"A writer reading 'Hamlet' for the first time is gradually losing his eyesight" says the show's blurb. "As he realises he will never finish the play that he slept through when young, he calls on the audience to help". Intrigued. What if I told you the dictaphone in the picture plays the key role in this play? That, and the audience.

After winning a Fringe First last year for 'The Events', the Actors Touring Company commissioned Nassim Soleimanpour, perhaps best known for his play 'White Rabbit Red Rabbit', to write 'Blind Hamlet', a collaboration that has resulted in what is set to be one of the most ground breaking shows at the Festival. We spoke to ATC's Artistic Director Ramin Gray to find out more. Click here to read the column.
Bosses at Underbelly have been forced to put on hold hip hop theatre show 'The City' after protests over the production receiving state funding from the Israeli government. Though the Fringe venue says it hopes to find a new location for the production, where possible protests will have less impact on the wider Festival.

Opposition to the show appearing at the Fringe has been brewing since the new hostilities in Gaza began, with a number of significant Scottish arts figures and the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign calling for the production to be cancelled. The opposition isn't to the show itself, or its performers Incubator Theatre, but the fact the venture has received funding from the Israeli state.

A spokesman for John Stalker Productions, which is promoting the show's Edinburgh run, previously insisted that, while 'The City' was in part funded by Israel's Ministry Of Culture, the production "is of great significance to furthering cross-community dialogue and debate" in Incubator's home country.

The spokesman said: "Incubator Theatre exists to be an agent of significant cultural change in Jerusalem, working in both east and west Jerusalem, and an active force in developing an urban climate of pluralism and openness that accommodates a wide spectrum of opinions and world views. This work is of great significance to furthering cross-community dialogue and debate in the region".

But with the situation in Gaza seemingly continuing to escalate, the SPSC remains opposed to a show with funding from the Israeli state appearing at the Fringe. It has vowed to protest outside every performance, and did so yesterday.

'The City' was scheduled to be performed at Underbelly's Cow Barn venue in Edinburgh University's Reid Hall, right in the middle of the wider Fringe's Bristo Square hub. The protests, therefore, caused significant issues in a key Festival thoroughfare, hence Underbelly's decision to put the show on hold. Though in a statement yesterday, and at last night's official venue launch, Underbelly bosses insisted they would try to find a new home for the controversial show.

Underbelly's statement read: "Earlier today, after discussions between Underbelly, Incubator Theatre, the University Of Edinburgh and Police Scotland it was agreed that future performances of 'The City' at The Reid Hall would be cancelled. Today's performance of 'The City' went ahead as planned, but the logistics of policing and stewarding the protest around The Reid Hall - and the effect of the disturbance on Underbelly and other venues' other shows - make it untenable for the show to continue in the Cowbarn, Reid Hall".

Although anyone who has bought tickets to the show will now receive a refund, the venue's statement concluded: "Underbelly and Incubator Theatre will work to identify other suitable venues for the show to perform at in Edinburgh".
The Fringe Society yesterday announced that multiple award winning director Rachel Chavkin and four time Fringe First writer Chris Thorpe will deliver tomorrow's Welcome Address at its Fringe Central complex.

The official Welcome Address was launched as an annual event last year, and is aimed at performers at the Fringe. This year Chavkin and Thorpe will tell the story of their individual Fringe journeys, and will discuss how they started working together and why they are still presenting new work at the Festival.

Confirming this year's speakers, Fringe Society CEO Kath M Mainland told ThreeWeeks: "I am immensely pleased that two such distinguished and clever artists have agreed to deliver this year's Welcome Address to Fringe Participants".

She went on: "The purpose of this address is to make participants feel at home in Fringe Central and to inspire them in preparation for the month ahead, as well as introducing them to all the free events which take place here designed to help them make the absolute most of their time In August. It's fantastic that two such important and long serving Fringe artists have agreed to share their wisdom with us".

Chavkin and Thorpe are at the Festival collaborating on the show 'Confirmation' at Northern Stage at Kings Hall.
The Fringe is upon us and with over 200 hand-picked shows and events, C venues is the place to find the most extraordinary shows from around the world and around the corner! And we are pleased to announce our Fringe First Five days special offer:

• For performances taking place today (31 Jul) and tomorrow (1 Aug) we are offering 2 for 1 per show* (ie two tickets for the price of one)

• For performances taking place on Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 Aug we are offering 3 for 2 per show* (ie three tickets for the price of two)

To redeem this offer say the code FFF-TW at any C venues box office on the phone or in person.

Full listings for our 2014 programme are available on our website at

*When booked at the same time for a single performance. Subject to availability and may not apply to all performances.
The centenary of the beginning of World War One is marked by a number of shows in the wider Edinburgh Festival this year, and here ThreeWeeks Co-Editor Caro Moses picks two of them, with another war-themed bit of theatre too.

The Flood
I was immediately attracted to this show because it's by Badac Theatre, an excellent producing company who specialise in pieces exploring themes of human rights, violence and conflict. 'The Flood' is set against the backdrop of the bloody first world war and explores the slaughter of millions of soldiers, while a passionate parallel love story examines the psychological effects WW1 had on the women left at home. This sounds like it will be intense, emotional and draining, and definitely worth the effort.
Summerhall, from 1 Aug until 24 Aug. Tickets here.

Forever Young
This is another piece exploring the horror of the first world war, this time through personal testimonies, letters and diary extracts and popular songs from the period, in a show that brings to life the words of the likes of Wilfrid Owen and Rupert Brooke to life, accompanied by music and movement. "'Forever Young' is a celebration, a protest and a tribute to those who lived, loved, died and wrote through 1914-1918", says the programme blurb. "Only a dyed-in-the-wool cynic would not be moved", said The Stage. I can believe it.
theSpace at Symposium Hall, from 11 Aug until 23 AugTickets here.

The Collector
Moving on to a different type of war now, for this one is set during the US occupation of Iraq, played out on the site of Saddam Hussein's most brutal prison camp. It's a "darkly humorous ghost story" from the rather brilliant mind of that there Henry Naylor, one half of well known double act Parsons and Naylor, and former lead writer for 'Spitting Image'. Naylor's previous Fringe plays have garnered much critical acclaim, and I feel very confident that this one will too.
Gilded Balloon, from 30 Jul until 25 AugTickets here.
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