So after almost a year of planning, writing, editing, rehearsing, recording, fretting, flyering, performing, and everything else that comes with it, the dust is finally settling on my Edinburgh Fringe run, and plans are tentatively being made for the next chapter.

The week at Sweet Venues in 2015 was a huge experience for me in terms of both my life and my career, so when I had the opportunity to do a full run in 2017, I didn’t hesitate for a second. I knew that it’d be my biggest challenge to date, and a roller-coaster on all fronts, but I also knew that it’d be worth everything that I put into it.

As I’m sure you know, an Edinburgh Fringe run is a brutally expensive thing to do – particularly when you’re self-funded. As a full-time poet, there’s no way I’d have been able to do this under normal circumstances. It was entirely thanks to the Nationwide Building Society advert that my circumstances allowed it, and that’s the only thing I’ll say publicly about the whole thing.

The show means an awful lot to me on a personal and political level. Content wise, it was born largely out of circumstance and experience. The socio-economic climate which led to many working-class communities voting Leave is something that I grew up with. When I visited The Jungle, I had no idea that I’d be writing this show. And the kitchen-sink realism which tells Maria’s story has always been my favourite genre.

Performing at Underbelly Cowgate was incredible. I saw a few shows there in 2015 and it stuck with me as one of my favourite venues. So all in all it absolutely meant the world to me. Thanks a million to everybody that supported – both in Edinburgh and at home/online. The little things make all of the difference – comments, messages, etc. Seeing friendly faces in the audience during such an intense month always boosts the performance as well.

Pasco-Q and the team at Norwich Arts Centre were fantastic, as were Steve Forster and Steph Potts from SFP PR. And also everybody that I shared a drink with up in Auld Reekie…until next time.

The reviews shouldn’t matter to an artist but I’d be talking bollocks if I said they didn’t matter to me. I finished with 5* in The New European, which meant an awful lot – partly because of the nature of the paper in relation to the nature of my show, and partly because I’ve loved reading it since it launched last year.

5* again from Broadway Baby, plus 4* from The Wee Review and The Theatre Guide, a “Highly Recommended” listing from FringeReview, and great write-ups in The Scotsman and The Morning Star.

I’m currently in the very early stages of developing the show, before touring it around the UK next year. I’m keeping my cards close to my chest in terms of how it’s being developed, but all will be revealed in due course.

Again, thanks to everybody that’s supported Two Little Ducks so far. Onwards and upwards…

poet, educator & activist

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