Gary Clarke talks about India’s involvement in World War 1 at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Name: Gary Clarke
Name of Edinburgh show: The Troth
Show length: 1 hour

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your performing background?
I am an independent dancer artist and choreographer who trained at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance. I have worked as a performer with some of the UK’s leading dance companies and choreographers including Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures, Lloyd Newson’s DV8 Physical Theatre, Lea Anderson’s The Cholmondeleys, Candoco Dance Company / Jerome Bel, Javier De Frutos, Nigel Charnock + Company, Phoenix Dance Theatre and Bock & Vincenzi. I have also worked as a movement specialist on a number of large scale feature films including World War Z, Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them and The Mummy.

Tell me about your show, what it is all about?
The show is a famous Indian story called The Troth about India’s involvement in World War 1. It is told through a love story so not explicitly about the issues of war, but more of personal sacrifice of love, honour and loyalty. It is a sensitive show that looks at the horror of life in the trenches, but also human emotion and interaction.

How long have you been working on this show and what is it that makes it relevant to audiences in 2018?
The show has been in development for 2 years. It is a complex work. It is relevant today because not many people know the story or indeed India’s involvement in the war and their relationship to Britain. It is educational as well as entertaining. Given the current social and political climate, the issues presented in The Troth are totally relevant in today’s society. It is an important work.

Do you have any top tips for surviving the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – both for performers and visitors to the event?
Have some rest! It can be quite an intense but inspiring experience. Go and see as much as you can, choose wisely and be selective, take some time to see Edinburgh itself, pace yourself throughout the festival. It is easy to burn out if the pace isn’t right. It can be exhausting on a long run of a show so rest, food, down time and relaxation is a must!

What has been the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
I once had bad food poisoning and was so young and afraid that I didn’t tell the choreographer. I went on stage. Let’s just say the results weren’t pleasant.

Who are your biggest inspirations in the industry and why?
I am very influenced and inspired by a lot of choreographers who was making work in the 1980’s. Their work was driven through politics at a time when Britain was going through radial upheaval. Their work challenged stereotypes and changed the face of British dance. The work of Michael Clark, Lea Anderson and Lloyd Newson was a big influence.

Do you have any pre-show rituals?
I like to give my dancers a good warm up both mentally and physically before they go on stage and get them to interact like animals or children together. There is a naivety and simplicity with this that breaks down barriers and allows the human spirit to come to the front of the physical body. I then leave them alone to prepare as they wish.

What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at Edinburgh Fringe?
I need to see the brochure!

Why do you think people should come and see your show over the thousands of others on at the fringe?
Because it is relevant! It has multi-art cross over. There is dance, music, film, prop work, costume, light design and great dancers!


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