Feminist Fringe: Smashing the Patriarchy with Comedy, Theatre and More

Heading to Edinburgh this August? Wanting to be entertained and empowered? TWSS has your back.

 The entertainment industry is, and has always been, saturated with straight, white men telling their stories and reciting the same meaningless one liners year after year. They may still make us laugh, but there are more tales to be told and perspectives to be shared from all corners of society. So, take the opportunity to support women and non-binary people who are raising their voices on the world’s biggest stage. Here’s a selection of feminist Fringe shows to grab tickets for this festival season.

HOLLY MORGAN IS A WITCH, GET HER! – CABARET/MUSICAL THEATRE

Morgan’s spellbinding performance takes you on a journey through the history of witch trials around the world. She incorporates sharp commentary with goosebump-inducing renditions of female anthems, from Stevie Nicks to Amy Winehouse, to explore this ‘gendercide’ which killed off thousands of women classified as dangerous outsiders. Morgan encourages us to embrace our inner freaks, identify the real threats to our society and speak up for women who are silenced for being different. Oh, and her husband Tom helps her out donning a full Lycra catsuit.

SEXY LAMP – THEATRE 

The sister of the Bechdel test, the sexy lamp theory proposes that you can test the relevance of a woman to a movie/play by replacing her with a sexy lamp and determining whether this would actually affect the plot. Katie Arnstein uses this as a basis for exploring the impact gender has had on her life and career as an actor. From being instructed to say ‘yes’ to everything during drama school, to being taught self defence while the boys watched Batman, Arnstein is sick of being placed in a vulnerable position on the basis of her gender. In charming fashion and with great insight, she shines a light on the dark side of the arts. 

BURGERZ – THEATRE

After being hit by a burger launched at them in a transphobic attack on Waterloo Bridge, Travis Albanza became obsessed with burgers. Albanza reclaims this bizarre choice of weapon and uses it to explore societal perceptions of gender in ways you wouldn’t have thought possible. This striking piece of theatre is both angry and funny, but has a simple, overriding message – no member of the transgender community should be subjected to violence of any kind, and we must show solidarity against such abuse.

SOPHIE DUKER: VENUS – COMEDY 

At a relatively early stage of her career, Sophie Duker is disproving the age-old myth that ‘women aren’t funny’. Her stand-up performance doesn’t shy away from hard-hitting topics as she tackles the fetishisation of black women and their reduction to ‘angry black women’ when they try to speak out against ingrained racism and misogyny. She reminds the overwhelmingly white Fringe audiences to check their privilege and join her on her journey of self-discovery.

EDI FRINGE ART.jpg Rivka Cocker.jpg

COLLAPSIBLE – THEATRE 

Essie is broken. She’s lost her girlfriend, job and sense of self. She feels like one of those folding chairs – stable one moment, in pieces the next. The introspective monologue sharply describes her demise, while the fractured set mirrors her disintegrating existence. While offering serious insight into mental unraveling, the play also highlights society’s romanticisation of female pain.

CAT HEPBURN: GIRLHOOD – SPOKEN WORD 

Co-founder of Sonnet Youth, Cat Hepburn, makes her Fringe debut with an enthralling and energetic spoken word account of growing up in 90s and 00s Glasgow. The piece exudes nostalgia, intensified by classic pop interludes and a Spice Girls t-shirt. But it’s more than just a trip down memory lane, as her perceptive writing navigates the pressures and challenges of being a young woman. Girlhood is a love letter to her girlfriends, who stuck by her through the heartache, naïve decisions and messy reality of adolescence.

Artwork by Rivka Cocker.

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