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Sugar and Blood - EdFringe 2023

The landscape of the Edinburgh Fringe lends itself to the slightly safer waters of solo shows and quirky comedy, so it’s an exciting and bold move to see a female led political thriller take to the biggest stage in the world. Sugar and Blood is the new play by the women led and Liverpool based company, Tinted Theatre. Written by Solveig Paulsen, who also forms part of the four strong female cast, Sugar and Blood is a political period piece and murder mystery set within the context of the Suffragette movement in Manchester. The stories more commonly associated with our northern comrades in Manchester tend to arise from it being the crucible of the industrial revolution; from the Peterloo massacre to the miners strikes of Thatcherite Britain, these are important stories in our shared political history, but they are male dominated ones. Therefore it's refreshing to see young and emerging female artists delve into a neglected, but equally politically rich moment in Manchester's history; the formation of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU). But with change, comes protest, and with protest comes danger, and it’s within those intersecting elements that the story of Sugar and Blood unfolds.

We interviewed Tinted Theatre to find out more.

1. Can you give us a sneak peek into your show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe? What can audiences expect when they come to see your performance?

1903. The Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) is formed in Manchester, creating the militant wing of the British women's suffrage movement. In the household of Leville, the women are fighting their own battle searching for truth. A body has gone missing. And the blood is on all their hands. This is not a question of who committed the crime - everyone's guilty of that. The question is who took the body and why? And what will be the consequences? A murder mystery, but different, where audiences can expect a fusion of different elements and styles of theatre, including experimental, physical theatre, song and a bit of good old feminine rage.

2. The Edinburgh Fringe is known for its vibrant and diverse atmosphere. How do you plan to engage with the festival audience and create a memorable experience for them?

With the combination of a fiction period piece alongside modern 21st century elements, we want to bring awareness of important feminist issues of the time that are still relevant today. We believe that Sugar and Blood’s unique selling point is the incorporation of the murder mystery aspect, which is going to create a bridge between political discussions and thrilling entertainment. If you are interested in resolving a different kind of murder mystery this fringe, this is the show for you.

3. As a performer at the Edinburgh Fringe, what are you most excited about? Are there any specific aspects of the festival that you are looking forward to exploring?

We came to Edinburgh Fringe for the first-time last year, and what we were most delightfully surprised by was the sense of community of the #FEMIFRINGE collective and all the new up and coming theatre companies taking their shows up for the first time. Of course, we are super excited to debut our new show to an audience, but there’s nothing like performing in an environment where you are surrounded by theatre in every inch and corner of the city. There is a big sense of “we’re all in this together” and not only does that inspire us to present our best work, but it also makes us so excited to go and watch so much diverse theatre. We cannot wait to see what people are bringing to Edinburgh Fringe this year!

4. Your show incorporates elements of feminism and women's experiences. Could you share how these themes are woven into the narrative or performance? What inspired you to explore these particular topics?

By taking our show Sugar and Blood to Fringe, as an all-woman-run feminist theatre company; we want to take aspects of women's history and apply them to today's audiences, using our voices to find similarities between the treatment of women in today's society and in the past, thus establishing connections with other feminist creatives. This is especially very important to us, as our work usually is inspired by conversations we have amongst ourselves, followed by the realisation that these topics need to be discussed outside an all-female circle. So, what better safe space to talk about these things to wider audiences in an artistic and creative space than theatre?

5. Have you encountered any unique challenges or obstacles in the industry? How do you navigate these challenges, and what advice would you give to other women pursuing careers in the arts?

As women, we encountered challenges before we even joined together to form a company, and if anything has kept us going, it’s the response to someone telling us “you can’t do it”. There’s nothing more empowering than proving that we can do whatever we set our minds to.

Theatre is more than just acting, it’s about building connections and working as a team. It’s a profession where most people are in the same boat in terms of how tough the industry can be. If you are thinking of creating inclusive feminist work, we recommend that you talk to and connect with other feminist creatives! If we don’t have each other’s backs, who will? If you do, you will find that this can generate more work for women in the theatre industry. Consequently, we are planning to host a Feminist Showcase Night during our run in Edinburgh, which we hope will be an opportunity to gather all Femi-Fringe artists and creatives under the same roof to show support for each other and for the same cause.

6. What do you hope audiences will take away from your show, especially in terms of the feminist and women-centric thems? Is there a specific message or emotion you aim to leave them with?

The most important thing to take away from our work is that feminist theatre means making theatre for everyone. It means talking about topics like youth, sexuality, class, religion, past and present, and making relevant connections. We don’t have the answers, but we aim to, at the very least, bring an awareness of these themes, and ultimately create an opportunity for discussion. By setting Sugar and Blood within the 1903 suffragette movement in Manchester, the play creates a feminist discussion about past and present themes relating to women’s rights. The murder mystery aspect of the show creates a bridge between political discussions and thrilling entertainment that we hope will bring awareness, to a wide audience, of the continuing fight for gender equality.

Introduction and edit by Louise Oliver (Editor, Persistent and Nasty Blog)

Show Details

Date(s): 5th - 11th August

Time: 7pm

Venue: Zoo Playground 1

Booking Link (via Zoo) :

Booking Link (Via Ed Fringe) :

Twitter: @TintedTheatre

Instagram: @tintedtheatre

TikTok: @tintedtheatre

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