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A group of Sheffield students are taking their own play to the Edinburgh Fringe this August

They had the idea after a night at WSL

Formed by University of Sheffield students, Only Lucky Dogs is a newly created student theatre company focused on original and innovative writing.

The group are starting as they mean to go on, taking their first project Beaker's Place to the world famous Edinburgh Fringe festival this August.

Michael (director), Pippa (company manager), and Aaron (publicity manager) from Only Lucky Dogs talked to us about how the company came about, the support that they have had, and the exciting summer ahead for them at the Fringe.

When and why did you start up Only Lucky Dogs?

Michael: It's quite a funny story actually. James and I were coming back from a night out and having a classic post WSL heart to heart when we decided it would be a fun idea to take a show up to the Fringe. We both had ideas for shows, so met up the next day and smashed the ideas together and it worked brilliantly. We then talked to Pippa, Aaron and Iz and, in Notty House, armed with Aaron's array of poetry and Noel Fielding books, founded the company and created the name!

Pippa: I'd had loads of fun with SUTCo (the uni's theatre company) and wanted to see what we could do on our own!

What are the details of the show?

Aaron: It's a dark comedy written by the fantastically talented James Huxtable, who's also part of Only Lucky Dogs. Here's a synopsis:

Beaker is the lonely, meticulous owner of an illegal body disposal service in the cellar of his pub. Deeply affected by the recent demise of his cat Paul, Beaker decides to take his own life. But at the crucial moment, he receives one last urgent delivery. Anxious to complete his own ‘departure’, Beaker is shocked when the bag begins to move…

We've got our preview show on Thursday 19th July at 8PM, at DINA Venue, and the big one, the Edinburgh run, starts on 3 August until 25 August, every day except the 12th and 19th, at 12.25PM at theSpace on North Bridge.

Michael: When coming up with the show James and I wanted to really test the waters with dark comedy. We're both of the opinion that as long as you're respectful, there aren't many things comedy can't touch on. Hopefully people will agree that the show can balance the comedy with the poignant dark moments looking at suicide and mourning.

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Have the Students' Union been supportive? How about fellow students?

Pippa: SUTCo, which is part of the SU, have been great. None of us would have had the skills or confidence to do this without having practiced on lots of SUTCo shows first! Although they've mostly graduated now, I also have to thank Colla Voce Theatre, who've been really successful the past year and have helped us loads with starting Only Lucky Dogs.

Michael: Most of the funding the SU gives only goes to societies unfortunately, but the Sheffield Town Trust have been incredibly supportive. Our crowdfunders too, particularly our promise auction, raised a ton of money most of which came from students and friends. It sounds corny but we couldn't have done this without their support.

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How have you found balancing uni work and running the theatre company?

Pippa: I really like being busy anyway so there's not been many times when uni's got in the way. I do History (i.e. not a lot of contact hours!) and have managed to wing my way through second year whilst mostly doing SUTCo and Only Lucky Dogs. I'm the Chair of SUTCo now so I'm more worried about balancing Only Lucky Dogs with that!

Michael: As the one third year in the company it's been a little tough at times, but the company all help each other out so much so it's never felt like too much. Like Pippa I enjoy being busy anyway and don't really look at company stuff as chores. Got a 2.1 too so couldn't have been too bad!

Aaron: I don't really do any work, so it's been fine.

Tickets for the DINA Venue preview show on 19 July can be found here, and tickets for the Edinburgh run are available here.