Hibrow, the digital arts pioneers, will join forces with big screen giants, ODEON, to take the world’s biggest arts festival, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, out of its cobbled confines and into a cinema near you with a series of special screenings throughout August.
Hibrow Hour, generously supported by Arts Council England, is a series of daily performances at Edinburgh’s fêted Summerhall venue, throughout this year’s Fringe.
Eight of these new shows, spanning theatre, comedy, opera and visual art, have been specially designed to be transmitted via satellite to selected ODEON Cinemas nationwide. Hibrow Hour represents an exciting new digital frontier for the legendary festival: three brand new plays by young theatre-makers, an opera from an internationally recognised artist/filmmaker, comedy acts curated by two of Britain’s most celebrated comedy producers, and a show from the inimitable Steven Berkoff who epitomises the Festivals dedication to talent and innovation. All designed to bring to cinema audiences the excitement of the festival. Each 90 minute programme will also include exclusive coverage of the Festival at large in a specially produced featurette.
The first screening, on August 4 will be The Dispute, a new incarnation of Marivaux’s La Dispute, directed by National Theatre Staff Director and former RSC assistant director Emily Kempson. The play chronicles a bold scientific experiment in which four babies are raised in isolation for eighteen years before being released to discover a world of seduction, deception and the dark, labyrinthine recesses of human nature and sexual desire.
On August 6, Hibrow and ODEON will then screen the first ever comedy performance at Summerhall and the first edition of The Hibrow Comedy Hour; a show from the UK’s foremost satirical rockers, Jonny & The Baptists who shot to national attention with their acerbically catchy number, UKIP, and promise an hour of high-calibre musical comedy with political bite.
Following on, on August 11, is another daring and emotionally potent theatrical offering, The Man Who Almost Killed Himself, an adaptation of the writings of anthropologist Andrew Irving, developed by Josh Azouz. The Man Who Almost Killed Himself is an arresting comedic account of a Ugandan man in the grip of HIV/AIDs whose attempts, in flagrant disregard of the country’s draconian laws, to take his own life are repeatedly unsuccessful. Based on a true story, the performance will feature live music from BAFTA-nominated African fusion band The Ganda Boys. Azouz trained at Birkbeck and the École Philippe Gaulier and has worked with the Library Theatre, Tricycle Theatre as well as being an associate artist for Muslim-Jewish theatre company MUJU.
Then, on Tuesday August 12, more comedy from New Act of the Year Finalists, the superstar sketch quartet Four Screws Loose.
Thursday August 14 will see a rare and unique screening of an uninhibited never seen before one-man show from legendary actor Steven Berkoff featuring poetry, storytelling and discussion, Berkoff the Inimitable.
On Monday August 18 Sleight & Hand, the debut full-length play written by award winning playwright Chris Bush and directed by Marieke Audsley tells the tale of an illusionist and a pickpocket who form an unlikely crime-fighting duo in Victorian London. Audsley studied at the University of Cambridge before training as a director at Birkbeck College and then assistant directing at The Royal Shakespeare Company and The Crucible.
This will be followed on Wednesday August 20 by the final Hibrow Comedy Hour performance which sees winner of the Spirit of the Fringe and Three Weeks Editor Awards, Sarah-Louise Young, returning as Cabaret Whore for an evening of brilliant character comedy and glittering original songs, introducing desperate divas from around the globe, from tortured French chanteuse La Poule Plombée to washed up lounge crooner Bernie St Clair.
Finally, a spectacular finale on Thursday August 21, Hibrow will present an outrageous operatic satire from the wickedly funny imagination of renowned artist and film-maker Alison Jackson: A Story in the Public Domain. Details about this project are currently under wraps and will be announced before the festival opens.
These screenings offer the first opportunity to combine the thrill of artistic discovery that only the Edinburgh Festival Fringe can offer with the unparalleled pleasure of a trip to the Cinema.
Don Boyd, Artistic Director for Hibrow, commented, “Our Hibrow Hour at Summerhall was conceived with the intention of offering audiences everywhere a flavour of Edinburgh’s creative buzz in August. Our relationship with Odeon has given us the opportunity to fulfil that ambition and so extend the great work pioneered by the National Theatre and the Royal Opera House in bringing exciting new shows to local cinemas all over the country”.
“ODEON is excited to work with the Arts Council, the fabulous Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Hibrow to bring the buzz and innovation of the Fringe to the local cinemas across the UK for the very first time,” said Drew Kaza, Executive VP of Digital Development for ODEON Cinemas. “This unique event is another example of the ground-breaking alternative content we strive to present to our guests under the ‘ODEON Plus banner.”