COMMON and The Pleasance Theatre today announce Rhys Slade-Jones’ production The Land of My Fathers and Mothers and Some Other People as the recipient of the inaugural COMMON Award. The COMMON Award supports an artist or theatre company from a working-class or socio-economically disadvantaged background to take an exceptional production to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. This year the Award includes a £1,000 cash investment and a guaranteed slot and Box Office split as part of the Pleasance Theatre’s Edinburgh Festival 2019 programme.

Following an open application process for any creatives from a socio-economically disadvantaged background, Slade-Jones was selected by David Loumgair (Artistic Director of COMMON), Nic Connaughton (Head of Theatre at Pleasance Theatre), and Jonny Patton (Associate Programmer at Pleasance Theatre).

As the recipient of The COMMON Award, Slade-Jones will receive:

A cash investment of £1,000 towards the cost of presenting their show at the Edinburgh Fringe, which could go toward elements including travel, accommodation, Fringe registration and subsistence.
A guaranteed slot for their show as part of the Pleasance Theatre’s Edinburgh Festival programme.
A 60/40% or 55/45% box office split in their favour, depending on VAT status of the company.
Development, rehearsal and work space in the lead up to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe at the Pleasance’s London theatre.
Additional marketing presence during the Edinburgh Festival as part of the Pleasance Theatre’s Pleasance Futures marketing and advertising campaigns.
Mentoring, support and advocacy from COMMON in the lead-up to and during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Access to COMMON’s network of industry relationships with established venues, arts organisations and high-profile industry members.
A guaranteed London transfer of their production at the Pleasance Theatre (London) post-Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

David Loumgair, Artistic Director of COMMON, said today "The Edinburgh Festival Fringe has become unquestionably inaccessible for many artists from intersectional, working-class and socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds. However, only a handful out of the hundreds of well-resourced organisations active during the Edinburgh Festival are taking steps to change this. We hope The COMMON Award is a call to arms for other organisations to start taking practical actions against this rising and very present inequality."

Rhys Slade-Jones also said “As a Welsh, working-class, queer artist, I am chuffed to be the recipient of The COMMON Award. I've had to beg for lifts and sleep on floors just to be an audience member in Edinburgh, and funnelling money into the risky business of show business is something which can't be taken lightly when you live without a safety net. Without The Pleasance and COMMON's commitment to supporting working-class voices like my own, the Edinburgh Festival would be an impossible mountain to climb - even for someone born in The Valleys.”

In Treherbert rugby club, amongst the fag smoke and the singing, Rhys’ parents fell in love.

Rhys has never fallen in love, but he thinks it’s a nice thing to do because that’s what his Mam said.

It’s all in her diary. Rhys has read it all.

In 1977, while listening to David Cassidy in a bedroom decorated with Jackie posters, Rhys’s Mam wrote about a first date, a first kiss and a first weekend away. This diary is Rhys’s history from a small town in the Rhondda Valley™.

The Land of My Fathers and Mothers and Some Other People is an all-singing, all-dancing re-enactment of what Rhys’ Mam wrote down 40 years ago. This frenzied one-man cabaret mixes stand-up, dance and good old-fashioned singalong to breathe life into his Mam’s stories, and bring Treherbert rugby club back to life.

Rhys Slade-Jones is a writer and performer. Their theatre credits include They Said She Sang (Make Tank; writer and performer), It Made Me Consider Me (Gruff Theatre; deviser and performer), Knees-Up (Groundlings Theatre), GirlBand (The Marlborough Theatre). For television, their credits include Before The Morning After. They are also the co-producer of The Shift, a queer cabaret company creating work with and for working-class communities across Portsmouth.