Edinburgh arts institution the Forest Cafe gears up for its final Fringe

This article is from 2011.

Edinburgh arts institution the Forest Cafe gears up for its final Fringe

Edinburgh's rough and ready creative hub closing down

Many Edinburgh-dwellers agree that it will be a sad day when the Forest Café finally closes its doors at the end of this summer. The rough and ready creative hub will be badly missed, but at least it’s staying open long enough for the Forest Fringe to serve up its latest selection of alternative theatre, dance and performance art.

Andy Field, co-director of the Forest Fringe alongside Debbie Pearson, explains why their ‘off the beaten track’ approach to the festivals has proved so popular since it began in 2007.

‘Every year, it has felt more like this belongs as much to the artists as it does to Debbie and I,’ he says. ‘It’s a collective project, so rather than us programming everything, we’ve chosen a small group of artists that we really like and trust – dancers, musicians, poets, live artists – and we’ve allowed them to do a lot of the programming themselves.’

Andy, an advocate of unusual, interactive theatre, is pleased with the mix of artists they have been able to line up, including Forest Fringe favourites Action Hero performing Watch Me Fall, a show focusing on daredevils and an interpretive solo show from dancer Dan Canham.

Meanwhile, staff at the Forest venue are currently waiting to see if the café will be bought over after their former landlord went into administration last year.

‘The Forest Café has such a strong community of people around it that I’m sure they will find a new space,’ says Field. ‘There’s a sense of importance of it being there as an alternative to the more aggressive, commercial venues. This is the third building The Forest have used. It’s like Doctor Who – it never stops, it just changes shape.

‘As it stands, the lease runs until the 31 August, so it’s going to be one wild summer of goodbyes.’

The Forest Fringe, Forest Café, 220 4538, 15–27 Aug, times vary, free (ticketed).

Action Hero: Watch Me Fall

Exploring our obsession with daredevils and attempting the impossible, this hi-octane show draws on Evel Knievel footage, interviews with thrill-seekers and other sense-defying activities.

Dan Canham

Jerwood Curatorial Projects bring you a double bill of dance. Dan Canham performs pieces by Laura Dannequin and Seke Chimutengwende.

Andy Field: Occurrences

A series of posters act as your cues in a piece of auto-theatre that blurs the boundaries of performance and reality.

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