Edinburgh Fringe 2019 Guide

Table of contents

About the Guide

Survivors Library is an international group of survivors who collect and create resources by, for, and about survivors of abuse and assault. We believe survivors deserve access to resources that don’t perpetuate harm and oppression. We don’t allow anything that promotes transphobia, racism, SWERFs, fatphobia, ableism, abuse or assault apologism, homophobia or anti-LGBTQIA sentiments, or content created by abusers. We prioritise the collection and creation of resources by, for, and about survivors who experience those oppressions. Find out more at www.survivorslibrary.org

This guide is for shows at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2019 that have anything to do with survivorhood, be it a mention or an entire show about it. Reviewed shows have been viewed by Survivors Library members (which could be you!) to ensure they follow our guidelines as described above and to provide thorough content warnings. We are not reviewing shows for quality/stars, we are just interested in providing access to shows with survivor themes. This guide has been entirely put together by volunteers and is a work in progress.

Lists of Shows

List of Shows (Reviewed)

List of Shows (Not Yet Reviewed)

Help Expand the Guide

Want to help us expand this guide? Just see one of the shows on our List of Shows (Not Yet Reviewed), or any show that mentions survivorhood, and drop us an email with as much of the following information as you can:

Practical info: Dates being performed; start and end time (or if the times vary just say “times vary”; ticket price (full/concessions); location;  type of show (eg theatre, comedy – copy from the fringe website); also the following questions on themes:

  • Based on the performer(s) experiences? (y/n, say if it’s autobiographical)
  • Abuse type(s): (eg physical, sexual, emotional, racist, transphobic)
  • Survivor(s): Child or adult? (Age of the survivor(s))
  • Survivor(s) Pronouns: If known (said in performance or in show description)
  • Performers of colour? Yes (details only if known)
  • Who perpetrated the abuse? Anything mentioned i.e. age, relationship to survivor, pronouns
  • Other content warnings:  Up to you (eg drug use, alcohol, pregnancy)
  • Fringe Website Description (copy/paste)
  • A sentence+ on the show if you wish – something a bit more genuine than the Fringe description. Try to avoid spoilers!

Please note that this guide has been entirely assembled by volunteers and there is currently no reimbursement for supporting the guide or purchasing tickets to any shows listed. We’re looking into funding for 2020 though!

Content Warnings + Show Info

We’ve included information, where known, on: whether the show is based on experiences of the performer(s), the type(s) of abuse, the survivor(s) (child or adult, pronouns), whether there are performers of colour, information on the perpetrator(s), and any other relevant content warnings. Descriptions are from the Fringe website. Please assume that these shows have graphic verbal and/or visual descriptions of abuse.

Why see a show having to do with survivors?

Whether or not you’re a survivor, seeing a show that includes themes of abuse and assault can be difficult, and we urge you to consider whether it will be a beneficial thing for you to do at this time. Here are some of the reasons you should consider them:

You’ll laugh. Survivors often have to find humour in their experiences to cope, to be believed, and to be heard. A lot of these shows use laughter to break the tension and show the complexity of emotions experienced as a survivor. This can be particularly healing for survivors who view the shows.

You’ll be empowered. Have you ever had something you’ve been too ashamed or afraid to speak up about or get help for? These shows all have themes that are hard to talk about, and yet these performers do it every day on a stage in front of strangers. Seeing the strength in these performers can inspire you to find strength in yourself. It can be a unique and life-changing experience, especially as a survivor seeing other survivors be given a platform when we’re so often silenced.

You’ll see incredible, emotive, and high quality art that’s different, and be supporting something important. Survivors are a marginalised group, especially survivors of colour and trans survivors. Stories actually made by survivors are very rarely seen in popular media, with abuse and assault often used as a plot device instead of as a carefully considered and rounded subject. Most of the shows are written and performed by survivors themselves, so you know what you’re seeing is something they’ve experienced and that’s conveyed in the work. These shows explore survivorhood in ways you probably haven’t seen before.

You’ll question yourself. How are you helping to break the cycle of abuse passed down from generation to generation? Are you perpetuating any toxic behaviours in your own life? Do you interfere or ignore when you see something wrong happen? Abuse and assault isn’t something that only happens to other people. It’s everywhere – between family members, friends, coworkers, strangers, politicians, celebrities, the state and individuals, and so on. It’s your responsibility to question your own behaviour to ensure you aren’t continuing the cycle of abuse, and to do what you can to help those around you that are being harmed.

You can start a conversation. Take someone to the show that you want to talk about it with afterward. Survivors especially can use the show as a starting point for sharing experiences with other survivors or non-survivors. What in the show did you relate to or disagree with? How did it make you feel? Were there metaphors that helped you better understand your own experiences or the experiences of someone you know?

Feedback On Our Guide

This guide is a work in progress and we encourage you to feed back it, especially on areas we can improve on or if there is something problematic or incorrect in it. Please feel free to contact us (anonymously is fine) via email at survivorslibraryemail@gmail.com

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