Guest Blog at Edfringe 2022: Jenson Parker-Stone from Game Night: “We have arrived!”

We have arrived, and it’s a feeling like no other!

The city is alive, and you can feel the passion from each artist radiating in every step.
’Game Night’ has been in the works for a few years. We’ve been met with a few roadblocks, time outs, the longest Monopoly ‘Go to Jail’ sentence that at times made us want to flip the board and dramatically storm out of the room. But that’s exactly what has kept us in the game this whole time – that passion, commitment and dedication.

Adam Hannigan wrote ‘Game Night’, inspired by his experiences in the LGBTQ+ scene in London after moving from a small village in Ireland. He acutely draws on inspiration from the noughties sitcoms he grew up with like Will & Grace and Friends, forming this ‘Abigail’s Party’ chaos (although, ironically, the writer has never seen it).

After the setback we all faced in 2020, we kept our spirits high and unapologetically brazen, communicating to our wider audience on Youtube and social media, but were ultimately forced into the hiatus that was the waiting game.

So when we heard Edinburgh Fringe might be happening again in 2022, our hearts were bursting with excitement and nerves. We get to be on a stage again! Do we remember how to act? What are the lines? What was the blocking? Are we viable?

Through some small changes to the cast, we got our show on its feet in London and were met with a sound that was forgotten, but one that soothed us like we were returning home – the sound of laughter and joy. The uproarious nature of our audience joining us in the unique beauty that is live theatre. We knew this show was special. We knew it had to make it to Edinburgh, through whatever personal sacrifices we had to bear.

Financial Budget
*Deep Breath*

HOW can we afford to get 7 actors to Edinburgh? Coming from a working class background, we don’t have the means to just do this. It has taken working overtime (a lot of overtime) in minimum wage jobs, throwing every spare penny and free minute of our time in to the planning of the show, organising fundraisers, calling on the creative talents of our friends to help us along, a Gofundme page asking our supporters who believe us to help us afford train fares, venue hire, accommodation, costumes, flyers and more. 

But does all that matter? No. Because, the truth is, you can’t put a price on achieving this dream!

We then get a booking to head to a venue in London for a months run in October – the London Transfer of a developed two-act version of our show. We are ECSTATIC!

But… As we’ve seen with so many of our friends in the industry, there was another plan in store. The announcement comes “Above the Stag ceased trading and is permanently closed.”

My heart breaks, tears fill my eyes and I feel that weight upon my chest as I take yet another blow from this industry.  Selfishly, I think of our loss – of everything we’ve worked for to get this show to be seen.  And then I think of the theatre, the community and the space. I was so lucky to have worked at Above the Stag as an actor and a choreographer back in 2015 – a place where I found friendships, fun, met some very influential people in my career who believed in and supported me, a place where I found love and a place where I started to ground myself as an actor in London.  And I thought of the actors, producers, writers, directors, technicians and venue operations staff who have had similar uplifting experiences.  And I thought of the community – the LGBTQ+ community who found a space that brought safety and compassion and everything we needed in seeing our stories on that stage, and my heart became very heavy.

But this isn’t the end for our little show that could. We remind ourselves that we are HERE, in possibly the biggest arts festival in the world, surrounded by all this talent and passion and we are here to give everything we have to every person that walks through that door – you are valued and you are the reason we do this. Where there is despair, we look for hope and I’m reminded that the grief of this lost opportunity can only come from the purest form of passion and love for what we do – and how incredibly lucky are we as artists to know that passion.

Jenson Parker-Stone


‘Game Night’ – Greenside @ Infirmary Street 10pm Book here.

Ear to Ear Productions