Mid-Fringe: Brief Reflections

Hi folks! We’re halfway through the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and I’m writing with some brief reflections.

This month I’ve been working with the spoken word collective Loud Poets on our Fringe show at the Scottish Storytelling Centre. It’s a dynamic slam poetry show with a live band improvising onstage, with ten poets swapping out each night so we always present the audience with a different show. It’s been so fun to work with such talented, passionate performers who always bring 100% to the stage. If you’re interested in checking out the show, we’re on every night at 9pm at the Scottish Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh (tix here). My remaining performance dates are the 23rd, 25th, 28th, 30th, and 31.

Loud Poets, Scottish Storytelling Centre, 10 Aug 2015. L-R: Michael Wood, Agnes Török, Harry Baker, Katie Ailes, Kevin Mclean, Carly Brown, Sam Thorne, Miko Berry. Photo credit: Nicola Stanley.

Loud Poets, Scottish Storytelling Centre, 10 Aug 2015. L-R: Michael Wood, Agnes Török, Harry Baker, Katie Ailes, Kevin Mclean, Carly Brown, Sam Thorne, Miko Berry. Photo credit: Nicola Stanley.

I’ve written about this before when Loud Poets went to the Brighton Fringe festival, but doing the Edinburgh Fringe with Loud Poets has driven the point home even further: producing, publicising, and performing a show is an incredible amount of work. All of the folks involved in Loud Poets are either in full-time jobs or education; none of us do this full-time. It’s a labour of love, with emphasis on both labour and love. When everyone is out flyering, posting on social media, and performing with gusto every day, it’s a testament not only to our passion for poetry, but also of the strong sense of community Loud Poets has built, where everyone contributes to the show and feels invested in it.

Another project I’ve been involved in this Fringe is FLOW! It’s a brilliant experimental project bringing dancers and spoken word artists together to create improvised text and movement pieces. As intimidatingly artsy as that may sound, it’s also a huge amount of fun! I’m going to be posting soon about the experience of performing poetry with dancers and improvising dance to other poets’ texts; performing with FLOW! was a rich artistic experience which I’m still unpacking, so more on that soon.

FLOW! Fringe, Aug 19th, Sweet Venues Grassmarket. Katie Ailes & Penny Chivas. Photo credit: Gemma Connell.

FLOW! Fringe, Aug 19th, Sweet Venues Grassmarket. Katie Ailes & Penny Chivas. Photo credit: Gemma Connell.

A personal highlight: I was able to see my all-time dance icon, Sylvie Guillem, perform in her final world tour on Aug. 9. Sylvie’s dancing is beyond words: strength tempered with fluidity, so charismatic, and always challenging itself. Age (she’s 50) seemed to have no effect on her dancing other than the wisdom of decades of performance honing her every movement. It was an honour to be in that audience and witness a star’s final bows.

My first poetry collection was published a couple of weeks ago, and I couldn’t be more excited about it! I’ll be posting soon about the process of compiling the collection: the challenges of translating performance poetry for the page, taking somewhat disparate poems and finding common threads, using a narrative construct for the collection, and penning new pieces to hold the collection together. If you are interested in purchasing a copy of Homing, please come along to a Loud Poets show this August, where they’re on sale before and after each show! Alternately, just send me a message through the Contact form on this website and I’m happy to mail you a copy.

Homing has been published! Photo credit: Kevin Mclean.

Homing has been published! Photo credit: Kevin Mclean.

Folks who read this blog for essays rather than updates: I feel you! This summer has been beyond hectic, but in the autumn I will begin posting essays again, in conjunction with beginning my PhD researching spoken word poetry in the U.K. I’m very excited to delve into formal research on this subject I’m so passionate about, and can’t wait to share what I find with you.

Hope your summer has been as inspiring as it is relaxing. -Katie

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2 responses to “Mid-Fringe: Brief Reflections

  1. Pingback: Starting the PhD: Another Journey Begins! | Katie Ailes

  2. Pingback: 2015: Year in Review | Katie Ailes

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