The Fair Intellectual Club – Radio Four Recordings

The first of two recordings of new scripts of The Fair Intellectual Club by Lucy Porter featuring new adventures with our three young ladies took place at The Scottish Storytelling Centre on Sunday 24 January. The original cast of Caroline Deyga, Jessica Hardwick and Samar MacLaren, were joined by Gordon Kennedy, Simon Donaldson and Gus Brown.

Directed by Marilyn Imrie, the young ladies entertained the packed house as they met German composer, Friedrich Handel and satirical artist William Hogarth.

A second recoding session is scheduled for Sunday 31st January at 7.30pm at The Scottish Storytelling Centre. Tickets are currently sold out but there may be returns during the week or on the day so please check with their box office.
Click here to check for tickets

The six episodes for BBC Radio Four will be broadcast later this year. Produced by Absolutely Productions.

The original production of The Fair Intellectual Club was performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2104 at the Assembly Room, and was followed by a tour in Spring 2015 produced in association with Stellar Quines.

Kath Mainland

How would you describe your current role and what do you like best about it?

I’m the Chief Executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, the organisation that underpins the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. There are lots of things that I love about it, but for sure the best thing is getting to experience all the wonderful artists and companies that come to the Fringe each summer from all over the world – bringing the best comedy, theatre, music and dance (amongst other things!) for the delight of the audiences. That and meeting and working with some truly amazing people.

What was your first ever job?

Weirdly, my first proper job was here too. I was admin assistant in those days (20 odd years ago). Very different in those days, but it’s definitely when I caught the Fringe bug.

Has there been a particular person or opportunity that you feel has made the most difference to your career?

Working for Mhairi Mackenzie Robinson who was my boss at the Fringe in the 90s taught me an enormous amount. She instilled the importance of honesty, integrity and appreciating that everyone is different and has different motivations. She was fiercely loyal, and would always stand up for her staff and Fringe artists. I hope I’ve done that too.

What has been your favourite theatre or arts event?

Wow – too many to mention. Definitely at the Fringe where you can see the most outstanding, surprising, world class work. We’re an impartial organisation so it wouldn’t be appropriate to single out one particular event, but I have seen things here that have entertained, delighted and challenged my perception of myself and the world I live in. That’s pretty amazing!

What do you find most rewarding about working within the arts?

I’m passionate about the arts, their place in society and what they can do for us, and so I’m very privileged to do what I do. I’ve worked with the most extraordinary talented, dedicated, clever people, and working in this industry has made me feel like I’m part of a big family, which just knocks me out!

What is the best advice you would give to anyone looking for a career in arts management?

Do it. There are so many opportunities in the arts, and lots of companies and individuals who will provide chances to young people starting out. Seek out people or companies who inspire you and ask if you can be involved. Be prepared to work hard and take every opportunity to learn.  And know you’re doing something you love.

Who would your Stellar Quine of the month be and why?

Wow, that’s difficult. So many to choose from. But I’m going to pick Faith Liddell. Faith and I worked together at the Fringe in the 90s and she’s just stepped down from her role as the founding director of Festivals Edinburgh. She is beautiful, talented, tenacious, clever and a fierce and articulate champion of what we do. And I’m proud to call her my friend.  She properly is a stellar Quine!



Festival fever begins!

Edinburgh Summer Festival Programmes

The sun is out and we currently have piles of programmes on our desks, which can only mean one thing, festival season is upon us!  Here at Stellar Quines HQ we’re busily preparing for our part in this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe – the presentation of Jennifer Tremblay’s Trilogy of plays The List, The Carousel and The Deliverance.


Muriel and Maureen in Rehearsal RoomAmidst the flurry of launches in the last couple of weeks we’ve been delighted to see the trilogy feature in The Skinny’s top festival picks, Lyn Gardner’s recommendations “if you didn’t catch Maureen Beattie in The List in 2013 make sure you do it this year as part of the Jennifer Tremblay Trilogy” and Time Out Edinburgh’s Top 5.

Rehearsals also began last week in Edinburgh, and the team will come together in full for rehearsals at Dundee Rep from next week until we preview at the Rep on the 24th, 25th and 26th July; and before heading to the Borders to preview The Deliverance at Eastgate Theatre and Arts Centre and Heart of Hawick prior to our festival run.


Faith Liddell

How would you describe the work that you do?

Basically, it’s all about collaboration. I work with the 12 major festivals in Edinburgh on their joint strategic ambition working across programme investment, international working, marketing, innovation and environmental practice. In order to this, we collaborate in turn with a whole range of creative and funding partners in our city, in Scotland and indeed across the world. It’s a wonderful job that has constantly evolved over the last 8 years.

What do you like best about it?

Keeping great company and the constant, intense learning involved in what still feels like an endless experiment.

What do you consider your best work and why?

There are individual productions and projects I’ve produced or created and of course, there is a visceral thrill in seeing these coming together – which probably has something to do with the fear that comes before. However, I do feel the scale and depth of this work with the festivals and the fact that a lot of our approaches have rolled out into the wider cultural or tourism sectors, has been profoundly satisfying – which probably has something to do with the fact that it is so bloody challenging getting to that collaborative sweet spot.

What was your first ever job?

My first job was in a bar and my first job in the arts was in a bar, the Traverse Theatre when it was still in the Grassmarket.

What was the contact/opportunity/job offer that you feel has made the most difference to your career?

Well, weirdly it might have been that one. When I was working in the Traverse Bar, the job of Marketing Manager came up and I wrote cheeky letter to Ian Brown and Ann Bonnar who were running the theatre at the time and said I wasn’t really a bar person but a market research wiz and that, working on the front line, I knew more about their audiences than they did. They interviewed me and it was one of the most humiliating experiences of my life but it got me noticed and when the Box Office Manager job came up, Katie Stuart (currently with the FST) offered me the job. She didn’t even ask if I could count! It was my entry into the professional world of the arts, my life’s work and the friendships that continue to sustain me.

What’s the biggest opportunity that you missed or wished you had taken up but didn’t? 

Do you know, I’m mostly with Edith Piaf on that one. I tend to be very clear about what I need and want and focused in pursuing these. However, I have fallen in love with Brazil and Brazilians later in life and think I would have moved there if that coup de foudre had happened in my early 30s, but I have very precious friendships and have had some wonderful adventures there. I could say a lot more about the things I shouldn’t have pursued!

What’s your favourite play or piece of theatre?

I was talking about this with a colleague just the other week and we both agreed that Robert Lepage’s Dragon Trilogy at the Tramway was a transformational theatrical moment for both of us, that it bound us permanently and passionately to the world of theatre as audiences and professionals.

What do you like the best about working in the arts?

Being the privileged witness to that first moment of encounter between the art and the audience, be it a play, a dance piece, an exhibition, a film premier, a musical commission or newborn song. To feel, the pride, the curiosity, the fear and the anticipation invested in that moment and the sense that what we are doing matters even if it doesn’t always work out.

What advice would you give emerging female practitioners in the arts today?

What can I say? I’m still learning but I reflect a lot on the value of what I do with my colleagues and indeed on how to do it. I laugh a lot too. As a woman working in the arts I think you have to develop complex combinations of attitude or artistry – for example integrity of purpose and steeliness of will, expansiveness of mind and intensive attention to detail. Most important though, is learning how to sit in complexity of all kinds, until the right idea evolves. I think women are good at that, at avoiding the orthodoxies and looking for the real answer not the right one.

Who would your Stellar Quine of the month be and why?

You’ve featured some of the Stellar Quines in my life already and I work and have fun with some truly wonderful women. Can I give a collaborative answer and nominate the four stellar festival directors/Executive Directors I work with – Kath Mainland, Joanna Baker, Sorcha Carey and Julie Weston. I learn from and relish them all.

Faith Liddell was recently awarded an OBE for Services to the Arts in the New Years Honours List 2015.