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A new LGBT+ support system has been created for Edinburgh Fringe creators and crew


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“The fact we are even there in the first place is something to celebrate.”

Teddy Lamb by Scallywag Fox - Photography

This year at the Edinburgh Fringe, Teddy Lamb, a LGBT performer whose show Polaris will be on at Pleasance Below, has decided to tackle the "isolation" many queer performers experiance at the festival. The weekly group will meet every Monday of the Fringe (6th, 13th and 20th), 4pm to 6.30pm, at Underbelly's Cow Cafe which Underbelly has provided free of charge. 

As the facebook event page notes, it will offer "a weekly drop in group where queer performers, producers, critics, stage crew, audiences etc can all meet up to support each other and network". 

In a "safe, inclusive, wheelchair accessible space" Lamb hopes they "can support the community" with people able to "sell" their shows and "ask for advice".

"The Edinburgh Fringe Queer Meet Up does exactly what it says on the tin", Teddy Lamb states. 

Why this event now? In 2016, during Lamb's last experiance at the festival, he "felt very isolated" from his London Queer support system and "didn't know how or where" to meet fellow LGBT performers in the amazing, but busy, Edinburgh of August Fringe month. 

Lamb, talking to The Stage, highlighted that a stereotype of the arts is that its thought to be "super inclusive" of LGBT people. 

The Edinburgh Fringe however, is increasingly becoming "so expensive to be there". And this results in a "sort of artists" who can be there "because they can afford it". These privlidged performers and crew are from a "world that trans and non-binary performers are unable to get to" due to often having less traditional support structures built around family, university or work. 

Teddy Lamb hopes to get invited industry guests along and ensure the events are enjoyable, supportive and inclusive.

The project arises just as the Fringe has dedicated itself to ensuring inclusivity in other ways. This year disabled people are being included in the Fringe like never before, from performances to reviewers to audiences. 

The Sit Up Awards have found that the 2018 Fringe has 235 of 966 theatre productions covering social issues like LGBT identity, disability, race, gender, poverty, mental health, abuse, bullying and similar. 

Meanwhile, the festival has joined forces with Euan's Guide to offer free tickets to disabled reviewers in return for reviews on their accessibility of venues. 

Lastly the festival is offering Autism-friendly backpacks for visitors featuring a fidget toy, earplugs, a photo story describing various street events, an Edinburgh Map and list of "relaxed" performances. Through this they hope to make the city's festival as accessible for autistic people as possible, instead of an experience involving sensory overload. 

Teddy Lamb's event fits into this commitment to a better and more inclusive Fringe. It offers LGBT performers the ability to connect with each other instead of being isolated across the city from each other. 

And, "The fact we are even there in the first place is something to celebrate", Teddy enthuses.  

Roll on Fringe 2018. 

This article is part of our coverage of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Click here to read other articles written by our contributors. 
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