What The Dickins: A Tale Of Edinburgh City

Dickins spend five minutes with David Bates of the Famous Spiegeltent


In the next of our star-studded interviews, Dickins spends five minutes with David Bates of The Famous Spiegeltent. The Speigeltent is a much loved icon of Edinburgh’s festivals and has appeared in many locations across the city. This year it has taken pride of place in St Andrew Square and as well as being an Edinburgh Fringe venue, it’s also a venue for The Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival which runs until 26th July.


David Bates is at the heart of making the Edinburgh Festivals a success

1. Tell us about what’s happening at The Speigeltent this year.

David: 2015 is my 20th year producing The Spiegeltent as part of the Edinburgh Festival season. We open this coming Friday (17th July) for Edinburgh’s International Jazz and Blues Festival and will run for 6 weeks until the end of the Fringe on August 31. This is, without doubt, one of the most exciting year’s we have ever produced. An incredible line up of local, national and international artists including the European premiere of VELVET a show that won every award going at the Adelaide Festival this year and which is the next generation of the genre created by our original ‘house show’ La Clique – which was born in Edinburgh in 2003. VELVET is the biggest show I have ever presented in Edinburgh – a sensational musical, burlesque and acrobatic foray into a glamorous, boogie wonderland that will blow your mind and rock your sox off. I am certain it will become the hit of this year’s festival and will be catapulted to a huge international future. There are many other shows including an extremely comprehensive Children’s and family programme presented by Captivate Drama including Shakespeare in the Garden, Sunshine on Leith, Spring Awakening and the fabulous Les Miserables.

 2. How long have you been coming to The Edinburgh Fringe?

 David: I first came to Edinburgh to playing jazz piano with Australian Jazz singer, Madam Pat Thompson in 1987. Since then I have returned many times to the Edinburgh Book Festival and started producing The Famous Spiegeltent on Waverley Centre in 1996. I lived in the city for almost 10 years and now return every year for our families’ festival pilgrimage.

 3. What does Edinburgh mean to you?

 Edinburgh is not only one of Europe’s most beautiful cities but it is also there mecca for the arts every year in August. It is still the most inspiring and romantic city and every year seems to spread its magic over the world of creative and innovative ideas. There are few artists in the world today who have not been touched by this city. It is still the greatest, unofficial trade-fair for actors, musicians, dancers and producers anywhere.

4. Do you have any favourite Edinburgh haunts or hangouts?

David: My favourite haunts are places like the Scotch Malt Whisky Society at the Vaults Leith and a recent discovery Spit/Fire in Dublin Street – excellent staff, a great environment with interesting fare. But Edinburgh is always full of surprises and, this year, I’ve heard about a new cafe that must be visited called Love Crumbs. The bar, ‘Tiles’ across the road from the Spiegeltent in St Andrew Square serve tea in pots and has great, free internet connections…. and is the perfect temporary office while we build the Spiegeltent.

Ready to visit the Famous Spiegeltent?

The Spiegeltent will be hosting loads of shows from now until the end of the Edinburgh Fringe. You can search all the events by visiting: www.arfringe.com.

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