Hitchin playwright and actress set for Edinburgh Festival Fringe debut

PUBLISHED: 15:44 01 August 2018 | UPDATED: 15:45 01 August 2018

Picture from The Half Moon Shania's London previews

Picture from The Half Moon Shania's London previews

A former Hitchin Girls’ School pupil is to make her debut at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this weekend as both an actress and playwright.

Hitchin's Cara Baldwin. Picture: Michael CarloHitchin's Cara Baldwin. Picture: Michael Carlo

Cara Baldwin’s play The Half Moon Shania, in which she also acts, has its opening night at the world’s largest arts festival on Friday.

It portrays a 1999 girl band on a pub tour and aiming for a record deal – which comes with strings attached, and isn’t the only dealing going on.

Cara, who has just graduated from East 15 Acting School in Essex, told the Comet: “I’m so excited to get onto that stage.

“It started back in April when I did R&D with some fantastic actors. They picked up a guitar and bass guitar for the first time, to learn for the show – and together we developed the script.

“We received fantastic feedback in London, and from that we’ve managed to build a bit of a hype about it.”

Cara, 21, said the inclusion of the name of a Hitchin pub in the show’s title wasn’t a coincidence.

“We have The Half Moon in Hitchin,” she said. “When I started writing the play I was thinking about what’s important to me, and what do I want to say. I thought about my experiences growing up in Hitchin, having my first pint and all that. And that included The Half Moon.”

The play is also inspired by a Drinkaware YouGov survey that has found 79 per cent of women expect inappropriate comments, touching or behaviour towards them or friends on nights out.

“There’s a perception that it has become normal,” said Cara.

“When you get ready for a night out, you’re expecting someone in the group might get sexually harassed. That’s not happened to me in Hitchin, but going out in London it is definitely a huge problem. Someone just touches your bum or something, then you turn around and they’re gone.

“The point of the play is to open a conversation about what you can do about this situation.”

Cara hopes to bring the show on the road south of the border after Edinburgh, around London first before touring the country.

She said: “Hitchin is going to be on my list.”

The Half Moon Shania has featured as one of Fest Magazine’s must-see productions, and was listed as one of Backstage On The Fringe’s top 20 shows.

Cara has founded Burnt Lemon Theatre along with fellow East 15 student Hannah Benson. Their other projects include a short film called Padded, which has featured in seven UK and overseas film festivals so far, and a work in progress called Boxed.

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