A crowded event space in which the audience, mostly seated at tables, seem to be watching something off-camera. Charlotte, a young black woman with her brown hair in braids, is the focal point of the image.

Introducing Charlotte Maxwell – Unlimited Edinburgh Blogger

Hey, so I’m Charlotte and I’m super excited to be heading to Edinburgh Fringe with Unlimited. When asked to introduce myself to people, I tend to include a random assortment of fun facts.  

  1. As a child, I desperately wanted to be a contestant on Supermarket Sweep. 
  2. I am currently attempting to keep a plant alive for at least a year (we’re just over 8 months in and my cactus is still alive).
  3. If I could be a dessert, I’d be a raspberry & rum chocolate brownie.

Now we’ve got all of that out of the way, on to theatre… 

I’ve been writing about theatre for about six years now. It all started with student journalism and a press ticket for Breakfast Hearts by Robin French. Writing about a play that begins with a man eating his deceased wife’s hair from the freezer made me think that I’d finally found the area of journalism that suited me right down to the ground. I realised that I wanted to write about experiences, about art that’s quirky and original, about stories designed to move our moods in a multitude of directions. After graduation, I stopped writing about theatre temporarily to focus on theatre making (… and embarking on a psychology masters). I started writing, directing, producing and acting, all of which were a long way away from my speech and language therapy degree. But of course, my adventures in theatre making led me back to theatre writing. I took part in the Greater Manchester Critics Scheme and by the end of this ten-week process, I had landed the role of Editor at A Younger Theatre. I had a really wonderful year there with a brilliant team, a chunk of which was spent planning Edinburgh Fringe itineraries for my team of writers. And so, at this point, it’s nice to finally be able to say that I’ll be having my own Fringe trip.  

I have to start by saying there is so much at the Fringe this year that looks like a must have experience, but as there’s so few hours in a day and only so many spoons I’ve narrowed down my final picks. Scored in Silence and 111 are two pieces of dance/physical theatre that look set to both inspire and provoke. Dance is something that I love to write about, even with an ‘underdeveloped’ dance vocabulary. Sometimes I feel its about communicating the feeling and intention in my reviews, rather than having all of the terminology down to a T. I’m also really excited to see Conspiracy and It’s True, It’s True, It’s True – Barrel Organ and Breach are two of my favourite companies so I’m very eager to see their newest offerings. If you’re interested to know what else I’ll be seeing, I’ll be tweeting a thread soon (my twitter is at the bottom of this post). 

As a disabled, working class, black woman, I’ve always been conscious of the lack of access and inclusivity within the arts. And over the last few years, this has been something I’ve actively sought to challenge. Theatre is a place for us to be expressive and to tell stories that make people think, laugh, cry, forget their everyday lives or reconsider them. I think it’s important that everyone can see themselves somewhere in the art that is available for their consumption. But when considering disability representation, there is also the question of disabled access. I’m always pointing out that disabled access should not be a tick box activity, it should be an integral part of the creative process to ensure that the art that is created is accessible for everyone. I’m glad that organisations like Graeae and Disabled Artists Networking Community (DANC) have this at the top of their agenda and I’m proud to have had the opportunity to work with both organisations. I’m also glad to now be going on a journey working with Unlimited – I’ve heard great things from my friend James who was one of their trainees this year.  

During the fringe, I’ll be very active on twitter and penning a few think pieces and reviews. You’ll catch me taking over Unlimited’s social media during the w/c Monday 19th August. I’ll also be posting on my twitter (@afronalysis) and adding reviews to my website (afronalysis.com).