Edinburgh Festival / Day 18: Side View

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The Independent Culture
DANIELLE BISSON

Nannying homeless actors and being nannied by the homeless: the co-manager of Greyfriars Kirkhouse venue on life behind- the-scenes at the Fringe

Two members from the cast of the show 1943 Classic B & W turned up here a day early. They claimed to have cycled up from London in five days and that one of their bikes had been stolen. They said they couldn't get into their flat and would be homeless until the rest of the company arrived. One of our most important functions is to make performers feel they are welcome because many of them are very lonely at the Festival. Anyway, we gave them a floor for the night and then discovered that they had caught the train at York.

One of the jobs I hate most is locking up the cemetery next door at night. But the homeless alcoholics are a great comfort. 'Don't worry,' they say. 'You're not alone. We're here.' It actually makes me feel safe. There are shows in the graveyard, but they don't have anything to do with us. One of the actors in Hare & Burke thought that our theatre was his dressing-room and tried to use it in the middle of the show.

One night we accidentally let two people in to see The Duchess of Malfi who actually had tickets to see Charmian Hughes. They were expecting a stand-up comedienne and they got a Jacobean tragedy. Strange thing is, they watched it and never complained.

(Photograph omitted)

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