Welsh artists prepare for Edinburgh Fringe Festival

NoFit State Circus's current hit Bianco is one of the Fringe shows from Wales
Image caption NoFit State Circus's current hit Bianco is one of the Fringe shows from Wales

Theatre, dance, circus and comedy from Wales will all be performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the largest arts festival in the world, which opens in the Scottish city this weekend.

They include National Theatre Wales's production of The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning, Cardiff-based NoFit State Circus's current hit Bianco, and the new musical drama I'm With The Band, which is co-produced by Wales Millennium Centre and Edinburgh's Traverse Theatre.

All three productions have also been shortlisted for the British Council's biennial Edinburgh showcase, which introduces a selection of Fringe productions to international promoters.

The inclusion of the Welsh language Sherman Cymru/Theatr Genedlaethol production of Llwyth in the showcase in 2011 led to it touring to Taiwan.

Writer Tim Price is behind two of the productions at this year's showcase, with both proving to be extremely topical.

The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning enjoyed a successful tour with National Theatre Wales last year and has been adapted to reflect recent events, while his new production - I'm With The Band - tackles the potential break-up of the United Kingdom.

Mr Price said: "I'm With the Band is my response to the Scottish independence question.

"I love Scotland. Part of me is delighted with the idea that a country I love might become autonomous.

"But as a Welshman I am heartbroken at the prospect of a diminished relationship.

"I wanted to find a way to explore the complicated relationships between the home countries.

Image caption Tim Price wrote two of the pieces being shown at the festival

"I'm With the Band explores the independence question, through a rock band losing their guitarist.

"It asks, could the union survive without Scotland? And could Scotland survive without the union?"

NoFit State has enjoyed international success since being established by a group of friends in the 1980s.

It regularly tours, using a big top tent to present exhilarating and dramatic performances.

The big top will be hosting Bianco in Edinburgh this year, but the company is also premiering a new work, Noodles, which includes wire-walkers, contortionists and magicians.

Other Welsh productions among the almost 3,000 shows at the Fringe include a controversial play about the Aberfan disaster, Children of Mine, which features a cast of teenagers and has attracted criticism from some survivors of the disaster.

Image caption NoFit State Circus has two shows in Edinburgh

A group of four Bangor University students will perform Thespionage, a collection of comedy sketches.

Welsh actor Robert Bowman will perform his one man show, a production of Gogol's dark comedy Diary of a Madman, and students from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama's Richard Burton Company will perform Tracy, a comedy about a supermarket worker with high ambitions.

Companies and performers from Wales will hold a networking event in Edinburgh on 22 August to encourage new interest in their productions from programmers and venues in the UK and abroad.

The event is being organised by Wales in Edinburgh, a group formed by the Arts Council of Wales to promote the Welsh interest in this year's Fringe Festival.

Harry McIver, the project manager for Wales in Edinburgh, said the city was a great platform to showcase Welsh talent.

"It's the best festival in the world for reaching international promoters and audiences so it's a perfect opportunity for Wales' performing arts companies to be profiled within the festival," he added.

"The idea is to help Welsh companies present their work at the Fringe in the best possible way, with the best conditions, and importantly, put them in touch with international promoters and programmers who are coming to the festival."

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe runs until 26 August.

Image caption I'm with the Band is a musical drama

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