British Army is performing as part of the Fringe

Think of the British Army, and the chances are, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival isn’t something you’d immediately associate with it.

However, prepare for a surprise, as, for the second time ever, they will be participating in the Fringe with their own productions.

Brigadier Robin Lindsay, Commander, 51 Infantry Brigade and Headquarters Scotland, believes it’s an important move which will allow the public to have a better understanding of the armed forces in the modern day.

He said: ‘For three weeks in August the Army in Scotland becomes part of the world’s biggest arts festival, The Edinburgh Fringe, during which a working Army drill hall becomes a venue for the arts.

‘This is our second year at the Fringe and we’ll be showcasing military themed productions, some of which will challenge the audience’s perception of the Army, soldiering and Service.

‘Why, you may ask, are the Army throwing open its doors?  Few would expect to go to an Army Barracks to watch a play, to listen to music, or to take part in a discussion about the military LGBTQ+ community.

‘The traditional view that many hold of the Army often differs from the reality.  We are an organisation rooted in our society; we live in and contribute to our communities, but sometimes we lack the depth of dialogue we need to make a genuine connection with society.

‘So, with The Army@TheFringe we are eager to tread a different path; to ask challenging questions and to engage with a broader audience, particularly those we are unlikely to reach through our everyday work. We aim to show that the British Army moves outside the fences that surround our barracks, and that we are delighted to have an open dialogue about what we do for the society we spring from.’

The Brigadier explained that there is a wide and varied programme to their programme, which is not what many would expect.

He continued: ‘In this year’s BBC Reith Lectures, Professor Margaret MacMillan explored the “tangled history of war and society.” She tells us that art and war are inextricable; that war and soldiering are deeply human and that it’s through the arts that human society gives expression to these emotions.

‘So this year, an Army Reserve centre in Edinburgh’s East Claremont Street becomes Fringe Venue 210 and will host a number of productions that look at the human aspect of soldiering.

‘The Troth and In-valid Voices will consider the diversity that has existed in the Army for generations, the contributions of Sikh, and Commonwealth soldiers and their subsequent treatment. Cezary Goes to War presents a Polish view of military life.

‘Forget Me Nots will look at the challenge that the LGBTQI+ community used to face in military service and two shows, Wired and Shell Shocked will represent views on how mental health problems are recognised and resolved in the modern Army.

‘In association with Summerhall, we aim provide a unique stage, while the artists themselves choose the direction of the performance. See you there.’

Read more about the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scottish Field HERE.