4-30 August (not the 16th)
5.30-6.25pm at C Soco
During a trip to Paris, successful corporate management consultant Ali Kennedy-Scott realised she was on the wrong path. The Australian-born writer and actress ditched her job, enrolled at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and now is bringing her emotionally-charged and powerful one-woman show The Day the Sky Turned Black to the Fringe.
We spoke to Ali about her show, its inspiration and her plans for Edinburgh and beyond.
1. Tell us a little bit about your show – where’s it happening, what’s it about, why should people come to see it?
The Day the Sky Turned Black is a one-act play which chronicles the poignant stories of everyday heroes who fought the ‘Black Saturday’ bushfires, now known as Australia’s greatest natural disaster. The bushfires claimed 173 lives, destroyed 8000 homes and generated energy equivalent to 1500 atomic bombs
The show, playing at C SOCO August 4-30 at 5:30pm, is based on interviews with survivors, journalists and a global arson expert, and charts 5 characters’ personal journey from before the fire’s arrival, to their return home and the rebuilding of their lives.
People should come and see the play because it is full of captivating true stories. Watching people overcome adversity is inspirational and reminds us that we are all more powerful and capable than we know. The play is deeply moving but also full of humour. It’s a roller coaster of emotion that leaves the audience with a message of hope for the future.
2. Do you ever regret swapping a corporate career for a theatrical life?
I’ve always had a love of performing. Even at 3 years old, I was so known for entertaining my neighbours with stories that they called me ‘have-a-chat’.
Switching back to the student life was tough. It was a constant balancing act financially, but not once did I wish to swap my tinned baked beans for asparagus tips!
3. How will you be promoting your show?
We’ll be promoting the show through a big publicity photo event that will involve hundreds of people, followed by an Aussie Barbie and beers. It should be a great day!
We’ll also be hitting the streets with flyers and using the Fringe stages set up on the Royal Mile to perform excerpts. Do look out for our posters – they show a woman holding a paper house.
4. If this is your first time in Edinburgh, what are you expecting?
I’ve been to Edinburgh as a tourist but not as a performer. I’m expecting some of the most intense 4 weeks of my life. Fantastic theatre, masses of people, performing every day, meeting people at night, flyering like crazy and having a ball!
5. And what are you hoping for?
I’m hoping audiences will be as captivated by the show in Edinburgh as they have been in Australia. I’ve performed the show at the Adelaide Fringe and in Sydney to many international visitors who knew nothing about bushfires but were captured by the inspirational stories of people overcoming adversity and pulling together in tough times.
I hope the reviewers attend and enjoy the show. We were lucky enough to be awarded 4.5 stars in Adelaide so fingers crossed for Edinburgh!
I also hope promoters are interested in taking the show to their theatres in Europe and/or the Americas. I believe the show has a universal message regarding the experience of natural disaster that all can appreciate.
6. If money was no object, what publicity stunt would you do to promote your show?
I would fly all the heroes who fought these fires over to Edinburgh for the Festival. I’d organise a parade or some way for them to be honoured and I’d invite them all to the show so they could see how their stories inspire audiences around the world.
7. Who else are you planning or hoping to see?
I would love to see all the other verbatim theatre works, also Rhythm, Drum & Dance, plus some great comedians, and, of course, all the shows at C venues!
8. What do you have planned for after the Fringe?
The current plan is to head back to Australia. I’m currently organising further tours of the show to Victoria (where the fires occurred) and Canberra – the home of Australian federal politics. There are some pretty key issues raised in the show, especially about the lack of arson prevention programs for adults in Australia. I believe it’s important to bring this issue to the government’s attention often enough so they’ll do something about it and prevent further deaths.
9. Sum up your show in three words for us
True, Inspiring, Raw