Edinburgh Fringe Festival looks beyond the tragedy of Hillsborough

Beyond Hillsborough will examine Britain's worst ever sporting disaster on stage. Picture: AP
Beyond Hillsborough will examine Britain's worst ever sporting disaster on stage. Picture: AP
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A PLAY about Britain’s worst ever sporting disaster is to make its debut at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe, The Scotsman can reveal.

Beyond Hillsborough will be based on real interviews of surivors of the tragedy, which claimed 96 lives, as well as bereaved family members, politicians, police officers and journalists.

Jimmy McGovern, the writer behind Cracker who also penned the famous TV drama about the 1989 disaster, is said to be advising on the stage production, which has been put together by two drama teachers from Liverpool, and will be staged at the Quaker Meeting House.

Dozens of Fringe shows have been confirmed ahead of the traditional programme launch, which has been brought forward to May, as the first 10 days of the festival will be going head-to-head with the London Olympics.

Plays inspired by the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition at Westminster, the life of tragic actress Judy Garland and the memoirs of a former manager of The Beatles will also be premiered in Edinburgh this summer.

Other expected highlights include a musical play based on the poetry of the former Edinburgh University student Karen Gershon, who was sent to the UK after her parents perished in the Holocaust.

Big-name comics confirmed for this year’s Fringe include Tim Vine, Daniel Kitson, Sandi Toksvig, Sean Hughes, Stephen K Amos and Rhod Gilbert.

The star-studded line-up for Coalition, which tells the state of the current government from the view of the Prime Minister and his deputy, will include Thom Tuck, Phill Jupitus, Jo Caulfield, Jessica Regan and Simon Evans.

Zipped Up Theatre, which has been formed especially to bring Beyond Hillsborough to the Fringe, says the play will be set in the present day, but will aim to look at the consequences and legacy of the disaster 23 years on.

Layla Dowie, co-founder of the company, said: “We felt compelled to create a piece of theatre to inform younger generations of this tragedy and provide a voice for those dealing with the consequences of Hillsborough.”

The full programme for this year’s Fringe will be unveiled on 31 May.