JOAN hits the Edinburgh Fringe Festival: originally part of Derby Theatre RETOLD series


Following a phenomenally popular preview at Derby Theatre in July 2015, as part of their RETOLD series; an excerpt shown during the Theatre’s DEparture Lounge festival last summer, and a recent highly acclaimed UK tour, JOAN now hits the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, on at the Underbelly, Cowgate (Venue 61) from Mon 8 until Mon 15 August, and from Wed 16 until Sun 28 August.


JOAN has received great reviews to date with Lyn Gardner from The Guardian describing the show as a “Magical transformation of a heretical heroine. This clever re-telling of the Joan of Arc story has comic fizz, emotional ballast and cross-dressing that looks like sorcery” with Broadway Baby adding “thoroughly entertaining, cleverly written and immaculately performed” and “beautiful and Lyrical… a rightly reclaimed Martyrdom” from Exeunt Magazine.

Put your drinks down and your hands together, all the way from Domremy in France (via Soho and 600 years) it’s JOAN! An earthy story of courage, conviction and hope, this is Joan of Arc – quite possibly the world’s first drag king. Packed with guts, heart and some well-placed couscous, JOAN fuses lyrical new writing with quick wit and cabaret prowess.

Performed by drag king champion Lucy Jane Parkinson, aka LoUis CYfer (“a marvel to behold” Broadway Baby), and brought together by the ever-probing and playfully anarchic Milk Presents (“every minute spent with Milk Presents is a gift’ British Theatre Guide), JOAN is a fearless play about what it means to stand out, stand up and stand alone.

JOAN is directed by Lucy J Skilbeck, Derby Theatre’s BBC Performing Arts Fellow 2014, and made in association with Milk Presents.

Lucy Skilbeck said: “JOAN is an exploration of identity, determination and courage. It’s a modern take on a legend that has been used and abused for centuries. I wanted to specifically look at how a woman, an illiterate peasant girl, could achieve such incredible feats at a time when women were relatively powerless. In particular, Joan’s relationship with her own masculinity and the men around her, is what I think is key to unlocking her story. That’s why it made sense to work with a drag king – because they are always exploring the blurred line between genders. Also their performances are always so much fun, and I wanted that playful, cheeky and raucous cabaret feeling for the show which, Lucy Jane Parkinson definitely brings.”


JOAN and The Difference Engine

Every performance of JOAN during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival will be captioned using The Difference Engine, making it accessible for Deaf and hard of hearing audiences, as well as those who struggle with spoken English. JOAN is one of only four shows performing the full run in Edinburgh that offers every single performance with captioning.

The Difference Engine is a pioneering access system, developed by Talking Birds Theatre Company, to provide access to experimental, small scale and site-specific performance. It broadcasts captions (and potentially much more) to mobile devices, smart phones and tablets. The Difference Engine is currently a prototype access system. It has been used successfully on a number of shows, and it is expected to work well. The Difference Engine is still in a trial period so please bear with us if there are any glitches and do feedback on your experience.

Tickets for JOAN at the Underbelly are £10 – £11, concessions £9 – £10. For more information about the show and  to book tickets call the Box Office on  0131 226 0000.

If you want to use The Difference Engine please inform Box Office when you arrive. Charging blocks are available but it is recommended that your mobile device is charged prior to the performance.

JOAN resonates with an ever-growing dialogue about gender and sexuality and the need to represent a wider demographic on our UK stages.

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