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Discover creative ageing at the Edinburgh Festivals

August is the month of the Edinburgh Festivals, showcasing an extraordinary range of creative events and performances including theatre, dance, music, comedy, literature and many more. To inspire you and help you discover themes related to ageing, we have come up with the list of events during this year's festival period.

To find out more and book tickets, please click on the title of the event.



Lynn Ruth Miller: Get a grip

Aug 5 - 31 at C Venues - C Nova

Fear is the ultimate fantasy. Lynn Ruth Miller is 81 years old. She's lived a lot and nearly died a few times too. She's faced massive fears and fought a churning tummy and grinding teeth. This celebrated 2013 TO&ST award-winner and 2014 Dave's Comedy Festival Liberty Award winner guides us through eight decades of triumphs and failures, wit and wisdom and the faith in the impossible that kept her from jumping.

Saga Lout

Aug 16-17, 19-24, 26-29 at New Empire Club (Venue 101)  FREE FESTIVAL

John Turner will entertain you on the subject of growing old disgracefully - being a big mouth show-off is not the exclusive territory of the young. A comedy performer and a writer for over 30 years, on radio, stage and television, John was a member of the legendary comedy group, Circus of Poets alongside Ian McMillan and Martyn Wiley.  


Grandad and Me - The Letter J

Aug 8, 11 - 16, 18 - 23 at Summerhall

Grandad and Me is a living storybook about loss, longing and the treasures of memory and imagination. We meet a young girl who is missing her grandad - ha has gone, even though his favourite job was being her grandad. Led by fund objects and her imagination, she traces his footsteps on a magical adventure through time and space. 


Barry Cryer and Ronnie Golden - Old Masters

Aug 16 - 19, 23 - 26 at Gilded Balloon

Expect comedy songs and gags galore from the well-loved duo, back at the Fringe that they are still alive and old's cool. Barry will have an aviary of new parrot jokes and Ronnie will be cleaning up after them.

Barry Cryer's 80th Birthday Roast 

Aug 23 at Gilded Baloon

For centuries, he's written for the biggest names in comedy. Now he's 80, it's time to get our own back. Join Baz and his friends as we tear strips off a comedy legend. 

Barry from Watford's Bingo Bonanza 

Aug 13 - 15, 20 - 22, 27 - 29 at Pleasance Courtyard

The nation's favourite octogenarian, star of BBC Radio 4's forthcoming series Barry's Lunch Club and regular on BBC 2's Steve Wright in the afternoon, returns to Edinburgh after his hit 2013 show with his iconic regular London club night that celebrates variety and bingo! 

The Old Fella

Aug 7 - 8, 10 - 15, 17 - 24, 26 - 29 at theSpace @SuregeonsHall 

Fourth in Australia's Got Talent, with over 400 sold out shows. This inspirational old Aussie takes wicked, wicked look at old age, grabs it by the throat and makes a mockery out of it. 

Old Men in Black

Aug 7 - 17, 19 - 24, 26 - 31 at Scottish Comedy Festival @ The Behive Inn

Rod Hunter and Les Sinclair, two of Scotland's more mature comedians, return for the the fourth year with their Old Men show for a longer run after last year's full houses. In 2014 Rod and Les got their bus passes and now they are doing everything to avoid being part of Scotland's demographic time bomb. They will be joined by the occasional guest and perhaps an alien or two.  

Raymond Mearns is growing old disgracefully 

Aug 4 - 16, 18 - 31 at Scottish Comedy Festival @ The Beehive Inn

They say 50 is the new 30, if that's true then I am only 27. I am more Peter Pan-demonium than Peter Pan, I am not and will never be a shining example of how to live your life, but i's not my fault! I have an incurable affliction, it's terminal - I suffer from the Human Condition. It gets us all in in the end. So why worry? 

Virginia Ironside: Growing old disgracefully

Aug 18 - 30 at The Assembly Rooms

At 70, Virginia Ironside writes a regular agony column for the Independent and The Oldie, and her latest comic novel is Yes! I can manage Thank you! In her one-woman show she explains why unlimited free drugs, fun funerals, grandchildren, and sex - or even better, no sex - make growing old the best (and funniest) time of your life. 

Will Durst: BoomeRaging from LSD to OMG

Aug 5 - 17, 19 - 31 at Gilded Balloon

An uproarious tribute to the joys, achievements, frustrations and looming doom of the baby boom generation. It's what happens next when acid flashbacks meet dementia.The celebration of the maturation of the Boomer Nation, culminating in an extra added special treat - the Meaning of Life. A unique theatrical event delivered with stand-up timing and no less than a modicum of poetry. 


Camera Obscura - a way of seeing

Aug 5 - 18 at C Venues

An emotionally charged dance performance which moves sensitively through the shadows of grief and loss experienced in dementia, reflecting on the extraordinary attribute of music to restore music and identity, and a lasting power of love to provide comfort in this most vulnerable of human conditions. 

The English Channel - Liz Aggiss

Aug 23 - 29 at Zoo 

After 60 years, Liz Aggiss finally givers herself permission to do what she damn well pleases. Better later than never! Should she please you, or herself? This "glorious, wild card" (Herald) and great dame of anarchic dance, channels willful women. A cunning, witty connection to the other side. Using her body as the medium through which to act up and act out, the choreography and texts are framed by contemporary and archive film. Part of Edinburgh British Council showcase 2015.

Liz Aggiss was part of Luminate 2014. 

Pact with Pointlessness - Wendy Houston

Aug 26 - 30 at Dance Base

This is a show that tasks big questions. A barrage of old time patter and online chatter fuel the slow, slow, quick, quick, slow cycles of coming and going, in an absurd piece triggered by life, death and what to do about it all. It's an escapology of strange logic, a philosophical piece of stupidity driven by an urgent sense of futility.

PRIME and Scottish Ballet Elders Company

Aug 13 - 15 at Dance Base part of Heads Up

Come and see performances by two remarkable dance groups with dancers over 60, PRIME from Dance Base and Scottish Ballet Elders Company. Performances are part of Dance Base's Heads Up showcases offering Fringe audiences an eclectic mix of new work and different dance styles. 


Does age matter?

Aug 22 at Fringe Central

Is comedy just for young people? Are we overcoming misogyny to confront a new breed of ageism? Given that there is still a balance to achieve in terms of representing women on the small screen, where does age draw line? We examine the impact of modern technology and improved access to new comedy, and explore how women are using this to get their work in front of the commissioners. Part of Funny Women Weekend Comedy Academy. 

Grow old disgracefully - Being funny as an older woman

Aug 23 - Fringe Central 

Older women have the comedy edge because they are less inhibited and have more stories to tell. Award-winning octogenarian, Lynn Ruth Miller, started performing stand-up in her 70s and has celebrated the art of growing old disgracefully in her show Ageing is Amazing. Find out how to stay in the limelight and whatever your age and how using humour builds confidence and self-worth in this compelling and insightful workshop. 


Bedsocks and secrets 

Aug 23 - 31 at Spotlites

Dealing with subjects of dementia and care of the elderly, Bedsocks and Secrets explores the changing relationship between mother and son as her symptoms worsen and his feelings of guilt and isolation spiral. The play takes us on an emotional journey that is hard-hitting, thought-provoking and tender, allowing us to question our beliefs and ideas. 

Dorian Grey

Aug 6 - 16, 18 - 31 at Pleasance Dome

In a desperate bid to preserve his youthful beauty, and experience all the pleasures the world has to offer, Dorian sells his soul, setting himself on the path of lavish debauchery and secret sin from which there might be no coming back. Following their sell-out 2014 debut, Incognito return to the Fringe to conjure a darkly satirical and physically playful take on Wilde's gothic fable. 125 years after first scandalizing the world, this new adaptation questions our obsessive modern idolisation of youth and beauty. 

A Fine Line

Aug 6 - 16, 18 - 31 at Assembly Hall

Rita and Angie have been best friends for more than 60 years. Together, they have experienced every milestone, every setback. Now, as Rita says goodbye to her lifelong companion, a surprising journey of self-discovery unfolds: there's a line between following your desires and conforming to expectations. From Ronnie Dorsey, writer of the critically acclaimed Of Sound Mind, comes the heart warming of one woman's devotion, loyalty and a love which transcends all else.

A Gambler's guide to dying

Aug 6 -9, 11 - 14, 16, 18 - 23, 25 -30 at Traverse Theatre

What are the odds of living the extraordinary life? The story of one boy's granddad who won a fortune betting on the 1966 World Cup, and when diagnosed with cancer, gambled it all to see the year 200. An intergenerational tale of what we live for and what we leave behind. Gary McNair returns to the Traverse after last year's award-winning five-star show Donald Robertson is not a stand-up comedian

John Golder's Happy Jack

Aug 17 - 22 at Quaker Meeting House (Venue 40)

Drama from the pen of one of the nation's most loved playwrights. Based upon his grandparents, the play tells their love story in a series of vignettes presented in reverse chronological order.

One day when we were young by Nick Payne

Aug 6 - 16, 18 - 23, 25 - 31 at Assembly George Square Theatre

The story of two people at their paths cross throughout the years, changing both their lives irrevocably. In a heart-breaking of would-be romance, this time-shifting two-hander tracks their meetings in three parts, from the hope of youth at the height of WWII, to the loneliness and hindsight of old age. With his trademark wit, Payne earnestly explores the ideas of love and fate, and ultimately the ties that truly bind us. Staring Valorie Curry and Sam Underwood from The Following, directed by Louise Proske.

Past Glories

Aug 24 - 26 at Paradise at the Vault

Two one-act plays celebrating the power of memory. Wordsworth's Sister by Sue Saunders: 1842, young Dora Wells, on a sketching holiday, encounters Dorothy Wordsworth, 63, now in the throes of dementia, and looked after Dot, her faithful carer. A Spoonful of Honey by Tony Gannie: Lillian is aged 99; her grandson gives Lilian a tape recorder and asks her to narrate her life. 


Aug 23 - 30 at C Venue

What does it mean to be 17? To be young with the world at your feet, or old before you've had chance to live? Using the memories of people aged 69 to 96, they recall life at that age, whenever and whatever that was. We journey through time to tell their stories and find the truths of that elusive year. Bear Pit Theatre explores youth through the prism of age; these are tales of regret and joy, tricks of memory and nostalgia, and the transience of youth. 


Aug 5 - 23, 29 - 31 at Pleasance Courtyard

Christmas 1999. A young woman minds Mrs A, an elderly woman forgotten and isolated from her family. As New Year approaches, she make an unlikely connection with her elderly charge and discovers the secret of her recent trauma, a secret that leaves both of them shaken in the wake of such unthinkable violence. An absorbing and courageous play that really captures what it means to be lonely, misplaced or be a burden to those you love or even society (no matter your age).


Aug 12 - 16, 18 - 23, 25 - 30 at Traverse Theatre

Tomorrow is a profound, stunningly original meditation on needing care and needing to care. A young man finds himself in an alarmingly unfamiliar place, where everyone has his best interest at heart but he is not allowed to leave. Part of Made in Scotland showcase. Tomorrow was part of the Luminate 2014 programme. 


The Female Gaze: Great parts for older women

17 Aug 

Jane Gardam and Penelope Lively, two of Britain's best loved and highly acclaimed authors, both children's writers and prize-winning novelists, talk about some of their favourite older heroines from their own novels. These include Lively's Moon Tiger and Gardam's Old Filth trilogy. 

June Andrews: Tacking the terror of dementia

24 Aug

Globally over 40 million people are living with dementia today, which doesn’t take into account the countless others, such as family or friends, also affected by the condition. Given our ageing population, Andrews’ work looks set to be of steadily increasing importance.

Marion Coutts & Erwin Mortier: Suspended between life and death

24 Aug

Eventually we all unravel into memories. Yet it would be hard to find two more powerful, insightful accounts of how it feels to watch a loved one’s health deteriorate. Marion Coutts' The Iceberg is a loving memoir of the 18 intense months leading up to her partner Tom Lubbock’s death from a brain tumour, while Erwin Mortier’s Stammered Songbook is the story of his mother’s descent into dementia.

June Andrews & Susan Moreia Marques: Generation Games - The Coming of old age

24 Aug

An ageing population is putting a strain on public services, with ‘bed blockers’ stigmatising the elderly. How can we redefine old age in western society? Join June Andrews, Director of the Iris Murdoch Dementia Centre in Stirling, and Susana Moreira Marques, whose book Now and at the Hour of Our Death captures a remarkable project in palliative care in Portugal. A special clinic will be held in the Imagination Lab after the event for anyone wishing to discuss specific issues.

Susana Moreia Marques & Raymon Tallis: Viewing life from death's door

25 Aug

Susana Moreira Marques is fascinated by Portuguese attitudes to mortality. In Now and at the Hour of Our Death she tells the stories of those who work with and live closely to terminal cancer patients. Writer and former doctor Raymond Tallis takes a look at life, but reflecting backwards from the standpoint of death. As he explains in The Black Mirror, his aim is to shed more light on the meaning of existence.

John Niven: Helping the aged

31 Aug

Former music industry man, the Irvine-born John Niven has written another barnstorming novel. Lifelong friends Helen and Julie are soon to turn 60 but when Helen’s husband is found dead in a very uncompromising scenario, it looks as though she might lose everything. With the aid of an octogenarian gangster, they plan a bank job that will save the day. Or at least they think it will.


Granny is best with Emma Dodd

24 Aug

Illustrator Emma Dodd has teamed up with bestselling author Giles Andreae to create the popular I Love series I Love My Granny. Hear Emma read this heart-warming new story and make some of your own illustrations to go with it. Invite your own granny to come along too! Tickets admit 1 child and 1 accompanying adult. Adult supervision recommended. Suitable for ages 3 - 6. 

Image credit: Liz Aggiss is the English Channel

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