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The Pleasance Theatre Trust Presents the 2022 Edinburgh National Partnerships

From August 3 to the 29th the works will explore a range of topics, trends and realities with performances through a variety of techniques from classic to cutting edge. 

The Pleasance Theatre Trust presents the 2022 Edinburgh National Partnerships, a feast of new work from vibrant theatre makers and performers from across the UK at this year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe. From August 3 to the 29th the works will explore a range of topics, trends and realities with performances through a variety of techniques from classic to cutting edge.

An assortment of shows offer audiences the opportunity to experience a wild ride through the gamut of human emotional experiences in the hands of a variety of artists from the UK's leading performing arts community.

The work will engage with Fringe audiences across a mix of ages from eight upwards and deal with themes that affect all people, regardless of fortune or background. The cauldron of ideas will serve up a heady brew throughout the Fringe with shows for all tastes.

Breathless (World Premiere), Potatohead (Fringe Debut), SHEWOLVES (Fringe Premiere), Svengali (World Premiere), Closure (World Premiere), Opal Fruits (Fringe Premiere), Man Shed (World Premiere) and An Audience With Milly-Liu(Fringe Premiere) present and represent the human condition with its attendant hilarity, sorrow, disfunction and joy. Throughout the month these works will richly reward Pleasance audiences who attend, participate or engage with these performances.

Anthony Alderson, Director of the Pleasance Theatre Trust said:

"The National Partnerships programme is crucial to identify, recognise and help fund some of the truly excellent work being created regionally. For each show we have partnered with a leading national producing house to ensure these exceptional artists can bring important new work to the Fringe. These works often challenge current issues with writers often building on their own experiences in thrilling and innovative ways."

As part of the Edinburgh National Partnerships, the Pleasance is working with eight partner theatres across the UK to identify and support exceptional artists and companies local to them who want to take work to the Fringe. Each partner is a leading national producing house, with a commitment to supporting and developing new artists. In 2022 the partner organisations are Bristol Old Vic Ferment, Leicester Curve, Manchester HOME, York Theatre Royal, Theatre Royal Plymouth, Pitlochry Festival Theatre, Eden Court and Sherman Theatre.

The Shows

Breathless by Laura Horton (Theatre Royal Plymouth)

What happens when the things we covet hide us from ourselves? Opening up to new experiences in her late-thirties, Sophie is exploring long repressed sides of herself. When a

secret she's keeping from those she loves, and even from herself, threatens to unravel it all, she has to make a choice. Who or what will she decide to give up? Breathless is a funny, honest and stylish exploration of the knife-edge of hoarding, from the joy to the addiction and suffocating shame. From Laura Horton, Plymouth Laureate of Words, own experience of clothes hoarding.

Potatohead by Freddie Hayes (York Theatre Royal)

The gloriously bonkers Freddie Hayes presents her debut starch-raving-mad adaptation of Doctor Faustus... with puppets. Directed by Sh!t Theatre, this 'hilarious and beautifully crafted performance' ( involves puppetry, stand-up comedy, physical theatre, film, singing, dancing and plenty of potatoes.

This is the story of a humble spud Charlotte, who dreams of becoming a stand-up comedian. But how does a couch potato grow to become a golden wonder? Potatohead is 'totally silly but also sneakily smart' ( with elements of kitsch cabaret and old-school entertainment. This original new writing blends surrealist comedy and traditional theatre for a highly entertaining and joyful performance. 'Potatohead is as gloriously bonkers as it sounds. Freddie Hayes, our solo performer and Spud puppeteer fully commits to her endeavour with an endearing self-awareness of just how ridiculous it all is.'(

SHEWOLVES by Sarah Middleton (Leicester Curve)

Ever thought you should run the world, even though you're "only fourteen and a girl"?

Priya and Lou have. And they're ready to bite back against any adult who doubts

them. Armed with a backpack full of Pop Tarts and a hunger to tackle climate change,

they embark on a covert expedition into the wild. Somewhere between Booksmart,

Little Miss Sunshine and Thelma and Louise, SHEWOLVES is an uplifting, funny and empowering play about forging friendships when you're a bit weird, the power of hope and the underestimated smartness of teens.

Svengali by Eve Nicol (Pitlochry Festival Theatre)

An influential mentor can transform anyone into a star. All the Svengali asks for is complete

control. Svengali is a stylish monologue about twisted co-dependency in the dark heart of a celebrity partnership. A daring erotic thriller about ambition, desire and doing whatever it takes to achieve mastery.

Can freedom be found in submitting to power? Created by Scottish playwright and

director Eve Nicol.

Closure by Maz Hedgehog (Manchester HOME)

Closure: why be the bigger person when you can be the last one standing?

Mia invites Alex and Laura to a dinner party. They quickly learn that not all of them may be leaving alive. Ink and Curtain presents their second production, Closure, exploring

feminine rage, women's rights and - more importantly - women's wrongs.

Opal Fruits by Holly Beasley-Garrigan (Bristol Old Vic Ferment)

Armed with pick 'n'mix, politics and UK Garage, award-winning performance-maker Holly

Beasley-Garrigan wants to talk about the fetishisation of the feral female. Opal Fruits is about class, nostalgia and five generations of women from one council estate in South London. An anarchic reimagining of the self-congratulatory solo show and a wry interrogation of faux-working-class cultural trends. In 1998 Opal Fruits changed their name to... we don't say that name round here.

Man Shed by Euan Martin (Eden Court)

Can a man find his purpose when he grows older and all the major life events come thick and fast? Should he retire to the solitude of The Shed and escape from the world, or get

out and try something new? When familiar rules no longer apply, is it too late to change the habits of a lifetime? Inspired by the work of the Scottish Men's Sheds Association, Man Shed is a one-man theatre piece by Right Lines Productions which explores the joy of sheds, the pain of loss and the comfort of friendship.

An Audience With Milly-Liu by François Pandolfo (Sherman Theatre)

A one-man cat-drag late-night comedy.

The last chapter in the autobiography of an infamous movie star.

Milly-Liu has worked with the best of them... Milly-Liu wants to tell her story... And Milly-Liu promises to give you a night to forget!

The Pleasance Edinburgh National Partnerships Theatre Partners commented on their inclusion in the programme:

Susannah Armitage, Senior Producer at Eden Court Theatre stated:

"Eden Court is delighted to be supporting Man Shed by Right Lines as part of our inaugural involvement in the Pleasance Edinburgh National Partnership project. Man Shed is a very touching and pertinent tale about loneliness, friendship and where you find community. It is also warm and funny and will speak to lots of different audiences and we are sure that it will do well at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Right Lines have long been established as a theatre company making and touring work across the Highlands and we are really pleased to be collaborating with them in this context."

Ben Lyon-Ross,Talent Development Producer, Theatre Royal Plymouth said:

"Here at TRP we are super excited to be supporting the Edinburgh National Partnership Programme. Working with Pleasance Theatre Trust offers us such a vital opportunity to support artists from the far South West in taking work to Edinburgh. Plymouth is a vibrant hub of creative talent but it can be hard to export work further afield so the partnership is an invaluable pipeline that offers artists exposure, support and a chance to present their work to a range of audiences and industry in Edinburgh."

Leicester Curve's Chief Executive Chris Stafford and Artistic Director Nikolai Foster said:

"We are thrilled to support Shewolves through our invaluable partnership with The Pleasance. We are proud of the rich and diverse talent here in the Midlands. SheWolves champions empowerment and finding your unique voice, powerfully reflecting the ambition of the partnership to ensure that the formidable Edinburgh Fringe Festival represents the brilliant theatre being made across the UK and beyond."

Amy Liptrott, Associate Director, Pitlochry Festival Theatre said:

"We're delighted to be a partner of The Pleasance's National Partnership programme for a second year. Supporting the development of local artists is very important to us and we're thrilled to be working with Eve Nicoll to bring her production of Svengali to the Edinburgh Fringe in 2022. Being able to come together and enjoy live theatre again is such a pleasure and our Team can't wait to enjoy the wealth of talent brought together by The Pleasance and their partners this summer."

Ben Atterbury, New Work Producer, Bristol Old Vic said:

"It's so brilliant to partner with our friends at the Pleasance again to support artists from our region to traverse the tough economics of the Fringe; right now the support of venues and organisations to help individuals claim space on this amazing international stage is critical. We couldn't be happier to be working together to present Holly Beasley-Garrigan's 'Opal Fruits' this year - the show is a vital story of multi-generational working-class identity backed by a UK Garage inspired soundtrack; it is a perfect example of work that feels urgent and progressive but needs support such as this programme to be shared carefully with Edinburgh audiences, we can't wait to be there."

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