Childhood friends hoping to take the Edinburgh Fringe by storm

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TWO talented performers who left their day jobs behind for a life on the stage are making their debut at the world’s largest arts festival.

Neil Gibson and Louise Haggerty, who left St Ninian’s High School in 2001, will appear in separate shows at the Edinburgh Fringe in August.

After school both performers, whose families still live in Kirkintilloch, went to university – Neil to study Economics and Law at the University of Strathclyde, and Louise to study Psychology at Glasgow University.

On graduating they found themselves in “grown-up” jobs as Neil settled into a role as a sales and marketing account manager, while Louise became a primary school teacher.

But both became frustrated with their careers and decided to take a leap into the unknown by going to drama school.

Neil said: “I was 25 and feeling my job was a bit too grown-up for me at that point in time. The more drama and acting roles I undertook the more I realised this is what I wanted to be involved in professionally.”

He successfully auditioned for the East 15 Acting School in London and graduated last September with a distinction.

Since then he has won roles with the National Theatre and English National Opera, as well as touring Europe for two months performing the plays of Harold Pinter.

Meanwhile, Louise took the plunge at the same time, attending the prestigious Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama to study for an MA in Acting for Stage, Screen and Radio.

As part of the course she wrote and performed a short one-woman theatrical piece – entitled ‘Unlucky for Some’ – which the college have now paid to stage in Edinburgh.

The achievement was made all the sweeter when her lifelong friend Neil announced he would also be at the Fringe after landing a role in the UK premiere of musical ‘Party Worth Crashing’.

Louise said: “Neil and I have been going through to the Edinburgh Festival for a number of years and always spoke about how much we wanted to perform there.

“So many performers in one place creates a real sense of community and such a supportive network – I had always wanted to be part of that.

“Also I am looking forward to experiencing the reaction the show gets from a home crowd.”

Neil added: “My long-term aim is to base and work in Scotland which is why I’m so excited about this project. It will be a great showcase and is also looking to be incredibly fun.”

‘Party Worth Crashing’ runs from August 3-25 at 3.05pm in theSpace on the Mile venue.

‘Unlucky for Some’ is at 1.15pm in Venue 13 from August 19-25.

For more information, and for ticket details, go to www.edfringe.com

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