Edinburgh Festival Spotlight: COW

Edinburgh Festival Spotlight: COW

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

Next up in our Spotlight feature is COW, which plays Edinburgh Festival from 3 – 27 August 2017. I caught up with writer and actor Jessica Barker-Wren and director Lucy Wray:

Describe your show in three words.

Rural. Tragicomedy. Catsuit.

Is this your first Edinburgh Fringe performance experience?

Lucy Wray: For the last two years I’ve had a great time at Pleasance, last year directing They Built It. No One Came for Fledgling Theatre. And the year before that, Goodstock, with Lost Watch.

Jessica Barker-Wren: I’ve been up before with comedy but this is my first solo show and the first play that I’ve written so it feels like a totally new experience!

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

Heather by Dancing Brick. Box Clever by Nabokov.  New work by Gecko. Richard Carpenter Close To You is hilarious and we loved seeing the new Ontroerend Goed show £¥€$ (LIES) during our residency at Theatre Royal Plymouth – we’ll definitely see both those again, and How To Win Against History!

How do you feel to be performing at Underbelly Cowgate?

We love iiiiiiiiiiit. With a show called COW, Underbelly was the obvious choice, and Iron Belly is our favourite venue in Underbelly Cowgate so we are over the moon!

Who or what are your inspirations?

We’re constantly trying to process our experiences it really can come from anything and then you try to bring that to the stage, it’s a satisfying challenge. News stories, birds washed up on the beach, it’s good when stories come from places you don’t expect. This year Breach Theatre’s Tank: a story about a sexy dolphin in the style of Martin Crimp really reinvigorated Jessica Barker-Wren. Awesome women and awesome stories keep us going.

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

Eating well, sleeping well, walks up Arthur’s Seat, swims in the sea in Portobello, whisky.

What are the future plans for your show?

COW is set in Devon so we’re excited about touring the South West and rural areas throughout the UK. The Fringe is a great way to build momentum, and get the show in front of audiences and programmers for the year ahead: we’re bringing the cow to market!

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

Murray v Fognini on Centre Court at Wimbledon: an epic gladiatorial fight to the death.

At the theatre, we loved Sally Cookson’s La Strada which we saw the The Northcott while we were working on COW at the Bike Shed in Exeter and The Treatment at Almeida.

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

There’s a life-size cow on wheels.


Writer: Jessica Barker-Wren

Director: Lucy Wray

Producer: Macaw

Design: Joe Price (lighting)

Cast: Jesesica Barker-Wren

COW plays Underbelly Ccowgate as part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2017 from 3 – 27 August 2017. For more information or to book tickets, please visit the website.