FRINGE PREVIEW: Fair Trade by Shatterbox (Pleasance Dome)

4th – 30th August (not 16th or 23rd)
3.30-4.30pm, Pleasance Dome

Fair Trade by Shatterbox

Fair Trade by Shatterbox

Plays based on verbatim accounts can often be powerful and moving, with the knowledge that the words you are hearing performed are genuine and factual records of what someone actually said.

With its subject matter of human trafficking for the sex industry, Fair Trade by Shatterbox Theatre Company may be one of the most powerful yet.

Based on interviews with two real-life victims of the trafficking trade, the play – whilst shocking and harrowing – also uses humour, music and movement to underscore the message and to entertain at the same time.

Actress Emma Thompson – a champion against human trafficking as chair of The Bamber Association – is executive producer of Shatterbox and is “extremely proud to be involved” in a production which she says has “one of the best scripts I’ve seen in ages”.

Co-founded by Anna Holbek and Shelley Davenport in 2008, Shatterbox’s aim is to raise awareness of socio-political issues through the medium of theatre.

With recent performances of Fair Trade at The Latitude Festival and in London behind them, we spoke to Anna to find out more about the piece and Shatterbox’s plans for Edinburgh.

Tell us a little bit about your show – where’s it happening, what’s it about, why should people come to see it?

Emma Thompson present Fair Trade will be on at the Pleasance Dome (venue 23) from Wednesday 4th to Monday 30th August (except Monday 16th and Monday 23rd).

The play is based on verbatim accounts of two women who were trafficked into the UK for sexual exploitation and uses drama, music, choreography and humour to relay these stories.

A unique approach to the subject matter, Shatterbox are careful not present a piece that becomes too worthy; a play that allows an audience member to be entertained at the same time as receiving quite shocking information. The play is designed to raise awareness about sex trafficking using interesting and exciting theatrical devices so as to inspire their audience rather than preach to them.

How will you be promoting your show?

We have already received some great press coverage which is helping sell the show very well before even arriving up in Scotland. We also had a really positive response to our previews at Latitude and Rich Mix in London which has given us a good platform for the run at the Pleasance.

Once up in Edinburgh the company will be promoting the show daily with flyers and hopefully some entertaining street performances to lure the crowds in.

If this is your first time in Edinburgh, what are you expecting?

As a company it will be Shatterbox’s first experience of Edinburgh and a great opportunity to give the show a good life.

Personally I have attended the festival for many years and always love it, but have never stayed for the full month, so this is something I am really looking forward to experiencing for the first time.

Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival has an atmosphere like no other, of excitement and passion with a constant buzz of high energy that keeps you going at a hundred miles an hour throughout. There are so many like-minded theatre and comedy lovers/performers all pushing to make their show the one to see at the festival, it is inspiring and makes you work hard to stay at the top of your game.

I love the thrill of the challenge.

And what are you hoping for?

We would certainly hope to create a great reputation at the festival. It will be our longest run as a new theatre company, so a great opportunity to try and make all the hard work pay off.

Hopefully people will also learn something about the issues the play deals with.

If money was no object, what publicity stunt would you do to promote your show?

I would arrange for the mightily expensive but incredible art installation ‘Journey’ (which inspired ‘Fair Trade’ originally) to be brought up to the festival and placed within Bristo Square (or nearby) so that those interested in our play may view the seven shipping containers created by various artists spanning the journey of a trafficked girl’s experience, in order that they may gain further understanding of the cause we deal with in our show.

And also those who stumble upon the containers would be pointed in the direction of our play having walked through and viewed the installation.

Who else are you planning or hoping to see?

I’d certainly like to check out all the other plays that deal with the subject of sex trafficking. Having missed Che Walker’s ‘Loveplay’ at Latitude Festival I would be keen to see that.

I’d like to catch a bunch of comedy acts and have been recommended to see Andrew Ryan and Joe Lycett. I’m also looking forward to seeing Lady Garden finally. The list could go on for miles, but there’s a taster.

What do you have planned for after the Fringe?

We are hoping for good feedback from our month run and keeping fingers crossed that the demand that has started to happen for the show to re-start in 2011 increases.

We are penciled into a London venue for a month’s run in 2011 and have interest from various UK venues to book the show for a tour.

Sum up your show in three words for us:

Powerful, true, eye-opener

You can order tickets for Fair Trade on The Pleasance website.

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