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Fringe Comes to Care Homes

Wednesday July 4 2024

Edinburgh swing group Pitchblenders are among the performers taking part in this years Fringe Cares Fest

Residents of care homes in Edinburgh will get to experience music and dance from this year's Festival Fringe, thanks to an initiative from Edinburgh Interfaith Association (EIFA) and partners.

Under the Fringe Cares Fest, Fringe performers will perform at seven care homes around the city, to over 500 residents who may otherwise be unable to make it to performances.

The project is the initiative of EIFA chair Professor Joe Goldblatt. He said: “In 2022 my wife and I sponsored one performer at a local care home, and I was amazed when residents who had not spoken for months suddenly burst forth into song, in French, when a Fringe performer began to sing the Edith Piaf popular song La vie en rose.  As they sang along, I was speechless and in awe of the power of musical memories to inspire their strong positive emotional.”

In 2023 the programme was expanded to include four care homes, and this year that has extended to seven.

The Fringe Cares Fest is coordinated by EIFA with support from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society and Scottish Care.  The founding sponsor is Barchester Healthcare who are the owner – operator of four care homes in Edinburgh.

Shannon Cullen, Head of Lifestyle and Enrichment at Queens Manor Care Home, said: “I am delighted that Barchester is continuing as the founding sponsor for this special programme and that this worthwhile programme is almost doubling in size this year.  We know how delighted our residents have been to enjoy the performances of professional performers. If it were not for this unique programme, they would miss out on seeing this great talent.  Through the Fringe Cares at Edinburgh Festival Fringe we are able to bring the excitement, fun, delights, and memories of the Festival Fringe into seven care homes across the city of Edinburgh.”

Iain Stewart, executive director of EIFA said “We are very proud to have conceived this special programme as part of our commitment to bringing people together to celebrate, communicate, and appreciate one another through culture.  EIFA is the oldest interfaith association in Scotland and represents all faiths and none promoting respect, understanding, peace, and love throughout our city.  The Fringe Cares at Edinburgh Festival Fringe dramatically demonstrates how everyone may come together and greatly benefit through culture.”

All of the performers are appearing at the Fringe and have previously performed all over the world. Performances will include popular Broadway songs, the American Songbook, modern dance and a tribute to the legendary female jazz and blues vocalists Ella Fitzgerald, Etta James, and Eartha Kitt. In addition this year, for the first time, a variety of Festival Fringe Street performers shall also appear at each care home.

Shona McCarthy, Chief Executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society stated that ”Fringe Cares started back in 2022 to bring a taste of the Fringe into one of Edinburgh's care homes.  It's been great to see this project develop, under the leadership of  ProfessorJoe Goldblatt, himself a passionate friend and partner of the Fringe.  I'm delighted that this year the project has expanded into several care homes across Edinburgh and we look forward to working with Joe and the Edinburgh Interfaith Association as this project develops”

Following the performances, care home residents will be invited to participate in a unique Memories of the Festival Fringe project where their memories will be recorded and preserved for perpetuity through online podcasts produced by EIFA.

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