Fri 5th – Mon 29th Aug 2011


“explores themes of identity, forgiveness, loss, adoption and family ”





Martin Figura / Escalator East to Edinburgh / Apples and Snakes


Post-war coming-of-age true story told through poetry and family photographs

When award-winning poet Martin was nine, his father killed his mother.

This shocking event is at the heart of Whistle. The show goes beyond this central tragedy to tell a moving coming-of-age story in which Martin depicts a post-war British childhood through poetry and striking visuals created from family photographs, archive and original material.

His father, a former German soldier who fought the allies in WW2, was sent to Broadmoor and Martin and his sisters went to live with relatives. They were also dispatched to different boarding schools and after two years the relatives abandoned them to move to Canada, leaving it to the schools to inform them. Martin was then taken into care until former neighbours discovered his circumstances and gladly took him in and gave him a home.

He visited his father in Broadmoor after three years and then later at a local hospital. In 1972 he left school at the age of 15 to enlist in the army, not leaving until 1997 having risen to the rank of Major. He then embarked on a career as a professional photographer but also began writing poetry.

Whistle is an hour-long multi-media piece, based on his book of the same name published by Arrowhwead Press in 2010. It explores themes of identity, forgiveness, loss, adoption and family with insight and gentle humour. Despite the serious and shocking nature of the subject matter, such is Figura’s skill as a poet that he is able to give the audience a profound and uplifting experience.

Whistle is directed by Paine’s Plough Artistic Director James Grieve.

‘(Figura is) profoundly honest and at the same time joyfully entertaining’

Independent on Sunday

Whistle was shortlisted for the 2010 Ted Hughes Prize and Martin’s poem Victor won the Poetry Society’s Hamish Canham Prize. As both poet and photographer he has been widely published and exhibited, including at The National Portrait Gallery. Martin is also a qualified accountant and in 1976 he won the RAPC Apprentice College Accounting Prize.

Whistle has been selected for Escalator East To Edinburgh 2011. Each year Escalator, East to Edinburgh helps artists and arts organisations to raise their profile and perform to new audiences as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. High-resolution images are available to download at www.easttoedinburgh.co.uk

Admission: £5 – £7.50(£5)


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