BOOK TICKETS TO THE 2017 MUSEUM AFTER HOURS EVENT
Aaron Calvert performs at Museum After Hours
The museum after hours event is held in Edinburgh at the National Museum of Scotland as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. I was honoured to be invited to perform as part of the event during the festival in 2016 and hope to be back in 2017.
Museum after hours is a ticketed event that is held in the museum itself, it’s a rather wonderful setting for the event and opens the Edinburgh museum to the public much later than it ever normally opens. It definitely feels like it took its inspiration from the film ‘Night at the Museum’ as the acts make the museum come to life.
The event takes place on 3 Friday evenings throughout the festival month of August. The main foyer is open for guests to walk around and there’s even a bar to get the guests going. The foyer is normally packed with guests wondering around and looking for the different events around the Edinburgh museum.
Each act performs for around 15 minutes on the various stages around the museum. The stages range from the curious space stage which is a small auditorium to the Hawthorden Stage, a high ceilinged room between exhibits and includes the main foyer where guests can stand and watch from the 4 levels of the museum balconies.
The acts invited to perform are taken from a range of genres across the Edinburgh festival, from magic and comedy to dance and music, it really is the place to see the best of what the fringe has to offer, see what tickles your fancy and go and see the whole show the next day.
The museum itself welcomes 2.4 million visitors a year to its four museum sites: the National Museum of Scotland and National War Museum, in Edinburgh, the National Museum of Flight, in East Lothian and the National Museum of Rural Life in East Kilbride.
The collections are a legacy which they look after on behalf of everyone in Scotland. The wealth of objects represent everything from Scottish and classical archaeology to applied arts and design; from world cultures and social history to science, technology and the natural world.
Similar events to the museum after hours event have sprung up across the city in recent years including an event hosted at the National Gallery. The Gallery has a somewhat different vibe entertaining an older generation in a less hectic environment.
In 2016 I performed as part of the museum after hours event on the Hawthroden stage for over 200 people. As I waited back stage to be announced I couldn’t help but take a peek into one of the exhibits that formed the back of the stage. It was rather eire to see part of the Edinburgh museum empty but steeped in so much history it was exciting to see. I felt like a VIP guest surrounded by history.
Swapping the backstage calm of the empty museum for the stage filled with over 200 people was exhilarating. Performing a special set for the museum event I left the audience wanting more and talking about what they had just witnessed. There really isn’t any greater feeling than knowing an audience has enjoyed your performance.
I stayed at the museum after hours event a little longer to see what else the festival had to offer. I was followed on the Hawthorden stage by Zac and Viggo, an Australian comedy duo with a very unique brand of entertainment. Taking to the stage in morph suits they left the audience in stitches.
Their act really is a testament to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival which showcases over three and a half thousand shows every year. They were completely whacky and off the wall but the audience loved it after the initial trepidation. You never know what you’ll find at the Edinburgh fringe but there are things you should take a chance on… just be prepared to occasionally sit through some utter rubbish. But hey that’s fringe.
The museum after hours event returns to the National Museum of Scotland this August as part of the 70th Anniversary of the Edinburgh fringe. Tickets are on sale now and the acts will be announced over the coming months.
I hope to see you there!