Guerilla Art and the Spirit of the Fringe

 Guerilla art, military musicians and minority voices – Matthew Shelley writes that Army@TheVirtualFringe is on the way and is making a splash in the media.

Would you necessarily think of the Army as being on the “front line of arts activism”?

For a lot of people it’s not an automatic association.

Heather Marshall at Redford Barracks. Picture by Mark Owens.

But a feature by arts journalist and critic Kate Copstick in The Scotsman highlights how “Army@theFringehas attached itself to some of the most creative, exciting and edgy companies around, and shown itself willing to confront some complex questions”.

Meanwhile The Herald says that Army@TheVirtualFringe is one of the initiatives helping keep Edinburgh’s festival spirit alive.

We hope that this year’s event, Army@TheVirtualFringe (which is all online and starts on Monday) continues to do all these things.

The other day we invited Heather Marshall of Leith-based LGBTQ, disabled, working class, activists arts organisation Creative Electric to create some guerrilla art at Redford Barracks.

The results give an idea of the sort of work she will be doing in her A@TVF youth engagement project to empower young people to find ways to express their thoughts, hopes and ideals.

This week we were also able to confirm that we’ll have double Olympic gold winner Colonel Dame Kelly Holmes as one of our guests – she’s on the post-show discussion panel which follows the online premiere of Rosie Kay’s 10 SOLDIERS.

Rosie Kay and Dame Kelly Holmes

Dame Kelly, who joined the Army at 18 after being brought up on a Kent council estate, saw the dance production live in Birmingham and described it as: “an impressive portrayal of military life that explores the highs and the lows for men, women and BAME soldiers in an honest and uncompromising way”.

On 24 August there’s also a workshop on championing minority voices in the arts through mixed media which will be led by Daisy Rogers, founder of Liberally.

Creating an online event has been entirely different from hosting productions at a physical venue – apart from anything else it has brought an increase in the number and diversity of events on offer.

For example moviemaker Phil Spencer is running a short film workshop and a film shorts night on Monday. The following week we have Aron De Casmaker teaching us all the basics of clown and a session on masks with NMT Automatics.

It’s all free but places need to be reserved at Please join us if you can.