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What to see at Edinburgh Festivals 2018

Our recommendations for Edinburgh Festivals

It's this time of the year again! Each August, Edinburgh festivals offer a unique opportunity to see some fantastic performances and events from around the UK and the world. We've browsed through the brochures and picked a selection of shows and events exploring themes of ageing. 

We're delighted to find two shows in this year's Fringe programme with a direct link to Luminate:

This intergenerational show explores the relationship between grandfathers and
grandsons. Luminate supported the early development of this work in

The story of a young woman soldier's journey through post-traumatic stress. Although Wired isn't a production related to a theme of ageing, it was written by Lesley Wilson who was awarded a place at Luminate’s older emerging artists lab. 


Cabaret and Variety

Feisty Older Women of Oz: Don’t Knock Your Granny

Six feisty older women shine a light on family violence.

Esther Rantzen: That’s Life!

Get up close with one of our national treasures as she shares anecdotes from over 50 years in broadcasting.

Maureen Lipman is ‘Up for it’

“I last played the Fringe 50 years ago and I can finally afford to come back. I want to frighten myself into retirement by facing my audience, over the edge of a stage, in my very own show.”


Adventures in Dementia: Steve Day

Steve's dad has Alzheimers. There's nothing else for it but to defy dementia, with music, songs and laughter.

Barry Cryer and Ronnie Golden: Historical Objects

Our plucky pension grabbers take you on a hilarious journey to comedy's distant past.

Calling My Tribe: Mick and Boo

We are the ones that fall between Gen-X and Gen-Y. Too young to be old and too old to be young. Is this middle age?

Incurable Optimist: Paul Mayhew-Archer

Paul's co-written or worked on many much-loved comedy shows. Now Paul has Parkinson's, but he's still laughing. A one-man show about the therapeutic power of comedy.


How to Keep Time: A Drum Solo for Dementia - Antosh Wojcik / Penned in the Margins

Using just his voice and an electronic drum kit, Antosh explores the effects of inherited Alzheimer's on speech, memory and family.

Dance, Physical Theatre and Circus

The Sauna by Teatteri Metamorfoosi

The Sauna is a story of an old woman. Her intention to die is distracted by irritating spirit of sauna, who takes her through the chapters of her womanhood.

Spoken Word

Everything Wrong With You Is Beautiful – Tina Sederholm

As her father is consumed by Alzheimer’s, Tina tries to uncover the facts behind a family story that never rang true.

Taking it Badly – The Glummer Twins

The irrepressible Glummer Twins are back to celebrate the joys, absurdities and indignities of getting older.

What Keeps You Sharp?

Join Alan Gow (Heriot-Watt University) to explore results from What Keeps You Sharp?, a nationwide survey about attitudes towards the changes people expect in their thinking skills with age.

Who Do You Want to Wipe Your Bum?

Who wants to think about potential future health issues and care needs? Dr Anna Schneider (Edinburgh Napier University) will highlight a few things worth thinking about; considering you’ve got an 80% chance of needing care at the end.


Alan Bennett’s A Visit from Miss Prothero by BCP

Arthur Dodsworth's retirement is jolted by a visit from his malevolent former secretary.

Alan Bennett’s Say Something Happened by BCP

June (a well-meaning but very inexperienced social worker) visits Mam and Dad to offer the council's help.

All Change by Smokescreen Productions

Today daughter Lily is packing a suitcase for the inevitable moment when Ivor moves into a "home". As fast as Lily packs, Ivor unpacks, and so the game begins...

And Before I Forget I Love You, I Love You by Pip Utton Theatre

Moving and affectionate performance about the effects of Alzheimer's.

Dancing With Mrs Murphy by Citadel Arts Group

Citadel works with people of all ages to create theatre and collect living memories of older people. They bring the Leith Dockers Club to the Edinburgh Fringe for the first time.

Kidding by Sounds Like Thunder Theatre

Stories that unfold the parent/child relationship in all its beauty and bathos, silliness and sadness. From ironing a nine-year-old's crumpled geography project to getting older and parenting your parents.

King Lear (Alone) by inamoment

One-man show telling King Lear's story in his own words.

Loop by Boxless Theatre in association with Eastlake Productions and Jack Maple

A journey through 50 years of life, love and music, a story of people evolving with the music they listen to.

menoPAUSE by Harriet Beveridge

Searingly honest, hysterically funny account of oestrogen Armageddon.

More Moira Monologues by Bissett/Kyle Productions

Moira’s a gran now but still telling hilarious home-truths about dating, Brexit, her estranged sister, cleaning posh folk’s hooses, and the return of her ex, Billy.

No Home Like This Place by Raised Voices

A new play set in a care home, jointly written by the cast who are all members of The Grassmarket Community Project.

Old Souls by Sargent Productions

A heart-warming comedy play following Rosie and Vera who are brought together through a 'befriend the elderly' scheme.

Same Old Same Oldies by Queen Mary Theatre Company

Three Northerners and three Southerners residing in one nursing home. How could they possibly get along?

Sisterhood by Kriya Arts

Three women, aged 20, 40 and 60 set about unpicking the fine weave of existence.

The Song of Lunch by Thirty/20 Theatre and Something for the Weekend

Poignant drama of a disastrous attempt to rekindle lost love.

Thaw by Mermaids St Andrews

A tale of humour and heart-break. Of nostalgia and regret. Of food, friendship and growing old indignantly.

Violet by Poor Michelle

Violet is starting to forget. But she's got a long life to remember before she does. There are rights to wrong and ends to tie up; a life well lived is never neat.

Yer Aul’ Da by Bourbon at Breakfast

Comedy about getting older and the changes that come with it.


Gavin Francis: To Change is Human

Edinburgh-based GP and writer Gavin Francis turns his attention to the ways in which human bodies are transformed throughout a lifetime.

Joanna Cannon & Jess Kidd: Unleashing Dark Secrets

Long-hidden secrets are about to be set free in two new novels. Can we ever outrun the past?

It Takes A Village

Exhibition by photographer Colin Gray exploring support at the end of life. View the exhibition and take part in a death lunch courtesy of Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief.

Richard Holloway: Memento Mori

Richard Holloway’s new book is a reflection on the final curtain we must all face and a plea to make the best of the days we have left.

Aminatta Forna & Lisa Halliday: Chance Encounters

Two novels about young and old, the personal, the political and the many faces of migration.

Brian Conaghan & Karmele Jaio: Mother and Child

Two novelists share their stories of switching roles with our parents.

Kathryn Mannix & Adrian Owen: Being Mortal

Are finally talking more freely about dying? Two books exploring end-of-life stories, and the ‘grey zone’ – a new realm of consciousness between life and death.

Joseph Jebelli & Tim Parks: Winding a Clear Path

Joseph Jebelli explores the ongoing fight against Alzheimer’s in his new book, In Pursuit of Memory.

Children’s programme

Sophy Henn: Bad Nana

8 year old Evie and her mischievous Nana are up to no good, and Nana’s schemes are getting bigger and badder.

Jonathan Meres: Friendly Rivalry

Jonathan Meres introduces Mint Choc Chip at the Market Café – his wonderful story of friendship, family and change. Will Nana-ji provide the answers to help Priya see rivalry in a different light?

My Grandad, Mandela

To mark the centenary of former South African President Nelson Mandela's birth, his two great-grandchildren (aged 6 and 7) and their grandmother, Mandela's daughter Zindzi, have jointly authored his amazing story told from a child’s perspective.

If you've had a chance to see any of  shows and events above, we would love to hear your thoughts. You connect with us on social media @LuminateScot or email to

Image: Old Boy by Glas(s) Performance

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