Award-winning musician ready for her Fringe debut

Award-winning musician and songwriter Rowan Rheingans makes her Edinburgh Festival Fringe debut with her ambitious and deeply personal solo show Dispatches on The Red Dress.

An urgent and timely true story, this intimate and innovative piece of gig theatre explores Rowan’s German grandmother’s youth in 1940’s Germany.

With genre-melding fluidity, Rowan weaves immersive storytelling around 10 new songs performed live with fiddle, banjo and guitar.

In the current time of deeply felt political tensions, with the rise of racism in our communities and a new nationalistic fervour gaining pace across Europe, Dispatches on the Red Dress is a highly resonant provocation for our current political and social climate.

Slowly revealing what is at once a warm family story and a troubling elegy on the modern human condition, Rowan explores how hope for the future may be found in the very darkest pockets of our history…

Rowan is a five times nominee at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, scooping the prestigious ‘Best Original Track’ award in 2016.

Rowan is also a member of the 10 piece super-group ‘Songs of Separation’, alongside folk legends Karine Polwart and Eliza Carthy, whose album won the highly coveted ‘Best Album’ award in 2017. She has spent two years immersed in her family history creating the show, with the fiddle and banjo she plays on stage created by her instrument-maker father who came to the UK from Germany in the 1980s.

She said: ‘For me, this is a show about horror and beauty. It is also about trauma recovery, birdsong, war and waltzes. Hidden in the folds of my own grandmother’s story, there is a profound darkness alongside, I think, a deeply hopeful message about humanity’s capacity for transformation.

‘It feels important, in our current social and political climate of half-truths and fake news, fuelling a collective inertia that sometimes feels akin to a dangerous forgetting or mis-remembering of history, to share this story. I hope it will spur conversations about how we can resist the rise of the far right in constructive, supportive, creative ways. It is about the peace-making potential of telling different kinds of stories…’

Developed in collaboration with Liam Hurley (Karine Polwart’s Wind Resistance) the live show brings the intimacy of a folk concert to meet the ancient traditions of storytelling and textures of contemporary theatre in a troubling, tender and powerful performance. Rowan’s first solo album, The Lines We Draw Together, is a companion to the show and will be released in late August.

Venue: Scottish Storytelling Centre, 43-45 High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1SR.

Dates: Preview: 15 August 6pm, 16-26 August 6pm – not 20 August