Page last updated at 17:10 GMT, Monday, 11 August 2008 18:10 UK

The 'true spirit' of the Fringe


Watch Capoeira Knights - one of The World's acts

The true spirit of the Edinburgh Fringe is often alluded to but rarely adequately defined.

Scottish actor Brian Cox believes that this year the spirit is being embodied by the performers at The World.

Child performers from Cambodia, warrior dancers from the favelas of Brazil, a family of traditional musicians from Tanzania and veteran Cuban musicians are among the eclectic mix of international performers gathered together at St George's West in the city's west end.

In previous year's the venue has hosted international acts including the Soweto Gospel Choir under the Assembly Rooms banner.

However, it pulled out of the venue leaving impresario Toby Gough to fill the void with his unique vision.

The World and its performers are not only supported by Cox, who is a patron, but also by such international stars as Peter Gabriel and Kylie Minogue.

Small country

Cox, who has in recent years added the rogue CIA boss Ward Abbott in the Bourne films to his impressive CV, has known and admired Gough for years.

He said: "This venue is very important because we don't have enough of that.

"It is good to get back to the principles of what this festival is about. People are going to see something they have never seen before."

Cox added: "I come from a small country with a strong culture and that has taken me round the world. It is important we bring that stuff in."


The Zawose family are also performing at The World

Toby Gough, who previously took a show performed by Sri Lankan child survivors of the Boxing Day 2004 tsunami to the Royal Botanic Gardens, said he wanted to create a "crucible" of world music and dance.

He said: "We have got a venue with a huge spectrum of performers.

"The good thing is that there is a huge family atmosphere here.

"Everyone watches and helps out on each other's shows.

"For me it is what the festival is all about - collaboration with different cultures - communication, sharing and enjoying each other's cultures."

Gough said the hardest task had been getting visas for 120 performers.

"We have 29 child performers from Cambodia, some incredible performers from Brazil called the Capoeira Knights and a new show called Hemmingway's Havana.

"Together with old friends of mine, the Zawose family, we have got something very special and unique."

'Cult legend'

Producer John Simpson said he had been working with the Zawose family for six years.

"Their father Huckwe was a well-known international musician who worked with Peter Gabriel and toured the world," he said.

"He is a cult legend in Japan.

"He died five years ago but he had seven wives and more than 40 children who were all taught to learn and play his music.

"There is a great wealth and understanding of music and dance in their culture.

"After his death they did not know which direction to go in."

A documentary about Huckwe and the struggles of the family after his death is followed by a 35-minute live performance.

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