Hibrow, the digital arts pioneers, are taking Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the world’s biggest arts festival, out of its cobbled confines and into Brighton’s Odeon cinema, with a series of special screenings throughout August.

Hibrow Hour, generously supported by Arts Council England, is a series of daily performances at Edinburgh’s fêted Summerhall venue, throughout this year’s Fringe. Eight of these new shows, spanning theatre, comedy, opera and visual art, have been specially designed to be transmitted via satellite to selected ODEON Cinemas nationwide.

Hibrow Hour represents an exciting new digital frontier for the legendary festival: three brand new plays by young theatre-makers, an opera from an internationally recognised artist/filmmaker, comedy acts curated by two of Britain’s most celebrated comedy producers, and a show from the inimitable Steven Berkoff who epitomises the Festivals dedication to talent and innovation. All designed to bring to cinema audiences the excitement of the festival. Each 90 minute programme will also include exclusive coverage of the Festival at large in a specially produced featurette.

The first screening, on Mon 4 Aug will be The Dispute, a new incarnation of Marivaux’s La Dispute, directed by National Theatre Staff Director and former RSC assistant director Emily Kempson. The play chronicles a bold scientific experiment in which four babies are raised in isolation for eighteen years before being released to discover a world of seduction, deception and the dark, labyrinthine recesses of human nature and sexual desire.

On Wed 6 August, Hibrow and ODEON will then screen the first ever comedy performance at Summerhall and the first edition of The Hibrow Comedy Hour; a show from the UK’s foremost satirical rockers, Jonny & The Baptists who shot to national attention with their acerbically catchy number, UKIP, and promise an hour of high-calibre musical comedy with political bite.

On Mon 11 Aug is another daring and emotionally potent theatrical offering, The Man Who Almost Killed Himself, an adaptation of the writings of anthropologist Andrew Irving, developed by Josh Azouz. The Man Who Almost Killed Himself is an arresting comedic account of a Ugandan man in the grip of HIV/AIDs whose attempts, in flagrant disregard of the country’s draconian laws, to take his own life are repeatedly unsuccessful. Based on a true story, the performance will feature live music from BAFTA-nominated African fusion band The Ganda Boys. Azouz trained at Birkbeck and the École Philippe Gaulier and has worked with the Library Theatre, Tricycle Theatre as well as being an associate artist for Muslim-Jewish theatre company MUJU.

Tue 12 Aug features more comedy from New Act of the Year Finalists, the superstar sketch quartet Four Screws Loose.

Thu 14 Aug will see a rare and unique screening of an uninhibited never seen before one-man show from legendary actor Steven Berkoff featuring poetry, storytelling and discussion, Berkoff the Inimitable (Top).

On Mon 18 August, is Sleight & Hand, the debut full-length play written by award winning playwright Chris Bush and directed by Marieke Audsley tells the tale of an illusionist and a pickpocket who form an unlikely crime-fighting duo in Victorian London. Audsley studied at the University of Cambridge before training as a director at Birkbeck College and then assistant directing at The Royal Shakespeare Company and The Crucible.

Wed 20 Aug sees the final Hibrow Comedy Hour performance which sees winner of the Spirit of the Fringe and Three Weeks Editor Awards, Sarah-Louise Young, returning as Cabaret Whore for an evening of brilliant character comedy and glittering original songs, introducing desperate divas from around the globe, from tortured French chanteuse La Poule Plombée to washed up lounge crooner Bernie St Clair.

Finally, as a spectacular finale on Thu Aug 21, Hibrow will present an outrageous operatic satire from the wickedly funny imagination of renowned artist and film-maker Alison Jackson: A Story in the Public Domain (below). Details about this project are currently under wraps and will be announced before the festival opens.

Alison Jackson - Hibrow Hour - Summerhall 2014

These screenings offer the first opportunity to combine the thrill of artistic discovery that only the Edinburgh Festival Fringe can offer with the unparalleled pleasure of a trip to the Cinema.
Don Boyd, Artistic Director for Hibrow, commented, “Our Hibrow Hour at Summerhall was conceived with the intention of offering audiences everywhere a flavour of Edinburgh’s creative buzz in August. Our relationship with Odeon has given us the opportunity to fulfil that ambition and so extend the great work pioneered by the National Theatre and the Royal Opera House in bringing exciting new shows to local cinemas all over the country”.

The British based filmmaker Don Boyd, Hibrow’s Founder and Artistic Director, has gathered a wide range of established professionals in the international arts industries, Hibrow Curators, to create content exclusively for Hibrow. Three years of research and development and one “live” pilot year has resulted in the successful production of over 200 hours of professionally produced High Definition video. In 2013, Hibrow was awarded a considerable grant by Arts Council England to support its 2014/15 production programme.

Hibrow’s content is refreshed every month, and is radically different to current broadcast television and other online content. Available free, it is professionally produced, contemporary and original. With unique, unparalleled access, Hibrow’s production teams capture behind-the-scenes material, rehearsals, work in progress and interviews as well as final performances, shows and artworks.

Hibrow has nurtured relationships with some of the world’s great arts institutions and continues to build new ones with those who want to use the Hibrow platform to expose larger audiences to their work. These embrace a very broad range of international artistic talent including Vasily Petrenko, Russia’s young conductor; Dominic Hill, artistic director of Glasgow’s Citizens Theatre; Newton Aduaka, Nigeria’s young film director; Raf Bonachela, Spain’s great choreographer; Gavin Turk, the British artist; Margaret Atwood, Canada’s great novelist; Mark Cousins, the internationally revered filmmaker and historian; Mania Akbai, the acclaimed Iranian filmmaker, actress, artist and writer and Britain’s great spy author, John Le Carré. Their contributions have allowed Hibrow to fashion intimate films of entire performances of new plays, concerts, exhibitions, and literary events all of which have subsequently received glowing critical reviews.

Hibrow has associations with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh, Tate St Ives, Charleston Manor Music Festival, FESPACO, and World Book Night to complement content from the significant artists who are already working with Hibrow’s production teams. Hibrow has also developed a relationship with NODA, Britain’s only association for amateur drama companies. 7 million people visit their members’ venues every year.

Located by The Meadows, Summerhall is Europe’s largest private multi-arts venue. It is open all year round, providing facilities for over 700 visual and performing arts productions and events alongside work spaces for several hundred artists, technologists and others. The site of the old Royal (Dick) Veterinary College was bought in 2011 to create Summerhall for all the arts, education & research, and adhering to the founding principles of the Edinburgh Festival.

Line up

Mon 4 Aug – The Dispute
Wed 6 Aug – Hibrow Comedy Hour: Jonny & The Baptists
Mon 11 Aug – The Man Who Almost Killed Himself
Tue 12 Aug – Four Screws Loose
Thu 14 Aug – Berkoff, the Inimitable
Mon 18 Aug – Sleight & Hand
Tue 20 Aug – Sarah Louise Young as Cabaret Whore
Wed 21 Aug – Alison Jackson: A Story in the Public Domain

Brighton Odeon is at Kingswest on West Street, Brighton, BN1 2RE