ED FRINGE: Eglantyne – Teviot Golden Ball, Edinburgh

Screenwriter: Anne Chamberlain

Director: KC Kelly

Gilded Balloon Teviot is a grand room: many floors and many rooms to get lost in. Matinees at the Fringe tend to be kids and family shows, a light touch to start the day. This year, tucked away in the Wee Room in Place Bristo, is Anne Chamberlain’s evening eglantynea touching spectacle about a woman who influenced the way the political world treats children.

New Zealand actress Anne Chamberlain brings Save The Children founder Eglantyne Jebb to life in this 75-minute solo show. As the play’s writer and performer, Chamberlain sprinkles in bits of herself, which endears her to audiences even more — and Eglantyne.

Eglantyne is quite a unique name, meaning soft heather rose, and she lived a very unique life. Growing up in Shropshire in a large family, she often played outside with her siblings, and they were always close. She has endured heartache, death in her family, many world-changing events, and through it all she has worked to protect and provide for children around the world.

One of the most striking elements of Eglantyne’s story is his writing of the Rights of the Child, which today forms part of the United Nations Convention. She campaigned, rallied and influenced the way the world takes care of children, but her name is unknown. This show skillfully blends truth and storytelling and ensures that Eglantyne is recognized and remembered for her service.

Chamberlain is an engaging performer, even as she battles the air conditioning and tribulations of a morning show at the Fringe (notoriously small and unenthusiastic audience). The piece is well-honed and precise, with a simple yet elegant design. Chamberlain’s portrayal of the character of Eglantyne could work very well in classrooms, teaching the story of child care and rights.

eglantyne created in 2014 and has toured extensively since then. The piece has been seen at Eglantyne’s childhood home in Shropshire, at various Fringe festivals and in many different countries. Both Chamberlain and director KC Kelly are based in New Zealand and work in the performing arts.

Eglantyne Jebb was a formidable campaigner, and this show is a moving tribute.

Runs at Gilded Balloon Teviot – Wee Room until August 29, 2022