The Edge; a curated Fringe venue at the National Arts Festival, Grahamstown; offers audiences a quality, warm and welcoming theatre and front-of-house experience from 29 June to 9 July 2017.
The Edge (formerly Cape Town Edge) has developed a reputation for bringing together a collection of award-winning returning shows and offering audiences the first chance to see great new shows with well-respected theatre-makers behind them. Now in its 11th year, members of the organising team are all award-winning independent theatre-makers in their own right, and bring years of tried-and-tested experience to their management of this venture. Their audience is discerning: “those who are interested in supporting independent theatre, work that challenges the status quo”, explains Tara Notcutt, one of the organisers of The Edge, as she suggests that patrons can even plan to spend an entire day experiencing all that The Edge has to offer.
A national ‘touring’ circuit for independent work seems to be starting to form with regular collaborations between independent theatres Alexander Upstairs in Cape Town and POPart in Johannesburg, with artists like Jemma Kahn consistently performing to sold out houses in both venues. “This year”, explains playwright Wynne Bredenkamp, who is also part of The Edge organising team: “we wanted to include a wider scope of great South African productions at The Edge, without limiting the bill to just those based in Cape Town, and we’re really excited about the different dynamic that brings”.
Returning shows this year include the following Standard Bank Ovation Award winning productions: the insatiably awkward ‘You Suck (and Other Inescapable Truths)’, the poignant ‘Sillage’, the pertinent ‘Undermined’ and the irreverent ‘We Didn’t Come to Hell for the Croissants’. Illusionist Stuart Lightbody returns to the Edge with a new show this year, and three completely new shows complete the offering: Louis Viljoen (of Dangled fame) has penned ‘Oh Baby, I’m a Wild One’, in which a young teacher arrives home from her sister’s wedding to an empty apartment, a bottle of wine and a pack of cigarettes, with a story to tell… ‘Cattle Drive’ is produced by Theatre for Africa (run by Nicholas and Liz Ellenbogen), and tells of the great cattle drives through the bush of Botswana which were a coming of age for young men; and Jenine Collocott directs remarkable physical theatre performer James Cairns in a gamble between ‘The Devil and Billy Markham’.
In addition to a hot theatre line-up, there will also be hot meals on sale and some between-show surprises. “Collective efforts and sharing are important for the ongoing survival of independent theatre and independent artists, which is at the core of what we want to support through The Edge” explains Philip Rademeyer, “and of course, all the better an experience on offer for our audiences!”
The Edge gratefully acknowledges the support they’ve received from the Arts & Culture Trust and Nedbank Arts Affinity, South African Breweries, and their Thundafund backers; who have bought into their vision.