I have lost count of the number of years I have been coming to the Edinburgh Fringe, let alone of the number of performances I have attended; what I have not lost, however, is the joy and wonder I feel every year when I immerse myself in much of what the Fringe has to offer. Literally thousands of performances, at hundreds of venues, over a 4 week period every August… it is no surprise that the city and surrounding areas almost visibly explode with creativity. Uplifting and energising, the Edinburgh Fringe is where to be at this time of year.
One of the highlights for me this year was the Universoul Circus – an astonishingly vibrant, energetic and daring collection of diverse acts from across the globe, who at times, appeared to challenge the laws of gravity. From audacious tightrope walking to high octane limbo dancing, and with acrobatics, hip hop and edgy clown antics thrown into the mix, this show was one long OMG moment. Think Notting Hill carnival on steroids… the joy of it all was palpable. A sign of greatness in the arts – books, plays, art, music… anything – is that they change you, and that your encounter with them makes you just that bit more of a different (and hopefully better) human being. If we are to make the most of our time on this planet, then we need constantly to grow and evolve, and the inspiration that the arts sparks in us is one of the most sure-fire ways for us to achieve this.
A wise friend of mine once told me that everyone should take some extended time every year to become still, calm the mind and rebuild a sense of self; I am absolutely certain that this is true – equally, I believe that we each need to take some extended time each year to stretch our imaginations way beyond the limits we thought they might have, to gasp in awe at the capabilities of the human body, to see and experience things we would never otherwise see and experience, and to free our minds to soar.
Suitably rejuvenated, we can return to the task of growing, stretching and empowering the young people of today, whose imaginations often already far exceed those of their adult peers. Educators of the world – enjoy!!