

Celtic Sanctus (Aug 8 at 20:30)
Although the world becomes ever smaller, big questions about our existence and purpose remain. In a global society increasingly dominated by technology, a spiritual hunger endures. In this new work, Peter D Robinson – MTM:UK nominee for best composer on the Fringe, 2007 for Sailing to Tomorrow – combines ancient liturgical text in Latin and English with ancient and modern Gaelic, mixing the Christian and Pagan in a compelling and distinctly Scottish message of one music, one God. Carpe Diem Productions continue their tradition of bringing powerful new music to the Fringe.

Mimi’s Suitcase  (Aug 14-19, 21-26, times vary)
Mimi’s Suitcase explores identity and the consequences of displacement as it follows Iranian teen Mimi’s involuntary return to her war-torn homeland after a happy childhood in Barcelona. Premiered in New York City and won Best Play at the Iranisches Theatre Festival in Heidelberg, Germany, Mimi’s Suitcase is performed in English, Spanish and Persian with English surtitles.

Frost and Lorca (Aug 17-23 at 12:00)
A unique fusion of art, poetry, projections, music and theatre. Celebrated British abstract artist Sir Terry Frost spent a decade creating work inspired by Federico Garcia Lorca, producing the beautiful Lorca portfolio: 11 poems in both Spanish and English each accompanied by an original etching by Frost (father of seasoned Fringe performer Stephen Frost). Another unique fusion of international performers and creatives have come together to bring this portfolio to life in the suitably grand setting of the National Museum of Scotland.

International Shalom Festival (Aug 8-10 from 11am)
Enter a Bedouin tent, enjoy Druze cookery, practice Hebrew and Arabic, attend the film theatre, view original art, try on Maskit fashion, learn Sufi dancing and hear from Jewish and Arab Israelis about real examples of coexistence. Expected contributors include the Ahmadiyya Muslim community from Haifa, Orchard of Abraham’s Children peace organisation from Jaffa, Rockets into Roses from Sderot (who make beautiful and inspiring jewellery), coexistence author and director Dr Lee Perlman and Jewish/Arab Israeli women from Afula who come together to paint. Refreshments available. Check our website for daily programme. Please come!

Requiem for Aleppo (Aug 16 at 19:30)
A new production bringing together 12 dancers from across the world. The original music is a combination of Requiem Mass lyrics set to choral music, Arabic poetry and the voices of people from Aleppo telling their real-life stories.

Foreign Radical (Aug 2-7, 9-14, 16-21, 23-27 at 13:00)
Thirty participants are invited into an intriguing theatrical game exploring security, profiling, privacy and freedom of expression in the age of cybersurveillance. Mobile throughout the performance, the participants collaborate, compete, investigate, debate and spy on each other. Depending on personal and group responses, participants witness different perspectives on the action, gathering evidence from dramatic scenes and documentary media that colour their views and how they play the game. Farsi, Arabic, English. ‘I spent more time thinking about this show than any other in 2015. There’s a reason it won the Critics’ Choice Innovation Award’ (Mark Robins, VancouverPresents.com).

Culture Internationale! (Aug 4-31, 13:00, 15:00, 17:00, 19:00)
Have a totally international experience by immersing yourself in international languages and cultures! Let go of inhibitions and really get involved in the performances and the different languages and cultures they present. Learn the basics of different languages and aspects of different cultures, engaging with the performers in the different languages as you learn. The main focus is on Japanese and Chinese, but other languages are also presented. Culture Internationale is suitable for all ages, including children. The only requirement is a willingness to engage and have fun!

Ray Bradshaw: Deaf Comedy Fam (Aug 2-13, 15-28 at 16:00)
One in six people in Scotland suffer from hearing loss. Two of those people are Ray’s parents. Full of hilarious tales about growing up with deaf parents, this show will be performed in both British Sign Language and English, by Ray himself, in what is believed to be a world first. ‘Has a clear comedy gift’ **** (Edinburgh Evening News). ‘Bradshaw is raucously funny’ **** (BroadwayBaby.com).

Nonsilence (Aug 7-12 at 19:10)
Nonsilence is a solo piano and song performance with bilingual singer/songwriter Emer O’Flaherty. In the intimate venue of thespace@JurysInn, Emer will air her poignant, refined lyrics (English/Irish) to the backdrop of her unique piano style of jazz and traditional Irish. Influenced by Norah Jones and Aimee Mann, previous performances include sold-out shows at Edinburgh Fringe, Prague Fringe, and the 2017 International Pan Celtic Festival (representing Ireland). ‘If you fancy an hour of calm and reflexion, get yourself to her show. You will be glad you did’ (MichaelCalcottsFringeyBits.tumblr.com, Prague Fringe Review, 2016).


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