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Rachael Young heads to Edinburgh Fringe after prize win

TRAILBLAZER: Rachael Young will benefit from £10,000 towards hires, access, marketing and more ahead of and during this year’s Edinburgh Fringe

ONE OF the UK’s leading black theatre companies, Eclipse Theatre, announced Rachael Young as the first ever recipient of their pioneering Eclipse Award.

The first of its kind, The Eclipse Award aims to tackle the barriers faced by black artists at the Edinburgh Fringe by removing the upfront venue rental cost and offering a contribution to technical hires, access, marketing and networking costs, accommodation and travel, allowing the artist to perform their work at the highest possible standard.

Over the moon to have received the assistance, much needed by artists on the come up, Young said: “I’m thrilled to be a recipient of this new award.

“As a black artist from a working class background, the Eclipse Award unlocks a unique opportunity for me to access the Festival. It is great to be part of a platform that celebrates marginalised voices and I hope that my work will help to stimulate powerful, positive discussion.”

Presented by Eclipse Theatre and Summerhall, one of the festival’s leading venues, the ground-breaking Award is open to black artists based in the UK who make boundary-pushing performance work and has been backed by leading contemporary actors Danny Sapani, Rakie Ayola and Noma Dumezweni.

Nottingham-based Young is a maker of theatre, live art, interactive installations and socially engaged projects. Her current work explores notions of freedom and bravery and is inspired by autobiographical experience in relation to socio-political landscapes.

BACKING: Danny Sapani is among those who have pledged support to the award

Young has presented work at The Lowry, Tate Modern, and National Theatre of Wales amongst others, and her practice includes lecturing, mentoring, public speaking and advocacy. Supported by the Eclipse Award, she will take two shows to Edinburgh: NIGHTCLUBBING and OUT.

She enthused: “It’s invigorating to be part of the change, working alongside organisations that are actively lobbying for fairer representation at the Fringe. I look forward to immersing myself in the experience, connecting with audiences and artists, and tapping into that famous Fringe energy.”

Dawn Walton, artistic director at Eclipse Theatre said: “The panel was unanimous in its choice of Rachael Young as the inaugural recipient of the Eclipse Award.

“Her work is brave and bold, specific and personal, yet universal and above all - original. I am delighted that through our incredible partnership with Summerhall The Eclipse Award is able to support Rachael’s shows in Edinburgh with a £10,000 cash bursary and amongst other things a vital care package of support from The Sick of The Fringe.

“Thank you also to the Patrons for their generous support. Thinking about a world where Rachael Young’s amazing shows were not presented at the international platform of the Edinburgh Fringe is unbearable, yet this is the reality for many other talented black Artists/Companies – even those who are specifically invited to showcases. I hope that the Eclipse Award will highlight this problem and start the conversation around this issue.”

Alongside a significant £10,000 cash bursary, Young will receive a bespoke package of marketing support as well as technical support and production guidance. Young will also benefit from The Sick of the Fringe, a strategy which aims to make the world safer for challenging art and challenging realities.

Rachael will perform a full run of NIGHTCLUBBING and OUT at Old Lab, Summerhall on the following dates: NIGHTCLUBBING August 2 - 11 (previews: July 31 and August 1); OUT August 13 - 25 (no show on 19 August).

Tickets are on sale from May 16.

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