Edinburgh Festival Spotlight: JOAN

Edinburgh Festival Spotlight: JOAN

To find out more about Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2017 and the spotlights, please see the introductory article.

Next up in our Spotlight feature is JOAN, which plays Edinburgh Festival from 21 – 27 August 2017. I caught up with writer and director Lucy J Skilbeck:

Describe your show in three words.

Gutsy, hearty, cheeky.

Is this your first Edinburgh Fringe performance experience?

This is our fifth time at the fringe, and our 2nd time bringing JOAN. Last year we had such a great time with the show we couldn’t resist bringing it back.

Who else are you most looking forward to seeing while at the Fringe?

A company called LaPelle’s Factory are at the Fringe for the first time this year and will be at Underbelly with their third show The Black Cat. They’re a really exciting company from the east midlands.

Wild Bore at the Traverse Theatre looks amazing. Ursula Martinez, Zooey Coombs Marr and Adrienne Truscott on stage? What more could you want?

The Big In Belgium programme at Summerhall is always great and this year is no different. Our aim is to see more international work this year but will obviously catch old friends and be on the look for out for new experimental things as well.

How do you feel to be performing at Underbelly Cowgate?

We’ve always performed at Underbelly so it feels like home. That damp familiarity of the sweaty, dank stone cellar walls is now strangely comforting.

Who or what are your inspirations?

Our work is heavily influenced by queer cabaret artists like David Hoyle, storytelling masters like Kneehigh, and fantastic writers like Tim Crouch. The drive to make work will always be the need to celebrate queer stories and challenge other ones with our queer goggles on.

What is your secret to surviving the intense, fast pace of the fringe?

Stay dry: from the weather and (occasionally) from all the booze. Also, be sure to get out of the city on your day(s) off.

What are the future plans for your show?

JOAN is heading out on tour again in the autumn 2017. During 2018 we’re hopefully off to the Perth and Adelaide Fringe’s and a one off show in Malta in 2018.

What is the best production you have seen this year – can be any genre, style, in any theatre or performance space?

The Bear/The Proposal at the Young Vic was a wonderful exploration into how we can queer narratives and rewrite how society views gender.

Emma Rice’s season at The Globe has been brilliant and we once again fell in love Kneehigh and their storming show Tristan & Yseult.

Is there anything else you want to highlight about your show/ theatre company/ production?

Just like last year, every performance of JOAN will be captioned using the Difference Engine for those who are deaf or struggle with following spoken English. This has been made possible with the support of Derby Theatre and working with Talking Birds theatre company who developed the innovative captioning system, the Difference Engine.

Our new show BULLISH is premiering this summer, followed by a three week run at Camden People’s Theatre as part of Come As You Are Festival 2017.



Writer/ Director: Lucy J Skilbeck

Producer: Milk Presents

Design: Emma Bailey; Josh Pharo (lighting)

Cast: Lucy Jane Parkinson

Image courtesy of Milk Presents

JOAN plays Underbelly Cowgate as part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2017 from 21 – 27 August 2017. For more information or to book tickets, please visit the website.