Stand Up Tragedy’s Free Festival of Tragedy

Stand Up Tragedy is returning to the Free Fringe with a mini festival celebrating the sadder things in life: 

‘takes in everything from music to comedy and is characterised by an emphasis on truth’ – The Independent

‘an entertaining bunch of melancholic oddballs’ – The London Word 

a ‘wildly diverse show’ – John Fleming

Stand-Up-Tragedy-poster_EDINBURGH-2015Like a Russian doll filled with laughter and tears, the Stand Up Tragedy team is creating a festival within a festival within a festival: inside the Edinburgh Fringe is the PBH Free Fringe, and inside the PBH Free Fringe is Stand Up Tragedy’s Edinburgh line-up. Building on two years of bringing quality tragedy to the fringe and four years of showcasing tragedy across London, we are expanding what we do to include even more diversity and emotions.

As well as putting on 12 hours of tragic variety, we are opening up the stage to include guest hosts and special collaborations. Added to this, we are producing host Dave Pickering’s first solo show and three public interviews with some of our tragic collaborators.

Stand Up Tragedy is more than a live show; it’s also a podcast, and during the festival our podcast feed will become a tragic channel, putting out the amazing array of tragedy recorded on our stages.

The aim of Stand Up Tragedy is to create safe spaces to talk about unsafe things.

Stand Up Tragedy: 8th – 30th August (except Tuesdays), 7:30pm at the Banshee Labyrinth, 29 – 35 Niddry Street, EH1 1LG, Venue 156

Getting Better Acquainted:  11th, 18th,25th August, 7:30pm at the Banshee Labyrinth

What About the Men? Mansplaining Masculinity:  12.05pm 8th-30th August (except Mondays) at Cabaret Voltaire, 36 Blair St, EH1 1QR, Venue 338

12 Hours of Tragedy:

Stand Up Tragedy aims to make audiences laugh until they cry and cry until they laugh. We invite performers from all parts of the arts to stand up and tell tragedy. We make you sad; we make you think; we make you smile. Expect music, comedy, fiction, spoken word, true stories and more, all playing up to the tragic form but not always taking it too seriously.

Our August 2015 line-ups include Tiernan Douieb, Shazia Mirza, Rob Auton, Adrienne Truscott, Christian Talbot, BBC Poetry Slam Winner Sophia Walker and Asian Women of the Year Award winner Sajeela Kershi. Every show offers a completely new combination of tragic flavours. Stand SUT shows are happening on 8-9th, 12-14th, 16th, 19th-21st, 26th-27th, 30th August.

The show is hosted and curated by “fiercely intelligent and intelligently fierce storyteller Dave Pickering (Exeunt Magazine), “a man with an obvious and commendable taste for the bizarre.” (John Fleming).

What About the Men? Mansplaining Masculinity:

WATM_poster-2015Dave Pickering takes us on a personal journey through gender as he tries to explain masculinity both to you and to himself. Part true storytelling, part TED talk and part apology, the show looks at how the patriarchy hurts men too, how the patriarchy has hurt him, and how he has hurt people because of patriarchy. Drawing on an anonymous survey of 1000 men, feminist theory, internet memes and his life experience, Dave will explain the conclusions he has come to after 33 years of trying to make peace with being a man.

The #ManSurvey, which was started as research for the show, has become a thing of it’s own. All 1000 responses plus analysis is collected together as an open-source resource at

Content note: This piece will talk at times about violence, sexual assault and bullying.

Cookie note: Dave will not be accepting your cookies for this show, but he will offer you cookies at the end.

The London preview of the show is at the Dogstar in Brixton on the 23rd July from 7:30pm.

It will also be previewed at Standon Calling on Friday 1st August.

Special Editions:

0003Stand Up Tragedy is dedicated to having multiple voices and approaches to the tragic, and so we have invited some guest hosts and collaborators to help expand what we do. We have eight special editions of the show:

10th August: Tragic Jabba: hosted and curated by Jenni Pascoe from the North East based spoken word night Jibba Jabba.  “showcasing the great and good of the region’s spoken word and poetry scene” Narc Magazine

15th August: Tragedy Fails Better:  Hosted by Varjack and Simpson, this podcast crossover with their Fail Better podcast will look at the tragic failures performers have had on and off stage. “a great rapport and on-stage chemistry and a natural feel for what’s funny and how to engage the crowd.” Sabotage Reviews

17th August: Guest host: Samantha Mann:  hosted and curated by Samantha Mann. “Samantha Mann is a minutely observed comic creation for those who love cringe humour.” Roger Cox, The Scotsman

22nd August: Tragic Violence: a showcase of the most tragic comedy that sketch group Casual Violence! have created.  Casual Violence mix Game of Thrones, the League of Gentlemen and Roald Dahl to create dark, twisted and silly skits… Leading the new wave of sketch comedy” The Sunday Times

23rd August: Other Tragedies:  a special edition of Other Voices spoken word cabaret, where all the tragedy is delivered by people from groups we rarely hear from. ‘A showcase of spoken word at its best… Don’t miss this, it’s wonderful’ Three Weeks

24th August: Guest host: Keith Jarrett:  hosted and curated by London-based serial poetry slam champion Keith Jarrett “his astonishingly practiced delivery and his inclusive manner just invites you into his words” Sabotage Reviews

28th August: Guest host: Lucy Ayrton: hosted and curated by Oxford-based spoken word storyteller Lucy Ayrton “Storytelling as it’s meant to be” Three Weeks

29th August: Guest host: Louise Fazackerley:  hosted and curated by Wigan-based poet Loise Fazackerley. ‘a voice that tingles with promise’ Ian McMillan

Getting Better Acquainted:

Getting Better AcquaintedGetting Better Acquainted is a weekly podcast where we join Dave Pickering on his journey to get better acquainted with the people he knows from his closest friends and family to someone he once met at a party. It’s partly an oral history project, partly an autobiography through conversation, and partly a collection of opinions and experiences recounted by an ever-growing latticework of people. There are lots of shows about famous people; this is a show about the rest of us.

GBA was nominated for a 2012 Radio Production Award, and has aired regularly on Resonance 104.4fm. It has been recommended by Time Out, was featured on the BBC Radio 5 live podcast special, Helen and Olly’s Required Listening, and was picked out as a podcast to listen to in The Guardian in November 2014.

Tuesday 11th August: Getting Better Acquainted with Jenni Pascoe

Tuesday 18th August: Getting Better Acquainted with Samantha Mann

Tuesday 25th August: Getting Better Acquainted with Keith Jarrett

In the press:

“Laugh? I Nearly Died: The Rise of Stand-Up Tragedy” (Independent, July 2012)

“Stand-Up Tragedy” (London Word, January 2013)

“Ten Great Storytelling Nights” (Guardian, March 2014)

“Stand-up comedy with Sophocles and Justin Bieber during World Cup football” (John Fleming, June 2014)

“Podcasts to listen to now: from Serial’s true crime to Bullseye’s pop culture” (Guardian, November 2014)

“Guest Blog: What Do Men Think About Patriarchy” (Girl on the Net, May 2015)

“Mansplaining Storyteller Dave Pickering” (John Fleming, June 2015)

“Fringe Benefits: Our Pick of the Programme” (Exeunt Magazine, June 2015)

Hear our origin story here:


3 thoughts on “Stand Up Tragedy’s Free Festival of Tragedy

  1. Pingback: July Fortnightly Round-Up II | ShortStops

  2. Pingback: August Fortnightly Round-Up I | ShortStops

  3. Pingback: August Round-Up II | ShortStops

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