It's a family affair at the Edinburgh Fringe

By Hannah Livingston
BBC Scotland

image captionArt Malik with daughters Keira (left) and Jessica (who was a producer on the play)

Family and work. Balancing the two is a skill that is hard to master but more performers than ever at this year's Edinburgh Fringe appear to be finding the solution is to put the two together.

For example, actor Art Malik, star of Jewel in the Crown and True Lies and more recently Holby City, is in a play called Rose with his 28-year-old daughter Keira.

While choreographer Natasha Gilmour is going a step further, being on stage with her 13-month-old son.

Other performers are simply bringing the family along for the month-long ride.

Comedian Ed Byrne told BBC Radio Scotland that he has brought his family up this year, while Shappi Khorsandi has been tweeting about finding ways to entertain her young son.

Kath Mainland, chief executive of the Festival Fringe Society, has worked in and around the festival for more than 20 years.

She said: "It feels like a new thing and I think it is a lovely thing.

"Once you are bitten by the bug of the Fringe you keep coming back. I think it is quite natural if you grow up with it and then you have family yourself."

image captionNatasha Gilmour's 13-month-old son Otis performs with her on stage

Acting family

In the Hywel John play Rose, Art Malik plays the immigrant father to his daughter Keira's fictional character.

Malik said: "I don't think there was any point in bringing anything about my relationship with Keira as father and daughter into this because they are two completely different characters.

"I mean most families are dysfunctional.

"I'd like to think that we were dysfunctional with a small "d".

"And the characters that we are playing are dysfunctional with a big "D"."

Working together seems like a natural transition for the Malik family.

Keira said: "We used to live on sets. When we were younger mum and dad rarely liked to be apart, and obviously if they were away they didn't want to be away from us so we would go with them. We were really lucky."

Fringe benefits

Perhaps one of the youngest fringe acting debuts this year is in A Conversation with Carmel.

Choreographer and director Natasha Gilmour's 13-month-old son Otis performs with her on stage.

Gilmour said: "It is actually a really good opportunity to spend quality time together. And rather than being away the whole day or for the whole period you've got them with you, in your pocket.

"It can be quite tricky when your head is shifting between being a performer, being a mother and I am also the director.

"So it is quite complex sometimes and you could be worrying about the lights and then before you know it, 'Oh, Otis is being sick' or something.

"It is those more down to earth things that bring you back."