Edinburgh Napier's staff and students lead the way in 2019's Edinburgh Festivals

Date posted

24 July 2019


Staff and students from Edinburgh Napier will be displaying their talents for the world to see at this year's Edinburgh Festivals. As the city prepares for the millions of visitors, a number of our staff and students are busy adding the final touches to their shows. 

From cats to choirs and bankers to art, there is something for everyone. Choosing a show can be a daunting task so we have created a handy guide for those who are looking for a little inspiration to help make that all-important pick.

Edinburgh Napier Acting students: Shows for 2019

Level UpLevelUp logo

Newly engaged Jimmy and Natasha feel they’re the perfect match. However, the state-controlled social credit system thinks otherwise. Jimmy has two weeks to improve his score or the couple face eviction. Is it possible to be both model citizen and model partner? And how far is Jimmy willing to go to become the person the state wants? Inspired by China’s social credit system, Level Up explores a near-future utopia where real love is impossible to measure, doing good becomes an obsession and not everyone plays by the rules. Level Up plays on even days starting 4 August and you can buy tickets here.


Expelled from school aged 15, Alicia battles for her right to exist. Charities and the welfare state view her as the one thing everybody hates: a parasite. But who are the real bloodsuckers? A provocative coming-of-age dramedy from award-winning playwright James Harker and award-winning director James Beagon. Parasites explores the complicated relationship between the state and the individual in today’s society. What is the price of dignity? How do systems define us? And can Alicia ever truly take control of her own life? Shows throughout August, tickets here.

The 27 ClubThe 17 Club artwork

It is the evening of a new art gallery exhibition where Nick finds himself surrounded by the chaotic memories that brought him there: a host of fellow artists, jilted lovers and everything in between. The gallery is thrown into disarray as the evening grows darker. With pressure building, Nick’s world begins to crumble as his past comes back to haunt him, forcing the artist to come to terms with himself and his work. A dark comedy about love, loss and what it means to be an artist in the 21st century. The 27 Club plays through August, tickets here.

In Her Corner

World premiere. A visceral and exciting new Scottish play about a young woman trapped between family loyalty and the need to escape a cycle of crime and violence through boxing: the lengths she has to go to, the devastating consequences of her decisions and the ongoing class struggle in Scotland’s capital. A richly imagined piece by Mikey Burnett. What would you do if you were in her corner? Trailer here. Shows throughout August tickets here.

BullImage of actors in play 

This dark comedy by Mike Bartlett shows the cruelty of human nature through bizarre power play, manipulation and vindictive honesty. Three colleagues fight for their lives in this savage battle of wit. The odds are stacked against underdog Thomas from the get-go, while Tony and Isobel use every dirty trick in the book, even going as far as targeting Thomas’s son. They’ll do anything to ensure their own survival. Shows throughout August, tickets here.

Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas by Candlelight 2019

Pants On Fire!Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas logo with images of lightbulbs

Do you think you could spot a liar? Many people believe there are tell-tale signs that show somebody is lying, and some even claim to be ‘human lie-detectors’. A suspect’s behaviour can determine how they are questioned, and influence jurors’ verdicts. Modern scientific techniques are even being used to spot lies in the brain, and have been presented as evidence in court cases. But how good really are these methods at detecting lies? Are we risking the freedom of innocent people? Join our very own Dr Faye Skelton to find out what psychology has to say. Shows 3-12 August, tickets here

Move Or Die!

According to the British Heart Foundation, inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for premature death from any cause. Inactivity is dangerous! Have you heard this before? Have you been told you need to do more? But who likes being told what to do? We all know we should probably do more, but do we want to? Are you frustrated that people you know don’t do what they know they should. What would motivate us to change? Edinburgh Napier's Dr Amanda Pitkethly has some life-changing ideas and practical suggestions! Shows 11 August, tickets available here

Long Live The Cat Ladies?

In our twenties, an independent lifestyle seems liberating. In our thirties, making new friends becomes trickier: everyone’s busy with work/family/relationships. At the end of life, about one in three people live alone in Scotland. Depressing, eh? With sinking marriage and high divorce rates, with serial monogamy and fixed term contracts that make long-term planning hard, the outlook’s not getting better – unless we find new ways of living together. Edinburgh Napier's Dr Anna Schneider argues that adopting a litter of cats to keep us company is not the solution. Shows 4-20 August. Tickets available here.

Neglecting Midwives Gives Mothers PTSD

The NHS are getting it wrong! Funny? No! Laughable? Maybe! Edinburgh Napier's Jenny Patterson hits out at the NHS for neglecting midwives and heartlessly letting women suffer – almost like trauma-stressed war veterans. Neglected midwives can end up lashing out or burning out, leaving some women feeling shocked and abandoned. Sadly, both midwives and women can end up with PTSD. Do midwives need to toughen up? Do women? Jenny doesn’t pull her punches and says: “Never mind the women, what about the midwives?”. Shows 15 August, tickets here.

Art Is S**t

What is art and should we fund it? Have you ever thought: “What the f**k is that? People pay money for that? A two-year old could do it!”. Edinburgh Napier's Ron O’Donnell talks art. Who decides what is valuable, or creative? Do you need to be educated to understand it? Would you despair if a great artwork was destroyed? Would you give a shit if all contemporary art disappeared tomorrow? If art is an act of expressing feelings, thoughts, and observation, why is so much of it baffling and aloof? Shows 17 August, tickets here.

Don't Bank On The Bankers

A decade on from the financial crash, Edinburgh Napier programme lead Dr Rachel Findlay explores how bankers shafted us, crashing their banks and our economies; how they got it so badly wrong, and what they could have done differently. The mechanisms behind the worst crash since 1929 are laid bare, with blame suitably apportioned to those in charge – politicians, bankers and regulators. Shows 10 August, tickets here.

Obesity Bankrupted Our NHS!

Too many of us are obese. Too many nurses are obese. It’s a fatal combination and the NHS is struggling under the weight. Obesity is something we just can’t afford. For every £100 spent on the NHS, a fiver is spent on obesity. In a decade, it’ll be a tenner. That’s £12 billion a year – enough to double the number of nurses in the NHS. Join our very own Dr Richard Kyle for a controversial take on the choice we face: pay up or slim down? Shows 23-25 August, tickets here.

Does Sex Still Sell?

Women have been portrayed as sexual objects in advertising for many years. Recently, female Instagram influencers [adopted by brands] depict sexualisation as a stance of individualistic choice and empowerment. In other words they are empowered through the notion of individualistic choice through the power of their bodies. Edinburgh Napier researcher Kat Rezai questions: are Instagram ads just one more way of selling self-objectification? Shows 24 August, tickets here.

Edinburgh Skeptics

Chemophobia: should we all be running scared?Skeptics on the Fringe poster

Are chemicals so bad? Can we really live in a ‘chemical-free’ world? Is natural another word for safe? Edinburgh Napier's Maria Gauci will challenge the notions of what is 'natural' and 'artificial' and with hands-on experiences and make you questions all that you previoulsy thought about chemistry and 'chemicals' - no lab coats required! Free event on 13 August, register here.

Musical moments

In SpaceImage of a spaceship

No one can hear you sing! Napier University Drama Society returns with an original sci-fi comedy musical. Hilarious chaos ensues when the passengers of the StarShip Unsinkable II unexpectedly wake up and find themselves stranded in space. Watch Napier Drama sing and dance their way through another fun-filled show which is sure to be enjoyed by all. Shows throughout August, tickets here

Forth Trio

Forth Trio is a newly established group of Edinburgh Napier music graduates - Alexandra Prentice (violin), Joanna Stark (cello) and Max McWhirter (piano). Dedicated to the performance of unfamiliar piano trio repertoire, the group have crafted an enthralling programme which traverses the genre's development from its classical roots to various contemporary branches. Shows 22 August, tickets here.

Piano LandscapeImage of man at piano

Head of performance studies at Edinburgh Napier and acclaimed pianist Nicholas Ashton plays the beautiful music of Debussy, Daquin, Rameau, Liszt and Ravel in celebration of the natural environment – a programme inspired by the exhibited landscape paintings of the artist John Busby. Nicholas studied and performs internationally. Recordings include the complete works for piano by Robert Crawford (Delphian Records), a forthcoming vinyl record release entitled Wasserklavier (Copperfly) and a sequenced CD release of the complete works for two pianos and piano duet by Mozart. Shows 20 August, tickets here.

Inverkeithing Big Band

Returning to the Fringe for its fifth year, Inverkeithing Community Big Band promises an incredible evening of exciting jazz and toe-tapping swing from Ellington, Basie and many more with Edinburgh Napier's Sean Hughes behind the drum kit. Shows 20 August, tickets here.

Cadenza Choir

Puccini's beautiful Messa di Gloria, Haydn's joyous Te Deum and energetic Insanae et Vanae Curae with orchestral accompaniment, plus first Scottish performance of Janet Wheeler's powerful Alleluia, I Heard a Voice, for unaccompanied choir. Cadenza has broadcast on BBC Radios 3, 4, and Scotland and Classic FM. Edinburgh Napier’s Susanna Goetzold takes to the stage. Shows 24 August, tickets here.

London Symphony Orchestra

One of the world’s most electrifying musical partnerships, Sir Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra return following two exceptional performances at the International Festival 2018 with a pair of deeply stirring, richly coloured works. Rachmaninov’s Second Symphony is often held up as the pinnacle of romantic music, the aching beauty of its melodies matched only by its brooding, surging emotions – all building to its triumphant, all-conquering conclusion. Shows 21 August, tickets here.

How Can I Keep From Singing?GLITS Choir

Glits makes a welcome return to the Edinburgh Fringe with their new choral production, How Can I Keep from Singing? Join them for an hour of song as they sparkle their way through 16 popular songs. Enjoy the close harmonies of this well-known Edinburgh ladies choir including our very own Nancy Davidson. Shows 23-24 August, tickets here.


Dinner Party Debates: The Case for a Deaf Festival in The Festival City

The BSL (Scotland) Act 2015 and subsequent National Plan (2017-2023) lays the foundation to improve the lives of BSL users in Scotland. Culture, public life and festivals figure within this mandate. This roundtable discussion takes the format of a lively dinner party and deliberates why Edinburgh should host Scotland's first Deaf festival. Hosted by Edinburgh Napier festivals researchers Dr Louise Todd and Dr Kirstie Jamieson. Part of the Fringe Central Events Programme for Fringe participants. Free event, Sunday 11 August. More information and tickets here.

Fake News Workshop | Aleksandar Kocic

How can we fight back against Fake News? This workshop, presented by School of Arts and Creative Industries academic Aleksandar Kocic, will share some steps we can take to stop Fake News in its fictional tracks. Shows throughout August, tickets here

Blended Interactions Exhibition 2019

Celebrating the third year of collaboration between Edinburgh Napier University and Farmingdale State College, New York, this exhibition communicates work undertaken in a two-week residency exploring the notion of blended interactions. Blended interaction considers designing for experiences where physical space and digital content are tightly aligned. These interactions investigate questions such as: what happens in the space between the physical and the digital? Our design speculations involve various technologies such as virtual, augmented and mixed reality. Shows 9 August, tickets here.

Mary Portas: Work Like A WomanMary Portas

Having transformed the high street, Mary ‘Queen of Shops’ Portas is back with a campaign calling time on macho culture in the workplace. Work Like a Woman is her call to arms for radically reshaping business culture for the benefit of both sexes, and with major successes in business and campaigning, Portas’s manifesto might be worth getting behind. Hear about it in this empowering hour with a titan of British business, in conversation with Lennie Goodings. Tickets for the 14 August event here.

A Taste of Scotland at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

A sensory experience, teaching you how to nose and taste whisky, helping to discover the perfect dram for your palate. Edinburgh Napier's Mark Smith aims to change perceptions, looking past the brand and age statement, to help you understand and appreciate how maturation from oak casks influences whisky's flavour. Put your nose and palate to the test, to match the whisky experts in identifying the tasting notes from five drams while learning how whisky is made. Throughout August, tickets here.

Carol Ann Duffy

Together once more, presenting an hour of pensive pleasure and glorious musical diversion in an intimate, informal setting. Fresh from her 10-year tenure as a popular and accessible Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy brings a selection of much-loved favourites interspersed with stimulating and provocative new work and musical interludes from the irrepressible and effervescent multi-instrumentalist John Sampson (Edinburgh Napier alumnus). With virtuosic skill and idiosyncratic humour, he conducts a tour of music from the medieval to the modern on an array of period instruments. Shows 10-16 August, tickets here.