Harrogate Theatre’s hidden help for Edinburgh Fringe

Laura Lindsay and Peter Carruthers in a scene from Hidden. (S)
Laura Lindsay and Peter Carruthers in a scene from Hidden. (S)

By Weekend Editor Graham Chalmers

Among the hundreds of shows previewing at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe is one which is unlikely to have happened without the help of Harrogate Theatre.

Starting today for a month-long run, the hilarious and poignant Hidden is the result of a unique collaboration between a small Sheffield/Manchester-based theatre company and Harrogate Theatre’s executive producer, Kevin Jamieson.

A sell-out success at Manchester’s Re:play Festival earlier in the year, Jamieson has played an important role in turning this two-hander written and performed by Laura Lindsay and Peter Carruthers into a potential Fringe hit.

“Laura said: “We knew we needed other theatres to see our work and be willing to programme us.

“Kevin was brilliant right from the first time I contacted him inviting him to see Hidden at The Lowry, where it was being staged as part of Re:Play Festival.

“He tweeted about the show and promised to come to see it. Another rarity, in my experience, was that Kevin kept this promise.”

“After that he contacted me to say how much he’d enjoyed it and that he would love to programme us at Harrogate Theatre.”

Produced under the production company Black Toffee, which Laura and Peter set up together recently, Hidden will also receive a run at Harrogate Theatre earlier next year.

It’s all a long way from Laura’s original inspiration, a simple goal, really , to create a role for herself.

Laura said: “Finding acting work as an new graduate is hard at the best of times. I thought the best way to get an acting job was to become a writer and write myself a part.

“Hidden started as one monologue I wrote for myself as I always struggled to find one to suit me for auditions.”

Eventually, Hidden evolved into the story of six people’s lives interweaving and unravelling, though this did not happen overnight.

Laura said: “ I wrote what I knew - a funny woman who is overweight. There is a ‘reveal’ in her story, which is where the idea of ‘hidden’ came from. I performed it at a couple of showcase events and it went down well.

“I started writing a few characters around the theme of things we keep secret from others - desires, fears, pain. But I hit a bit of a block.”

Fortunately, her good friend and fellow actor Peter suggested collaborating and making it a two-hander.

“Pete’s brilliant. He brought a whole host of fresh ideas around the theme of private thoughts and hiding things from others.”

The show is quite a challenge for Laura and Peter, who, between them, play all six characters in this memorably dark comedy-drama.

But they’re both confident, with Harrogate Theatre’s help, the show isn’t going to be hidden for long.

Laura said: “The fact of the matter is Edinburgh costs a lot of money but we have a great show and it’s an ideal opportunity to get it seen by a much wider audience.”

Hidden runs at The Underbelly, Cowgate, Edinburgh Fringe from August 7-25.

For tickets, call 0844 545 8252 or visit www.hiddenplay.co.uk

Hidden will run at Harrogate Theatre from January 28-February 1, 2014.