In the recently-opened darkness of Fort Tightlaced at the Art’s Complex in Edinburgh, the Spirit of Fringe Theatre finally has a home.
Formed by Jennifer McGregor and Flavia D’Avila in 2008, Tightlaced Theatre was intended as a one-off fundraising vehicle in aid of St Columba’s Hospice, with a performance of The House Plant: a collaboration with Jennifer and Flavia’s actor and playwright friends and contacts.
Then, about a year later, Jennifer had the idea of tying up the laces once more: this time with a view to making something more lasting.
The ethos behind Tightlaced is simple: to give a platform for new writing; something which they believe there is ample talent and appetite for in Edinburgh – even beyond the month of August.
With a string of successful and acclaimed productions now under their figurative corsets, the company has a collective of associate artists, such as Edinburgh-based actress and tutor Danielle Farrow; and some talented resident writers, including Robert Howat, Rob David and Fiona McDonald.
The company’s name came about from Jennifer’s fascination with history and burlesque, and the front-of-house Tightlaced ladies’ signature red corsets are now something of a trademark. Similarly, Fort Tightlaced was intended as a tongue-in-cheek working title for their new permanent home in the Art’s Complex. It’s a name that’s stuck.
Recently renovated and opened with the help of financial backing from sponsors Edinburgh Ink Shop and PropsMaster, the ‘Fort’ is a two-room office and studio space which now gives the company a base in which to rehearse, operate and perform. An intimate venue, it is likely to be used for rehearsed readings of works-in-progress, although it may be utilised in more innovative and intimate ways in the future too.
As a permanent base of operations, Fort Tightlaced will also allow the company to flourish, continuing to produce some of the most intriguing and interesting new theatre that the city has to offer.
And no doubt the Spirit Of Fringe Theatre, grateful for its new home, will assist Tightlaced in achieving the success and recognition they deserve for helping make Edinburgh a place where new writing can be heard all year round.