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Explore Ageing at the Edinburgh Festivals

In August, the Edinburgh Festivals offer an amazing array of events, from theatre, comedy and dance, to literature, talks and discussions.

If you're interested in stories and themes around age and ageing, as we do during Luminate, here are some of our picks for 2014.

Click on the event titles for more information and to book tickets.


Linwood No More (pictured)
theSpace @ Jury's Inn
2 - 23 August

The closure of the Linwood car factory in the 1970s devastated the local economy. It is now the year 2000, and one of the jobless, now a homeless alcoholic, reflects on the events that changed his life forever. This production toured Scotland to great acclaim during Luminate 2013.

Quentin Crisp: Naked Hope
Gilded Balloon
30 July - 25 August

A new solo performance showing the late, great Englishman in New York and London. Drawing on Quentin's own writing and performances, this new script is written and performed by Mark Farrelly and directed by Linda Marlowe.

Italia 'n' Caledonia
Valvona & Crolla
11 - 23 August

The joyful tearful and heart-warming story of Alfonso Crolla, founder of Valvona & Crolla, and the Italian community in Scotland.

An Evening with Dementia
theSpace on the Mile
2 - 23 August

A poignant yet humorous one-man show that deals in depth with dementia. Starring actor and playwright Trevor T. Smith.

Gilded Balloon
30 July - 24 August

Roisin was always as tough as an old shoe. These days she doesn't recognise her daughter or her grandchildren, but her world has become so much bigger. A loving and humorous tribute to her mother and all those women who refused to shut up. Written and performed by Denise Stephenson.

The Bridge
just Festival
1 - 25 August

A remarkable story, traced back through a families memories, from present day to a young writer and scholar in pre-Independence Kerala, India. The Bridge considers how our histories are told and who tells them, and the silences in between which give rise to myth or invention.

Tell Me Your Secrets and I'll Shout Them Out
theSpace @ Surgeons Hall
1 - 9 August

A one-woman show based on the true story of a couple whose relationship changes in unexpected ways. As George's dementia progresses, Ella slowly gains a power she never had before his illness and is saddened and shocked by her own behaviour.

You're Never Too Old
Just the Tonic at The Mash House
31 July - 24 August

Tommy (Ian Lavender) and Ada are in the autumn of their years when they meet on a park bench. Share the moment as they confide their secrets, relive memories and try to recapture their youth in this bittersweet comedy.

The Exchange
Zoo Southside
1 - 25 August

Cyril and Toby are both retired from a tough working life in the outback. They spend their days drinking in the local hotel, The Exchange. The hotel is run by Ron, who has better things to do than be stuck in this small and isolated community.

My Uncle's Shoes
New Town Theatre
5 - 24 August

Travelling from town to town, an older clown teaches his art. A comedy drama told with lyricism but without words by the Brazilian Companhia do meu Tio.

Six Billion Suns
8 - 16 August

Black holes aren't completely black! Remember what you had for lunch yesterday? Are you sure? A new production from the Czech Republic, with original music by Pawel Passini, inspired by Alzheimer's disease.

Agitación Senil
Spotllites @ The Merchants' Hall
31 July - 5 August

Three older people are sitting on a park bench. They do it every day but don't know each other at all, until they join forces to rob a bank. Dance and physical theatre from Spanish company Vagalume Teatro.


Virginia Ironside: Growing Old Disgracefully
The Assembly Rooms
11 - 24 August

In this one-woman show, Independent columnist and writer Virginia Ironside 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.

Sol Bernstein: Still Standing
Just the Tonic at The Tron
31 July - 24 August

After 25 years of semi-retirement, Britain's oldest working comedian is back where he belongs, playing in nightclubs to drunks. He'll take you on a hilarious whistle-stop tour of his illustrious career and tell you what it's really like to be 87.

Old Folks Telling Jokes
Just the Tonic at The Community Project
31 July - 24 August

A line-up of comedians who are all over 55, including Lynn Ruth Miller, Charmian Hughes and Lewis Schaffer, proves that the old ones can be the best.

Lynn Ruth Miller: Not Dead Yet
C Venues - C nova
30 July - 25 August

Lynn Ruth Miller is 80. She's lived a lot and nearly died a few times too. She's faced massive fears and eaten a lot of last suppers, from discharging herself from hospital after being given two weeks to live, to starting stand-up comedy at 71.

Lynn Ruth Miller: Granny's Gone Wild
C Venues - C nova
17 - 25 August

Lynn Ruth Miller reprises her 2013 award-winning cabaret extravaganza featuring outrageous comedy and songs, offering inspiration for living life to the full whatever your age.

Old Men Walking
Scottish Comedy Festival @ The Beehive Inn
8 - 17 August

Rod Hunter, John Purves and Les Sinclair, three components of Scotland's demographic time bomb, return to the Fringe for the third time with their popular Old Men show.

Spoken Word

Memory Lane
Living Memory Association
1 - 31 August

Explore Leith accompanied by the memories of local people with an audio track and route map for you to follow at your own pace. Stories are accompanied by Scottish traditional music from Kris Drever and Amble Skuse and look out for installations by visual artist Kate Mackay en route.

Invisible People
Edinburgh International Book Festival, 11 - 12 August
Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh, 13 - 14 August

Over 60s theatre company 3rdthought presents its intimate face-to-face, one-to-one series of short performances. Present your coloured counter for a story, a poem, a joke, a scene, a conjuring trick or some good advice.

Edinburgh International Book Festival

Jackie Kay: Inside a Woman's Mind
12 August

Jackie Kay reads from her collection of short stories Reality, Reality, many of which deal with themes of ageing.

Lynne Segal: The Beauty of Ageing
14 August

Lynne Segal, Professor of Psychology and Gender Studies at Birkbeck College, explores how the western world is confronting the fact it is getting steadily older.

Dialogue 4: Ageing
14 August

Does our ageing population represent an economic time bomb or is this piece of speculation just the latest manifestation of an ageist world view. Lynne Segal in discussion with Paul Johnson, Director of the Institute of Fiscal Studies, chaired by Professor Susan Deacon.

Image: Linwood No More, White Stag Theatre Company, which also toured during Luminate 2013

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