Made in Scotland Showcase 2018: Rock stars and LGBT+ icons representing the best of home-grown talent
credit: Hugh Carswell
A decade on, the Made in Scotland showcase remains a powerful platform for Scottish work both at home and abroad
Of the 968 Scottish works that will flood the venues of Edinburgh during the Fringe this year, 23 have been plucked from relative obscurity and given a generous injection of public money. Curated by a panel of experts from the Scottish and international performing arts communities, the Made in Scotland showcase, funded by the Scottish government's Expo Fund, functions not only as an official stamp of critical approval, but also provides the financial backing to help the chosen artists travel their work internationally. Now in its tenth year, the showcase has become a central aspect of the Fringe programme itself; as well as a vital pathway connecting Scotland's vibrant arts scene with the world at large.
The music offerings in this year's showcase features works that defiantly transgress genre and medium. ANNO from the Scottish Ensemble and sister act Anna and Eleanor Meredith combines Vivaldi's classic Four Seasons concerti suite with dizzying electronics and visual art, creating a powerful sensory experience of time's passage. Similarly, Graeme Stephen's Letters for Peace explores the ideals and sacrifices of conscientious objectors from World War One through a chamber string trio and spoken word performances. Other works include a deep-dive into Caledonian Soul from Blue Rose Code (also known as Ross Wilson), as well as Jan Tait and the Bear, Emily Doolittle's comedic chamber opera about the adventures of a roguish Shetlander.
Dance pushes up against similar boundaries, with Roberta Jean's Brocade lying somewhere between procession and concert, and gathering together an exceptional ensemble of female performers for a poetic response to notions of craft and physical labour. A similar re-interpretation is at work in Lina Limosani and Al Seed's highly-emotive The Spinners, which uses the all-powerful and all-seeing Fates from Greek mythology to present perennial questions about life, death and choice. JG Ballard also gets the dance treatment in VOID, a sensory plunge into typically-Ballardian themes of dystopia and urban paranoia, facilitated by risk-taking choreography and backdrop of industrial soundscapes and abstract glitch-video landscapes.
Meanwhile in theatre, a mix of established and emerging names populates the Made in Scotland lineup. Among the chosen is Birds of Paradise Theatre Company and National Theatre of Scotland's My Left Right Foot, an uproarious comedy about a local drama society's decision to star 'the disabled' in a production of the Oscar winning film My Left Foot. Only problem is – they can't find any disabled actors. But that didn't stop Daniel Day-Lewis, did it? Other works to make the list include Mary Jane Wells' gritty yet lyric Heroine, which details the true story of a survivor of sexual trauma in the US military, as well as Cora Bissett's autobiographical rock'n'roll rollercoaster What Girls are Made Of. Also making the list is Coriolanus Vanishes, a chilling psychological thriller about a woman awaiting trial for crimes unknown, as well as the Lyceum's Love Song to Lavender Menace, a rom-com celebration of the radical bookstore that became the beating heart of Edinburgh's queer community.