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Salvation Army to take the stage at Edinburgh festival

Salvation Army to take the stage at Edinburgh festival

Salvation Army to take the stage at Edinburgh festival

Major Kathy Betteridge highlights the facts about modern day slavery and The Salvation Army's involvement in tackling the horrors of human trafficking in a post-show talk and Q&A session.

By Simone Worthing

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland’s capital is an unparallelled celebration of the performing arts and an annual meeting point for peoples of all nations.

The Salvation Army’s Edinburgh City Corps, an official Fringe venue, is at the heart of the festival, and this year will be the venue for My Mind is Free, a play about human trafficking in the United Kingdom that has been touring since 2105.

The play’s director, Jude Spooner, contacted The Salvation Army last year to discuss taking this project to Edinburgh. [Since 2011, The Salvation Army in England and Wales has held the government contract to manage support services for adult victims of modern slavery in the UK.]

“Although The Salvation Army does not have the contract here in Scotland, we are working with other organisations and the Scottish Government to raise awareness of the atrocity of this criminal activity, and are considering future options for offering more support,” says Major Kathy Betteridge, Mission Outreach and Support Officer – City of Edinburgh.

“The project helps raise this awareness and highlights to those attending what is happening under their noses and possibly in their own neighbourhoods.”

The play, My Mind is Free, is a powerful portrayal of victims of the international crime of human trafficking.

Major Betteridge met with Jude and assisted her with publicity through Salvation Army contacts and their additional networks.

“We also chatted through the workshops on issues related to recognising and responding to human trafficking that will be a part of the project, and who should be approached to attend,” Major Betteridge explains. “We will host the project over the festival and The Salvation Army will also have its own material available for people to take.”

A range of presenters will speak on the topic of human trafficking after each show. Major Betteridge will do two of these sessions, as well as be available during other times to answer any questions as needed. She will also attend several workshops.

“The show is very moving and the actors are excellent,” Major Betteridge said. “It is a challenging show and does not give an easy and comfortable viewing, which is good, and will therefore prove to be powerful and effective.”

My Mind is Free is just one part of the three-week program of events at Edinburgh Fringe, which is part of the Edinburgh International Festival. The Salvation Army also has another play running parallel to this called Meeting at 33, which is based on the writer’s experience of her mother’s alcoholism.

“The play takes the form of an AA [Alcoholics’ Anonymous] meeting and the audience sit in the meeting as part of the performance,” explains Captain Jennifer Gosling, Edinburgh City Corps Officer.

The Edinburgh Corps is an official venue for Festival Fringe, and an integral part of its productions.

“We are also presenting ‘The Knitted Bible Stories Exhibition’ for a week – 13 large-scale stories recreated in wool, and then closing with a festival given by the Caldicot Male Voice Choir from Wales.” This famous choir is based in South Wales and sings in concerts to help national and local charities.

“The Fringe is a fantastic opportunity for The Salvation Army. This is a very busy, but exciting, three weeks!” said Captain Gosling.

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe runs from 4-28 August.


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