Adam Castle won the Creative Edinburgh Leadership Award 2016 and is the founder and director of the Edinburgh Artists’ Moving Image Festival (EAMIF) and the cabaret Pollyanna. Here he talks us through his highlights of 2016 and what it meant to win an award for his inspirational work.
The audience was so packed on the final night of Pollyanna at the Fringe, I remember thinking that this is like being on stage at Wembley Stadium at the end of a global tour… We didn’t arrive by helicopter, we had less than 1% of that kind of budget and we had a handful more sweaty queer performers squeezed in then I think is general protocol for Wembley, but I’m going to say it was essentially the same.
That night, as the host Pollyfilla, I welcomed performances including Jessica McKerlie and her gynaecological puppetry, drag king punk band The Great White Males, the incredible johnsmith shaving themselves, our resident queen Desert Storm and the inspiringly messy Christeene. It was the end of a great Fringe, which I spent half of in a jacket designed for me by Rosie Whiting. That jacket not only survived the Fringe, but helped me survive it.
Later on in the year, I was particularly proud of the symposium on gender and the moving image that we organised at the Edinburgh Artists’ Moving Image Festival (EAMIF). It was a whole day of screenings, talks, performances and Q&As, including Raju Rage’s Opacity of Visibility? that combined video and performance and ended with a really interesting audience discussion about masculinity and femininity. Also at EAMIF, I was really pleased with our evening on African video art and poetry with Videonomad at The Fruitmarket Gallery. We flew in Christine Bruckbauer from African video art organisation Videonomad, and it was great to hear her insights.
I’m currently directing a short musical film called Entertainment. The film is set in a sexually-charged nocturnal landscape of hotels, nightclubs and karaoke bars where four characters force each other to either perform or watch. I am drawing on some of my experiences of performing; I performed a cabaret set piece called Brexit: The Musical each night this year at Pollyanna, although this film is going to be quite different.
I was so pleased to have won the award! At that time of year, the amount of work that I was doing was a bit overwhelming so it was really great for a boost of momentum. Having worked so hard, with so many great people, on setting up and running both Pollyanna and EAMIF, I was really proud to have the projects’ cultural contribution to Edinburgh recognised. I hope this award will help both the projects grow.