A PLAY weaving together East Lothian’s mining history and men’s sheds will make its debut at Edinburgh’s Festival Fringe.

Shelley Middler has spent the last two years working on The Collie’s Shed, with the curtain going up at the world-famous festival in just over a fortnight.

Eight actors will take to the stage at theSpace on North Bridge – Perth Theatre – to bring Shelley’s work to life.

The 27-year-old, of East Saltoun, said: “It is scary but so exciting!

“I think as well because it is such a personal story of my home county to then take that and shout about it to the world is something that is really exciting.

“I have been working on it now for a good couple of years.

“It is in a really decent place and it is the best place to take it. I would not want to put on my debut show anywhere else than the Fringe. It is scary but I am giving it a go!”

The idea for the play was something Shelley, who also works on the reception desk at Aubigny Sports Centre in Haddington, had for a while but it was only during lockdown that she took the first steps to it becoming a reality.

East Lothian Courier: Shelley Middler's debut play - The Collie's Shed - takes to the stage next monthShelley Middler's debut play - The Collie's Shed - takes to the stage next month

She said: “I started writing it in lockdown.

“I had always had an idea of something to do with men’s sheds.

“My papa – my dad’s dad – attended the Men’s Shed for years and it was something that he wanted to do out of retirement, just to keep himself busy and keep working after retiring.

“I always heard stories and I was thinking there was something, a story about men’s sheds.

“I started writing this piece and it was tying in the history of men’s sheds and where they used to come from, with labourers retiring.

“I was looking at the history of East Lothian and the mining background and trying to tie the two together and see if there was a story there.”

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Having graduated in 2019 from the University for The Creative Arts, Shelley has gone on to study with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and has since been writing for the Scottish Youth Theatre and the Traverse Theatre as part of their Young Writers Group.

Shelley has also been writing for Strange Town Youth Theatre as part of its Young Writers programme, where she has created and written multiple plays for the company’s young actors since 2020.

The Collie’s Shed runs from August 15 to 27 at the festival and rehearsals are already under way for the eight actors.

Shelley, who grew up in Macmerry and attended the village’s primary school and nearby Ross High School, described it as “stressful” ahead of the first show.

She added: “We are putting them together to do full runs to check if there are things needing work or if they are working brilliantly.

“It is about ironing out those kinks and being ready to go.”

Tickets cost £10 for adults, £7 for concessions and a family ticket is £6.50.

For more information, go to edfringe.com