Mara Menzies: We decided it would be more interesting for us to tell the story of Nanny

This autumn, the Scottish International Storytelling Festival (SISF) takes audiences on a voyage, exploring Scotland’s coasts and water through music and storytelling. The programme for the 2020 Scottish International Storytelling Festival was In the Flow, which was an eclectic mix of online events spanning across the globe and small-scale face-to-face events, celebrating Scotland ‘a nation shaped by the sea’. One of these events was performed by Apphia Campbell and Mara Menzies, who spoke with The Fountain about her involvement with the SISF and some of her personal highlights.

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Review: TJ, January 3rd Rating 76%

Review: TJ, January 3rd

TJ is a comedian from the US and this is his debut show, filmed on his 31st birthday on January 3rd 2020, but was first aired on 3rd November 2020. The advertising blurb calls it edgy and controversial; which it is. It seems these days that the way to amuse people is to offend other people, but as with all comedy some of these comments will be a hit, whilst others are a miss. Reviewing comedy is a strange thing really as we all find different things funny, and are all offended by different things. It must be said that TJ has a knack of making statements that could be taken as offensive but framing them in an amusing way.

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Reece Clarke: We are finally getting back on stage with some gala performances

The UK’s leading fresh potato brand has swapped Bartlett for Ballet, releasing a stunning new video featuring long term ambassador Reece Clarke and his partner on stage and in life Fumi Kaneko. The pair, both of whom are first soloists with The Royal Ballet, perform sections of Tchaikovsky’s legendary The Sleeping Beauty in Albert Bartlett’s Jersey factory. In the video, the Jersey Royal seed potatoes are preparing to be tucked in themselves before being woken up in November and planted early in the new year. Reece spoke with The Fountain about the process and relationship with Albert Bartlett.

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Claire Halleran: We wanted to find a way to use these spaces in a different way

Theatre designers have not been idle since Lockdown. They have used their ‘resting’ creative skills to launch #TakeASeat with Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum Theatre and make work designed to engage and inspire the audiences they are missing. A collective response to the spaces they cannot be in, it is a call to arms to their craft, an art installation and a love letter to absent audiences, a rallying call for creative and thought-provoking responses that both illustrate and celebrate Scotland’s remarkable theatre industry. Theatre Designer, Claire Halleran who has been very much involved in the project spoke with The Fountain about it in more detail.

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Daniella Kidd: Initially it was really challenging and a steep learning curve

Despite lockdown Beatroute Arts are keeping a community connected. The pioneering charity in Balornock, North Glasgow provides a wide range of arts and holistic activities for its community which are developed in direct response to local need. Founded in 1990 within the ten per cent most disadvantaged regions in Scotland, Beatroute started by providing music lessons for young people. The unique participant led approach has been the backbone of the charity’s success and also the key to the transformative results as young participants gain so much more than music skills. Assistant Director, Daniella Kidd, spoke with The Fountain about their adapted approach.

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Review: The Coolidge Effect Rating 80%

Review: The Coolidge Effect

The Coolidge Effect, created by Glasgow theatre company Wonderfools, was written in 2017 and toured all over the UK in theatres and community spaces alike. Its title is taken from the scientific theory ‘the Coolidge effect’, a study which proves that, specifically in males, variety in sexual life is key to continued arousal. Dealing with the effects of pornography on sexual and mental well-being, The Coolidge Effect was initially devised from interviews with porn addicts and advocates, as well as mental health professionals. Writers Jack Nurse and Robbie Gordon fuse these different perspectives into four interweaving narratives, all showing a different perspective on the issue of porn addiction. While I didn’t manage to catch the production itself, last week Wonderfools released The Coolidge Effect as an audio play, which, despite not being its original medium, adapted excellently to the format and created something unflinchingly honest and impactful.

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Review: Scottish Youth Theatre’s 2020 Stories Rating 80%

Review: Scottish Youth Theatre’s 2020 Stories

Last month I tuned in to Scottish Youth Theatre’s digital broadcast, 2020 Stories: a showcase of work by 20 young writers aged between 15-25, performed by a group of professional actors. In total there were 20 pieces, all centred around the theme of Covid-19 and its impact. As a writer myself, I know just how hard it can be to write something meaningful about our current climate that feels hopeful and optimistic in its outlook; This, I believe, is exactly what 2020 Stories set out to do, and successfully delivered.

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Review: Factor 9 Rating 90%

Review: Factor 9

Two weeks ago I digitally watched Hamish MacDonald’s play Factor 9, directed by Ben Harrison and performed by a cast of two, Mathew Zajac and Stewart Porter. The play was originally performed in 2014, opening at Profilteatern’s Festival of Horror & Art in Umea, Sweden. Factor 9 then went on to tour in Denmark and Wales, before touring Scotland in April, 2014.

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David Bleese: So we got chatting to a few of the acts last Fringe, and this is the outcome

David Bleese has established a brand-new comedy record label, Monkey Barrel Records, clearly connected to Monkey Barrel Comedy in Edinburgh. Last year, they recorded a select number of shows at the Edinburgh Fringe and are making them available on vinyl for the first time. The first three releases can be pre-ordered now and include Double Take & Fade Away from John Kearns, If/Then from Olga Koch and Eagle Fire Iron from Ari Eldjárn. The records are available as part of their crowdfunding campaign (, and they will only be produced if they exceed their goal by this Thursday. David spoke with The Fountain about the project in more depth.

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Review: In the Shadow it Waits Rating 66%

Review: In the Shadow it Waits

Award-winning director Michael Beets premiered his live horror film experience on 4th June, In the Shadow it Waits, using the tech at most of our fingertips right now. With a Blair Witch feel using lockdown as the premise in Australia, the film is performed live and edited in real-time with actors performing from their own homes in different states across Australia. Uniquely, the audience is witnessing a film being made as they’re watching it. However, this does come with some drawbacks.

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Cameron Foster: There is a really community of folk out there who like to support the arts

Quarantine Cabaret has been a brilliant response to the closure of venues for the foreseeable with COVID 19, ensuring a platform for artists to perform live and get paid for their work. Cameron Foster who kicked this off has a contact book for performers in Scotland and has been trying to connect them live through Instagram for the last month. The Fountain caught up with Cameron to discuss his rapid response to the situation and who is coming up on Quarantine Cabaret in the near future.

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Chris Stuart Wilson: It once again recognises the value of the arts to older people

At 2pm every Tuesday and Friday over the coming weeks, and possibly months, a new short film will be posted online by Luminate to inspire and guide older people through a creative activity that can be done at home or in a care home. The [email protected] programme is designed to help people stay engaged and active until the crisis has passed and the activities will be presented by professional artists who work regularly with older people in community and care settings, and will feature different arts forms. Chris Stuart Wilson who led an online dance class on Friday 27th March spoke with The Fountain about this project, and what inspired him personally to get involved.

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