Three Bugs Fringe Theatre

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Three Bugs Fringe Theatre (or 3BUGS) is a society of the University of Birmingham Guild of Students. Set up in 2003 by Stephen Makin and Michael Wood, its primary purpose is to allow University of Birmingham Students to take productions to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe each summer.

University of Birmingham Guild of Students

The University of Birmingham Guild of Students is the officially recognised body that represents around 37,000 students at the University of Birmingham. The Guild functions as a students' union as per the Education Act 1994.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe arts festival

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the world's largest arts festival, which in 2018 spanned 25 days and featured more than 55,000 performances of 3,548 different shows in 317 venues. Established in 1947 as an alternative to the Edinburgh International Festival, it takes place annually in Edinburgh, Scotland, in the month of August.


2015 Productions

In 2015 3Bugs performed a sell out physical theatre production of Philip Ridley's The Fastest Clock in the Universe in a renovated warehouse container at Minerva works in Digbeth. Directed by Beatrice Updegraff & Arianne Brooks, produced by Catherine Butler, choreography by Jessica Barber and starring Joel Heritage as Cougar Glass, William Jackson as Captain Tock, Jack Alexander as Foxtrot Darling, Alice Hodgson as Sherbet Gravel and Maya Whatton as Cheetah Bee.

Philip Ridley is an English storyteller working in a wide range of artistic media.

<i>The Fastest Clock in the Universe</i> play written by Philip Ridley

The Fastest Clock in the Universe is a two act play by Philip Ridley. It was Ridley's second stage play and premiered at the Hampstead Theatre, London on 14 May 1992 and featured Jude Law in one of his early major stage roles in the part of Foxtrot Darling. The production was the second collaboration between Ridley and director Matthew Lloyd, who would go on to direct the original productions for the majority of Ridley's plays until 2000.

Digbeth District in Birmingham, England

Digbeth is an area of Central Birmingham, England. Following the destruction of the Inner Ring Road, Digbeth is now considered a district within Birmingham City Centre. As part of the Big City Plan, Digbeth is undergoing a large redevelopment scheme that will regenerate the old industrial buildings into apartments, retail premises, offices and arts facilities. There is still however much industrial activity in the south of the area. As part of the plans Digbeth Coach Station has also been redeveloped and renamed Birmingham Coach Station.

In March 2015 3Bugs also performed Lucy Prebble's 'The Effect' in the Guild of Students. Directed by Beth Kapilla, produced by Rickey Carey and Euan Codrington and starring Jack Alexander as Tristan, Emily Anderson as Connie, Vita Fox and Dr Lorna James and Benjamin Firth as Dr Toby Sealey.

2009 Edinburgh Fringe

In 2009, 3BUGS had their most successful festival yet with successes of both Ophelia (Drowning) and Baba Yaga Bony Legs.

Ophelia (Drowning) was adapted and directed by Daniel Marchese Robinson and Daniel Pitt from Deborah Levy's Pushing the Prince into Denmark script with excerpts from Shakespeare's Hamlet. It was performed in the swimming pool of the Apex International Hotel, Edinburgh and was inspired by Millias's painting Ophelia. Ophelia (Drowning) received huge press attention after being photographed for The Guardian newspaper on the first day of the festival and sold out every performance. Reviews ranged from 5* from ThreeWeeks, to 4* from The Scotsman, The Telegraph, British Theatre Guide and Fringe Review, with some 3*.

<i>Hamlet</i> tragedy by William Shakespeare

The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, often shortened to Hamlet, is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare at an uncertain date between 1599 and 1602. Set in Denmark, the play dramatises the revenge Prince Hamlet is called to wreak upon his uncle, Claudius, by the ghost of Hamlet's father, King Hamlet. Claudius had murdered his own brother and seized the throne, also marrying his deceased brother's widow.

Ophelia character in Hamlet

Ophelia is a character in William Shakespeare's drama Hamlet. She is a young noblewoman of Denmark, the daughter of Polonius, sister of Laertes, and potential wife of Prince Hamlet.

<i>The Guardian</i> British national daily newspaper

The Guardian is a British daily newspaper. It was founded in 1821 as The Manchester Guardian, and took its current name in 1959. Along with its sister papers The Observer and The Guardian Weekly, the Guardian is part of the Guardian Media Group, owned by the Scott Trust. The Scott Trust was created in 1936 "to secure the financial and editorial independence of the Guardian in perpetuity and to safeguard the journalistic freedom and liberal values of the Guardian free from commercial or political interference". The Scott Trust was converted into a limited company in 2008, with a constitution written so as to project the same protections for The Guardian as were originally built into the very structure of the Scott Trust by its creators. Profits are reinvested in journalism rather than to benefit an owner or shareholders.

Baba Yaga Bony Legs was written by Polly Tisdall and Sian Warde and told the Russian folk tale, Baba Yaga entirely in the dark and received 4* from ThreeWeeks.

Baba Yaga mythological figure, fantasy character, witch

In Slavic folklore, Baba Yaga is a supernatural being who appears as a deformed and/or ferocious-looking woman. In Russian fairytales Baba Yaga flies around in a mortar, wields a pestle, and dwells deep in the forest in a hut usually described as standing on chicken legs. Baba Yaga may help or hinder those that encounter or seek her out and may play a maternal role and has associations with forest wildlife. According to Vladimir Propp's folktale morphology, Baba Yaga commonly appears as either a donor, villain, or may be altogether ambiguous.

2008 Edinburgh Fringe

In 2008, 3Bugs Fringe Theatre's contribution to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival was a tenth anniversary production of Crave by Sarah Kane, and ex-Birmingham MPhil Playwriting student, to geat success and much press coverage.

Crave is a one-act play by British playwright Sarah Kane. It was first performed in 1998 by the theatre company Paines Plough, with which Kane was writer-in-residence for the year, at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh. The play was initially presented under the pseudonym Marie Kelvedon; Kane used a pseudonym to avoid the distraction of her reputation for graphic staged violence from her previous works. Crave was Kane's fourth play. It is dedicated by the author to Mark Ravenhill.

Sarah Kane English playwright

Sarah Kane was an English playwright who is known for her plays that deal with themes of redemptive love, sexual desire, pain, torture—both physical and psychological—and death. They are characterised by a poetic intensity, pared-down language, exploration of theatrical form and, in her earlier work, the use of extreme and violent stage action. Kane herself, as well as scholars of her work, such as Graham Saunders, identify some of her inspirations as expressionist theatre and Jacobean tragedy. The critic Aleks Sierz has seen her work as part of what he has termed In-Yer-Face theatre, a form of drama which broke away from the conventions of naturalist theatre. Kane's published work consists of five plays, one short film (Skin), and two newspaper articles for The Guardian.

Directed by Daniel Pitt


5* Three Weeks

4* British Theatre Guide

Crave was also recorded for a documentary on BBC Radio Four on Sarah Kane's life and work.

And it was mentioned in the Comedy 365 podcast for Wednesday 18 August 8

Past Productions at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

In 2003 Three Bugs production of Skin written and directed by Michael Wood and Stephen Makin took place at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. In 2004, a three star production of David Adey's original piece Laius took place at the Fringe, as well as Makin's second project. Steven Berkoff's Metamorphosis was performed outside on scaffolding at the new Greenside venue, receiving a four star review from the Fringe dedicated magazine ThreeWeeks. In a first for the society, it also toured Britain, stopping at The University of Birmingham Guild of Students, the Crescent Theatre in Birmingham as part of the Birmingham Festival, and the cornerHOUSE in Surbiton, Surrey. By 2005, Three Bugs had four shows at the Festival. Kitty MacDonald wrote and directed Neverland, a musical based upon Peter Pan, to a four star review. C venues hosted Sam Luck's production of the Dario Fo play "Accidental Death of an Anarchist" (three stars, Three Weeks). In a directorial debut, Alex Kentish directed Charlotte Keatley's My Mother Said I Never Should receiving three stars from ThreeWeeks. In the company's second tour, Alex Freeman and Becky Sandy took Five Kinds of Silence to Birmingham, Sunderland and the Greenside venue in Edinburgh, receiving three stars in two different publications. In 2006 Three Bugs performed "Grimms Tales" by Carol Anne Duffy at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, with a cast of talented young University of Birmingham actors, including Pamela Lingham.

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