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Edinburgh Theatre Company’s EU Collaboration Finds Fusion Despite Brexit Woes


By Lindsay Corr - Posted on 31 October 2016

Fisk - Tortoise in a Nutshell

Tortoise in a Nutshell – an Edinburgh based theatre company – opened their latest work, Fisk, at Teater Katapult, Aarhus, Denmark last week ahead of a 2017 Scottish Tour.

The company found that the Brexit vote effected an initially straight-forward EU collaboration, and they are keen to work through the difficulties mounting the production now with the British pound in free fall – and focus on the importance of working with other countries to create theatre that then returns home.

The relationship with Teater Katapult began when the Artistic Director saw Feral in 2014 at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe as part of Made in Scotland. Invited to perform at the theatre as part of a Scandinavian tour, the companies began to work together.

The EU collaboration has been an exciting way to consider other ways of working, and draw on new perspectives when creating theatre – but the fall-out from the ‘Brexit’ referendum vote has had a definite impact on the company and its ability to work across two countries within the EU.

Originally the exchange rate was around 10 Danish Krone to 1 Pound. Following the Brexit vote the exchange rate has fallen to around 8.5 krone to the pound, effectively raising all costs in Denmark by 15%, forcing the company to both cut costs and find additional funds.

Still, Co-Artistic Director of Tortoise in a Nutshell, Ross MacKay maintains a positive outlook toward overseas collaboration:

“For us, art and theatre is about crossing borders and breaking down boundaries. Theatre allows us to put ourselves into someone else's world. It's important then that we can take theatre across cultures and communities; share different experiences and outlooks on the world. Collaboration allows us to draw on different experiences, different styles of making work and different political climates. International co-productions allow us to create richer and deeper theatre and find the universal experiences even in the smallest of stories and individual of experiences.”

Fisk (fish), explores how we manage personal struggles with mental health, using the support of others. The theatre company, renowned for their innovative puppetry and visual theatre – will perform the show in both Danish and English. Working in collaboration with Katapult has allowed the company to stretch their wings and push the scale of their work with a diverse creative team.

Tortoise in a Nutshell have toured extensively, with over 250 performances across 78 cities in 7 countries around the globe – they have taken shows to Switzerland, Denmark, Austria, Mexico and toured extensively across the UK.

The company have worked with Imaginate, Cumbernauld Theatre, Manipulate Festival and performed year in year out at the world’s largest arts festival in their home town of Edinburgh – the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.