Cora Bissett Interview: 'I bet my glorious f***- ups are worse than yours and invite you to share in them'

I only have time to see one show in Edinburgh. Why should I go to yours?

Cora Bissett. Picture: contributed
Cora Bissett. Picture: contributed


Because you need some light, hope and empowerment in these dark days of moronic buffoons running the world. I bet my glorious f***- ups are worse than yours and invite you to share in them. Bring your daughters; they will thank you. And your dads.

Now I think of it, I’ve got time to see two. What else should I definitely go to?

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Red Dust Road, a brilliant new adaptation of Jackie Kay’s autobiographical novel which charts her journey growing up as the adopted mixed race child of a Scottish communist couple, the search to find her birth parents and to discover what we are shaped by. I’m really looking forward to seeing our Scots Makar’s important story of identity brought to life. You should also go to If You’re Feeling Sinister, a new play with songs adapted from the Belle and Sebastian album by Eve Nicol, on at the Gilded Balloon.

Cora Bissett. Picture: contributed
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What are the best and worst things that have happened to you at the

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Edinburgh Festival?


Best: having a hit show, packed to the rafters, seeing people elated, and getting invited to groovy places like Sao Paulo as a result.


Worst: playing to three men and a whippet, being described as a ‘schemie Dido’ and getting invited naewhere.

Please describe where you’re living this month.

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I have done my years on floors, couches and sets, but as a working mum now I am living at home and commuting from Glasgow each day.

What’s your favourite place in the city and why?

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I like grabbing a nap on the grass in the Meadows in the midst of the madness, catching all the overlapping snippets of conversations, all these tiny worlds colliding.

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Seeing theatre family whom I’ve got to know through the Fringe but who live on the other side of the world. We always reconnect during this time.

Where can I find you at 9am, 9pm and 2am?

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It used to be the Traverse bar till three o’clock in the morning, but not these days. Instead, it’s 9am, bolting it from nursery to get my train through to Edinburgh; 9pm, battling the wee yin for an epic put-to-bed most nights involving chase me, bouncing on the bed, three songs, two stories and a meltdown; and 2am, lying awake worrying if we all have clean pants for the morning.

Tell us something about you that would surprise people.

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I played cello for Mogwai on their European tour once. They were stellar, I was truly awful. I think cellists were in short supply.

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?


Cuddle my wee girl. Then see what John Pilger is saying about the world.

What’s the last thing you do before you go to bed at night?

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Watch an episode of something brilliant, or a TED talk chosen to fill my brain with some fabulously inventive human resourcefulness. Helps me sleep, thinking someone out there knows stuff and it’s gonna be OK.

Thanks for the interview! I’d like to buy you a drink. Where are we going and what are we drinking?

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Let’s head for cocktails in the Redeemer. Have I got a babysitter? Mine’s a Caprihini.

What Girls Are Made Of, Assembly Hall, Edinburgh, until 25 August