Taking a play to the Fringe

 29 August 2013

Sayan Kent describes how Kali Theatre Company helped bring her play to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and the support they provide for Asian women playwrights.

Sayan Kent's play 'Another Paradise' was staged by Kali Theatre and taken to the Edinburgh Fringe festival. Image: Kali Theatre
Sayan Kent's play 'Another Paradise' was staged by Kali Theatre and taken to the Edinburgh Fringe festival. Image: Kali Theatre

"When Kali Theatre took my play, Another Paradise, to the Edinburgh Fringe festival a few years ago, it was my first full production.

"The important thing is to write on the things you feel strongly about."

"The play had previously been read at a writing festival the year before, and before that I'd also had another play read aloud.

"I've been writing for quite a long time, but I've also been an actor and a composer. I used to perform in a music group, so I'd been to the Edinburgh Fringe before.

"But it took some time for me to really get something 'proper' together, or finished."

Developing a play for performance

"Kali Theatre Company is about encouraging Asian women writers, or women from any Asian background. I'm from a mixed background, myself.

"They were putting a call out for new plays. They read Another Paradise, and they liked it. Then we read it in the new writing festival that Kali has every year.

"But they also offered some dramaturgical support in developing it, so I had a dramaturg reading it through, making suggestions.

"There were also some cuts. It was quite long, originally, so we decided to take the length down a bit.

"Soon after that, Janet Steel, Kali Theatre's Artistic Director, decided that she wanted to bring it to Edinburgh, and it was as simple as that, really."

Promoting a play at the Edinburgh Fringe

"It's quite a big effort. I couldn't have done it on my own. It had to be a company that did it, because it does cost money and it's a lot of organisation.

"Someone's got to coordinate it. You need to get the good reviews in."

"I know some people do take things to Edinburgh Fringe on a shoestring, and lots of students come up, but still, someone's got to coordinate it.

"You need to get the good reviews in, you need to get an audience in, and you've very much got to do the work yourself.

"So you all end up going out leafleting, which everyone at the Fringe is always doing."

Submitting plays to a theatre company

"As a woman, you can send a play in to Kali. They will always read it, and they will always come back to you with a response.

"They'll be very encouraging, because that's what it's all about. The whole company is built on encouraging new writing from this area. So do it, you never know!

"Even if they don't take your play up, they might be able to set you up with some dramaturgical support. They have writers' workshops, so you can be at any level of writing. You can be an absolute beginner, and they'll nurture you.

"It doesn't matter what the subject matter is, either. Another Paradise is not a piece about Asian issues at all.

"It's really just about writing what you want to write. That's the important thing. Write on what you feel strongly about."

Have you performed at a fringe festival? What was it like?


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