For artists and performers all over the world, the countdown is on to the opening of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe – the world’s largest arts festival that welcomes thousands of performances every summer – and for Bradford-based Mind the Gap, England’s largest learning disability theatre company, it is a particularly exciting time.
“The last time Mind the Gap took a production to The Fringe was 12 years ago,” says Joyce Nga Yu Lee, the creator and director of Mia which opens on August 10th at Edinburgh’s Summerhall. “I am thrilled that the piece we have all worked so hard on is to reach a larger and international audience.”
Performed by four learning disabled artists Mia explores the truths and myths about learning disability and parenthood in today’s society; it is a piece about humanity that aims to resonate with everybody with or without a disability.
“I want to see an audience that isn’t made up of just people with a vested interest in those with learning disabilities,” says cast member JoAnne Haines. “I want to see people in the audience that might never have considered this issue.”
“We have six performances a week,” says fellow cast member Alison Short. “It will be quite gruelling, not just because of the energy used in performing but also we have to get the show on and off the stage in just 15 minutes to make way for others. We’ll be doing all this and promoting ourselves with the festival; I’m both excited and nervous!”
Mia originally toured studio venues around the UK in autumn last year receiving outstanding reviews but it has since been updated and has changed considerably in places.
“We use music, dance, live film, pre-recorded film and symbols to create an episodic piece of theatre,” concludes Joyce. “It is fast moving and raw, funny and bold – in short Mia is wild ride!”
Mind the Gap present Mia at Edinburgh’s Summerhall Old Lab
from Tuesday 8th to Sunday 27th August
Performances are at 2.45pm from Tuesday to Sunday inclusive
Tickets are available from www.summerhall.co.uk
Mia will tour in autumn 2017 and spring 2018 with performances confirmed at Hull Truck Theatre, Hull, The Gulbenkian, Canterbury, and Square Chapel Arts Centre, Halifax
For more information on Mind the Gap visit www.mind-the-gap.org.uk