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Escalator East to Edinburgh artists named for Edinburgh Festival Fringe

  • Date: 14 February 2013
  • Area: South East
Dancers shouting

Shane Shambhu's Power Games will be performing at this year's Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Credit: Simon Richardson

The Edinburgh Festival Fringel may not be happening for another six months but there is plenty to look forward to as the Escalator East to Edinburgh artists have been named for the summer event.

Growing in stature and now in its 11th year, the Arts Council programme, Escalator East to Edinburgh, has chosen a selection of new talented artists who will be making their debuts at the festival alongside some of last year's success stories also returning.

Notable returning artists include Bryony Kimmings, Hannah Jane Walker and theatre Company Curious Directive who enjoyed success with After the Rainfall at last year's Fringe.

In addition, there are plenty of newcomers such as Amy Hicks who will work with artists' Martin O'Brien & Liz Crow and New Wolsey Theatre Young Associates plus some making their first appearance after a period away from the festival.

Bryony Kimmings, who last appeared at the festival in 2011 with 7 Day Drunk, has a new show for this year - Credible Likeable Superstar Role Model - where she will be performing with her nine-year-old niece. This will be an artistic experimental theatre show that seeks to promote a non-conventional character as a role model for young people.

Another artist involved is Vicky Weitz, who will attempt the astonishing feat of running 26 miles a day for 26 days - the duration of the festival.  She will run up and down the infamous Royal Mile road where she will invite spectators to join her on her tiring route.

The main aim of this specialist programme is to allow talented artists the opportunity to flourish and perform at the most famous and largest arts festival in the world. As well as providing financial assistance, Escalator East to Edinburgh offers media and marketing support to successful applicants in the build-up to the festival as well as during and after the festival.

The artists have been asked to explore access issues and how their work is made available to disabled people such as wheelchair users who maystruggle to see certain art performances.

Performing at the festival provides the opportunity for the artists to showcase their talents and many go on to generate bigger successes in the future. This has been the case for a number of alumni artists connected to the programme such as the collaboration between Norwich's Tiebreak and Cambridge's Hoipolloi created by Michael Arly in 2003 which went on to appear at The Royal Opera House and venues in New York. John Osbourn and his John Peel's Shed performance in 2010 was received well by critics and audiences and he went on to tour 60 national dates.

Escalator East to Edinburgh is just one of 10 strands that make up the Escalator programme. Escalator Dance is another, and we are delighted that two artists who are part of the Escalator Dance programme have been selected to appear at the Fringe Festival: Lost Dog and Altered Skin (previously Shane Shambhu). Escalator Dance was set up in 2011 and divided into two separate categories: Escalator Dance Producers and Escalator Dance (designed for artists). This is a 12 month initiative which is coming to an end with many of the individuals involved in the programme continuing their pursuits in dance.

Claudia West, Relationship Manager, Theatre, commented:
'It's great to see such a strong and diverse cohort of artists selected for 2013. This is a really important opportunity for regional artists and companies to platform their work at the world's largest performing arts festival. By offering a framework of support, Escalator East to Edinburgh enables artists to really maximise the opportunities open to them at the festival. We know from previous years the difference that support can make, helping artists to grow profile, reach new audiences and markets.'

Shane Shambhu, Artistic Director, Altered Skin, said:
'Being part of Escalator East to Edinburgh is significantly important to the company at this critical stage in raising our profile nationally and internationally. Without the support offered and available by this scheme, trying to present a production with a full company and large production values is virtually impossible.  I am very grateful of the support and not to mention the added PR support offered and am excited for the future of our new production and the future possibilities this opportunity will open for us.'