The Last Tassel On The Fringe

August 20, 2017 — 49 Comments

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It’s been an absolute dream to be part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this summer. I took part as a member of the Scottish Opera team, who performed an opera specifically created for babies aged 6 to 18 months, called BambinO! After our successful run in the Manchester International Festival, I was excited to be part of the team to take BambinO to a new venue in Edinburgh, enabling different families to encounter the wonder of this beautiful Opera.

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Back Row: Laura Sergeant & Stuart Semple Front Row: Me & Timothy Connor

My role in the production is Uccellina, a bird who discovers an egg.  The egg grows and hatches revealing a baby bird, called Pulcino (Timothy Connor), he takes Uccellina for his mother and explores the world.  I’m initially happy though a bit annoyed at his hyperactive behaviour, we reconcile quickly being pleased to have found each other.  I tell Pulcino of the sky and its wonders and that it’s his destiny to fly from our nest, although also sad about the thought of being separated, we are caught up in our excitement of his first flight.  When Pulcino is ready to fly we sing our final duet of farewell, he soars among the clouds and I ponder his journey.

The show kept the original music wonderfully performed by Laura Sergeant on Cello and Stuart Semple on Percussion, drama, set and costume and we continued to make babies gurgle, laugh, squeak, sing and occasional cry! I couldn’t believe that our show sold out within the first couple of days and that many who missed out wanted details of the dates for our performances in Glasgow in the Autumn.

We began on the 8th August 2017 and continued until our last performances today. Our shows took place at 10:00 am and 11:30 am each day. I loved every minute of each show, and though we had early morning calls it was definitely worth it.  Joining us in Edinburgh to complete our gang were the delightful Lee Reynolds, Julie Burns and Paula Duncan. Their help was outstanding and enabled each show to go on without any troubles. It has been an absolute pleasure working with them. It was also wonderful to see the education team join us at the venue and share in the joy these performances have brought to their young audiences, and their parents, and grandparents, many of whom told me it was their first opera too.

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Back Row: Me, Paula Duncan, Julie Burns Front Row: Lee Reynolds, David Sneddon, Audrey Blake

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Lee Reynolds, Audrey Blake, Julie Burns, and David Sneddon

Waiting For David

Julie Burns, Lee Reynolds, Me, and Laura Sergeant

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Julie Burns, Me, and Lee Reynolds

I was also able to see some of the festival myself as an audience member as my super-duper family came up to support me and to celebrate my Mum and Brother Matt’s birthdays. We saw some fabulous shows and these were the ones that stood out.

 

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Me and my Brother Matt

 

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Ada Campe and the Psychic Duck

We fell upon this show by accident, having joined up with my Mum, Dad and brother Tom and his girlfriend Anna on Saturday 12th we decided to explore what the fringe had to offer.  Walking along we were approached by a persuasive assistant outside the venue and as the show was due to start we decided to pop in.  The show did not disappoint, Ada Campe was an entertaining and articulate performer whose act recounted stories of her life as a variety performer.  She kept the audience enthralled for the 50 minutes she was on stage, delivered adlib lines with aplomb, drew belly laughs from the audience and when she interacted with the audience you laughed with them not at them which is a tremendous skill.  We all enjoyed this little gem.

Meow Meow’s Little Mermaid

This was a late-night show which started at 10:30 pm so the only chance we had to watch it was on Sunday night as my day off was on the Monday.  So, I booked tickets for my two brothers Matt and Tom who came along with me to watch. The show was an enticing cabaret full of laughter, aerial stunts, music and singing.  We had a blast in ‘The Hub’ our seats were a fabulously situated in a fabulous purple booth in which we could truly relax and unwind after a busy day. It was an especially wonderful show for me as my fellow BambinO cast member Stuart Semple was playing! Goodness knows how he managed to juggle his late evening performances for this show with the early starts of our baby opera! He’s a true trooper!

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Velvet Evening Seance

To sample some of the drama of the fringe we decided on my day off to check out some of the shows on offer.  We liked the sound of this one man show, which was set in a Victorian court room.  The monologue was delivered eloquently with sufficient depth to draw you in as the story developed.  The script cleverly twisted in different directions providing enough misdirection to make you think about the guilt of the accused.  Would you send him to the gallows?

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Into The Woods

Though I missed out on this performance my Mum, Dad and brother Matt said they thoroughly enjoyed the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s Musical Theatre department production. Maybe I will get the chance to catch it again as they were singing about it for a couple of days.

Into The Woods

It was lovely to combine my holiday with work and take some time to catch up with my family.

On our last performance day, today the cast and crew celebrated with lots of cake, homemade shortbread in the shape of birds (by the wonderful Paula), tarts, cups of tea and surprise party poppers from the marvelous Stuart Semple after our final bow.

I had such a blast and can’t wait to work with everyone again in October!

Please click on the above images to see a larger copy.

49 responses to The Last Tassel On The Fringe

  1. 

    Nice, very good, congratulations !! Nice to see you have some good time with your lovely familly and you work with great teams ! Very happy for you Charlotte !

    Wish you the best !!

    • 

      I’ve learnt so much from this experience, I was getting up every day at 6:30 it’s a good thing I like early mornings 😀. It’s been a lovely experience, seeing the babies reactions is a treat and the parents have told me how much they enjoyed it, more than they thought they would.
      Best wishes to you too ✨
      Charlotte

  2. 

    What fun! And the hats are incredibly cool!

    • 

      It is! The hats were made by @SallyAnnProvan from Edinburgh, she did an amazing job, they’re still intact and are a real talking point. I wish I was still in Glasgow next week because she has an event on to talk about how she set up her business and made her career start. I’m fascinated with how people make their break in the arts worlds.
      Best wishes Cindy 💕
      Charlotte

  3. 

    Sounds like you had so much fun! I’ve visited Edinburgh during the Fringe but not seen a show during the time. It is special and I am happy that you got to experience this wonderful time. I love Edinburgh, I’ve not been for a few years, really need to rectify that! x

    • 

      There is so much to see and do at the Edinburgh festival, there are lots of comedy acts, mini dramas, dancing, my parents felt overwhelmed with leaflets. If I ever performed in the fringe I think the person you have outside the venue with the flyers is key, the woman who persuaded us to see Ada Campe was brilliant, we didn’t know what to expect from the flyer, my brother thought it was a drag queen act but it was just very good fun. We all bought a drink from the bar so that was good for the venue too. Definitely worth popping up for a weekend 👍🏻.
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  4. 

    Sounds absolutely wonderful, Charlotte. So glad that you got to celebrate birthdays too, with the family. You are one busy young lady! Congrats on selling out the performances and on to Glasgow!

    • 

      Thanks Darlene. The restaurant we went to on Matt’s birthday, noticed his gifts and unrequested came out with cake with a candle in it and banged drums and sang happy birthday 🎉- he loved it. The Chaophraya for anyone in Edinburgh or Glasgow fab food.
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  5. 

    Fabulous, all of it.
    I love the delicious irony of being introduced to opera by one’s baby grandchild!

  6. 

    Wonderful, dear Charlotte! I hope Bambino will continue its success! And the golden egg is stunning too 🙂 I’m happy that you’ve had such a wonderful experience this summer!
    Best wishes,
    Maria 🙂

  7. 

    Sounds like a super time. Thanks for the recap.

  8. 

    A lot of fun you had there not only you performed as well as other shows that you attended. Sounds like you had a lovely time.

  9. 

    A glorious time had by all! What tremendous energy and we can feel the joy all the way over here, on the other side of the pond. Cheers!!

  10. 

    Glorious events and so much fun!

  11. 

    Sounds like a wonderful time with your family and performing with your friends. Thanks for sharing all the lovely photos! 😘🤗

  12. 

    Dear Charlotte,
    The Bambino show was a success and you have a lot to be thankful for. May the Lord continue to show His kindness to you and your family.

  13. 

    What a great post Charlotte. You brought the excitement, diversity of talent and overall feeling of the festival atmosphere to your blog. I felt drawn into your world for a short time and it was lovely. It was also lovely to see you with the family celebrating birthdays, everyone looks as though they had a really good time. Keep up the good work, see you soon.😘

  14. 

    Sounds like a great time. I love to hear the stories of your family coming up to support you. And thanks for the synopsis on Bambino. Phew! For a moment there, I thought you were going to say Pulcino died after leaving the nest. In most of the operas I have seen, there is usually someone who doesn’t make it out alive (offered tongue in cheek, of course).

    • 

      😀😄😂 So true. I watched a tv program once, David Attenborough I think, where the birds first flights were touch and go with many of the chicks crashing into the mountain side on the way down, it was horrendous, I’m glad Liam and Phelim didn’t see it, 👅 firmly in cheek.
      It’s so nice to have everyone together.
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  15. 

    An outstanding family, exceptional talent and hard work – all the elements for success. I am so glad your expectations of returning came out as wished. The broad smiles in the pictures and in your voice here express exactly what I knew would happen!! Congratulations, Charlotte!!

    • 

      Thank you GP, the family all had one last weekend break together over this bank holiday, fabulous sunny weather and now my room is ready and clean back to move into for the start of my second Masters year. BambinO has gone down really well and I’ve been really happy with the feedback from the audiences, I believe that it’s enabled me to grow as a performer.
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  16. 

    So pleased you all had a good time in Edinburgh Charlotte.
    Celebrating the opera getting the chance to go to the theatre, eating out.
    Have a rest now, before it all starts again..xx

  17. 

    How great that BambinO was such a success – and that you loved every minute of it. You make a very pretty bird! 😀 The whole Festival looks and sounds wonderful and I’m glad you managed to get out and about with your family to see some of it. I’d love to head up to Edinburgh to see some of this famous event one year. Such lovely photos, Charlotte. You all look so happy. 😀

    • 

      I think you’d love it Millie, I wish we’d got some more information about the shows and venues before we were there so we could plan ahead what we wanted to see, where the venues were and what times they started.
      I believe the Edinburgh Tattoo is fantastic too.
      Had a lovely time and a day off today 😀.
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

      • 

        You certainly deserve the rest, Charlotte! Yes, having some kind of info about different shows would help people plan which ones they’d like to see. There’ll probably be lists with the organisers, but whether they make them available for the public is the question. 🙂

  18. 

    I am so pleased that BambinO was a sell-out success! How nice that you were able to spend time with your family and see some of the shows!

    • 

      Thank you Clare, I haven’t had as much time at home this year so it was great to see everyone together. All the family loved the show and believe me they’d tell me if they didn’t! In fact they said it was brilliant just watching the babies reactions.
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  19. 

    Your posts always bring both a smile to my face and also supplies inspiration to continue chasing the dream, and enjoying the journey fully along the way. Congratulations Charlotte, wish you a wonderful autumn 🙂

    • 

      Before the next show I’m going to get into smile preparation to exercise my facial muscles hehe. This year is another big fork in the road for me, my final year of masters. Difficult to know exactly what to do next as the choice isn’t all mine, some important auditions coming up etc. Good health and happiness to you too Randall.
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  20. 

    OMG, Charlotte, you guys are so adorable. I love that you find ways to perform in a wide range of venues. Bravissima!

    • 

      I’ve really enjoyed the variety of venues, I’ll admit I enjoy the slightly bigger rooms best, although not those that are too big. We really did get to bring the production to a very wide range of audiences, in Edinburgh we had people from China and Japan and I spoke to a lovely couple with their baby from Italy in Italian so that was great fun. In Rochdale and Hyde we got to present the performance to people who were worried they wouldn’t like it but really loved it and they now want to listen and see more. That is very exciting to me. One Dad said I could hire myself out as Mary Poppins hehe because I stopped his baby crying hehe.
      Lovely to hear from you Beth 🙂
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  21. 

    Love your costume and the very interesting stage set put together for BambinO. Does having such a young audience ever cause you and the others any issues as far as managing auditory levels?

    • 

      When I first saw the costume I was surprised it was dark, in my mind I’d sort of envisioned yellow (too much Big Bird) it actually worked a treat with the babies, especially the hat and I’m not kidding when I say several babies actually recognised me out of costume in the Street and in a couple of shops with my makeup off which really amazed me as they pointed before their parents recognised what they were pointing at.
      There was proper research done on the noise levels and our Director and composer did take it into account, with adjustments that Timothy and I make according to the size of the room. To be honest the majority of babies aren’t shocked at all and when you think about the noise some of them can make it’s not a surprise :D. When the parents are relaxed the babies are too, I’ve had babies plonk themselves in the middle of my nest of cushions and had to build my nest around them too. They imitate our sounds and actions and when I tell Pulcino off they know he’s in trouble.
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

      • 

        Wow, what a revelation about the impact you and your music have on the little ones! That is amazing. It must be such a treat for you to witness their active engagement not only during the performance but afterwards as well.

  22. 

    Look at those costumes! I can tell you’re having such a hoot 🙂

  23. 

    Nice, very good, congratulations !! Nice to see you have some good time with your lovely familly and you work with great teams ! Very happy for you Charlotte !
    Wish you the best !!

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