Edge Hill will be showcasing some of its talent at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe, which is the largest arts festival in the world taking place every August for three weeks.

Every year thousands of performers take to hundreds of stages all over Edinburgh to present shows for every taste. From big names in the world of entertainment to unknown artists looking to build their careers, the festival caters for everyone and includes theatre, comedy, dance, physical theatre, circus, cabaret, children’s shows, musicals, opera, music, spoken word, exhibitions and events.

Edge Hill’s Creative Writing lecturer Billy Cowan will be showcasing his award-winning play Care Takers, former student and actress Phina Oruche will perform Identity Crisis, and Naughty Corner Productions, a theatre company made up of Edge Hill graduates, will perform their shows Dirty Glitter and Not the Horse.

In addition, Edge Hill University Press, the University’s own literary imprint which is run by students, will launch its first publication Head Land at Edinburgh International Book Festival which will run alongside the Fringe.

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe will run from 5th – 29th August 2016.

Video : Edge Hill invades Edinburgh Festival

Billy Cowan’s play named “one of the best” at the Edinburgh Fringe


Billy Cowan, award-winning playwright and Creative Writing lecturer at Edge Hill University, has received huge recognition for his play Care Takers, which is showing at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

The play has received a 5 star review from Broadway Baby, who describe it as “pure theatre at its best: a simple plot wrapped in a clever script performed by consummate actors.” And the most recent review comes from Steve Stratford, National Adviser for the Arts Council of Wales and Judge for Wales Theatre Awards who states “Care Takers is a blisteringly strong script with delicious ambiguity.”

In addition, Care Takers has awarded one of the most coveted accolades after being named one of the critics’ best shows at the Festival.

Care Takers, which was produced by Truant Company, also received a 4 star review from The Stage while also winning one of the Stage Edinburgh Awards for acting excellence. When the award was presented, the judge highlighted the importance of the play and stated that Care Takers was “intellectually stimulating and emotionally engaging that seeks broader truths while navigating an ethically knotty plot.”

DSC05109-300x244“As a writer and director, I’ve never done the Fringe before, so I thought it might be a good way to gain that experience and also to get more exposure for the play, and therefore more research participants. So I just decided to do it. With help from an Edge Hill University Research grant and funding from Arts Council England, it was made possible.

“It feels great to have some recognition especially at Edinburgh which is so competitive. There were over 3,300 shows this year, so to stand out in any way is an amazing achievement. So, I’m very happy.”

Billy first wrote Care Takers in 2009 after spending some time at a secondary school as a freelance drama facilitator, and hearing about some cases of homophobic bullying. Instead of looking at the usual homophobia in the playground, Billy decided to focus on what would happen if the teachers were homophobic.

After hearing from colleagues in the Faculty of Education about the new British values agenda that teachers were having to cover in schools, and from seeing more and more reports of homophobic attacks in the news, Billy decided to update the play, this year, to show how things had become more complicated for teachers, especially ones in multi-cultural, inner-city schools who had to deal with homophobic bullying.

The play ties in with Billy’s current research project, which focuses on how schools tackle homophobic bullying.

“As a writer, you always want to know if the things you write have an impact in some way,” said Billy. “I began to think about the impact this play could have on teachers, on trainee teachers and educational professionals, even on the public and their ideas around teaching and bullying. So, I thought it was a great way of seeing how effective the play could be as a learning tool. I wanted to know if showing a play to trainee teachers was a more stimulating and effective way of them learning about aspects of teaching, especially in how to deal with management and bullying.”

“I also wanted to see if the play was a good way of raising awareness of British Values and how schools deal with bullying, and whether the play could have an effect on what people thought about these issues, and also if it could open new ideas on how to tackle homophobic bullying. So, it became a research project to try and answer some of these questions.”

Care Takers will be shown every day from 16th – 29th August. Click here for more information and to book tickets.

Edge Hill Press to launch first book at Edinburgh International Book Festival

Rodge Glass, Co-Director of the Edge Hill University Press will lead a panel discussion featuring Head Land contributors at the Edinburgh International Book Festival event

Rodge Glass, Co-Director of the Edge Hill University Press will lead a panel discussion featuring Head Land contributors at the Edinburgh International Book Festival event

The Edge Hill University Press is proud to announce it will launch its first publication Head Land at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

A joint enterprise with Glasgow-based independent publisher Freight Books, Head Land is an anthology of previously shortlisted authors that have featured throughout the past ten years of the University’s Short Story Prize.

Including works by China Miéville, Neil Gaiman, Ali Smith and many more, the anthology will be launched at the Festival’s Spiegel Tent with a panel discussion featuring contributors Kevin Barry (Dark Lies the Island), Kirsty Gunn (Infidelities) and winner of the 2016 Short Story Prize, Jessie Greengrass.

Rodge Glass, Co-Director of the Edge Hill University Press said that it is an honour to launch a book that showcases outstanding UK and Irish literary talent at one of the biggest book festivals in the world.

“This time last year the Edge Hill University Press was just an idea. Twelve months later, we have our first publication, one that we’re incredibly proud of. A glance down the list of contributors to this book highlights the sheer talent of writers across the UK and Ireland, and Head Land is all about spreading the word about this strong, growing tradition.

“During the process of developing the book we have also been able to ensure Edge Hill students get meaningful experience in the publishing industry in all fields from event management to author liaison and copy editing to press.

“There’s no better platform than the Edinburgh International Book Festival to celebrate both the new Edge Hill University Press and Head Land itself. The Festival is one of the very finest of its kind in the world. It’s where writers and readers come to explore the best in contemporary literature, and to find new literature to love. When we started this project, Edinburgh was where we wanted to be on publication day, and on Saturday the 27th August, we’ll be there to raise a glass and introduce Head Land to the literary world,” Rodge said.

The Edge Hill University Press will publish another three books throughout the next three years. The initiative builds on the University’s already established literary profile which includes the nationally recognised Edge Hill Prize for the Short Story. Recently celebrating its tenth year, the Edge Hill Prize is the only UK award that recognises excellence in a published collection of short stories.

The Edge Hill University Press also offers internships to six Edge Hill students per year which see the students assigned a variety of roles working alongside the Freight Books team, giving them real publishing industry experience.

Adrian Searle, Publisher at Freight Books said:  “Freight Books has been delighted to partner with Edge Hill, and this prestigious anthology contains some of the most exciting and dynamic authors writing in the UK today. Edinburgh International Book Festival is the perfect place to launch the book and Edge Hill University Press into the world with a bang.”

The Press has plans to hold similar Head Land in-conversation evenings in Manchester on Wednesday 28th September, and at Edge Hill University on Tuesday 22nd November for members of the public and media.

EHU Press is led by Edge Hill academics Dr Rodge Glass and James Byrne. Rodge is Senior Lecturer & Creative Writing Programme Leader as well as a novelist, short story writer, biographer and editor. Poet, editor and translator James Byrne lectures in Creative Writing.

To learn more about Creative Writing at Edge Hill click here.


Naughty Corner Productions take over Edinburgh for the third time


The award-winning Naughty Corner Productions return to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with Dirty Glitter and Not the Horse.

Naughty Corner Productions is a Theatre Company made up of 16 Edge Hill Drama graduates, who won the Sunday Times National Student Drama Festival first prize award at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2014.

The critically acclaimed crime comedy Not the Horse has returned for its second year at the Edinburgh Festival, and has received 4 star reviews. “Not the Horse defies all expectations and proves to be characteristic of the best comedy the Fringe has to offer: ludicrously hilarious. The acting in the production is superb, each actor throwing themselves wholeheartedly into their colourful portrayal. ” claims Coreen Grant.

Not the Horse follows three groups of very different people and their hysterically unfortunate few days, including Tony – a 20 year old ‘scouser’ who loses an illegal horse racing bet and owes £250,000 to notorious London gangsters, and comes up with a ludicrous solution.

The second offering from Naughty Corner Productions is Dirty Glitter, a neon-noir following Murphy and Valmont, private investigators hired to find a missing girl in 1979 during the height of disco. The investigation leads them to a nightclub in New York City and they soon find themselves in a world of blood, betrayal and glitter.

Former student Phina Oruche’s One Woman Show


Actress, writer and broadcaster Phina Oruche will be taking her one-woman show Identity Crisis to Edinburgh Festival Fringe this year.

Phina graduated from Edge Hill University in 2014 after completing her Masters degree in Media, and as part of her studies Phina wrote and performed Identity Crisis at the University’s Arts Centre.

Identity Crisis scrutinises the image and representation of black women in the media, and features nine characters: black, white, old, young, male, female; all of whom are having their own identity crises. The show explores identity struggles that are common to all of us, and it examines Phina’s own observations on what others have made of her identity in the media.

Based upon her own life story, Identity Crisis shows a different side to Phina than people have seen from her TV roles in Footballers’ Wives, Hollyoaks and NYPD Blue to name a few.

Phina’s show is on daily from 21st – 28th August 2016. Click here for more information and to book tickets.