We always say it started with a sewing machine – let us rewind to 2006, in a pub basement in Edinburgh, where Andrew and Beth are allegedly rehearsing for their first ever Edinburgh University comedy show. Instead, we are playing about with an old Singer sewing machine (we think it was meant to be part of the ‘décor’). Meanwhile, our fellow Comedy and That performers (our troupe’s original name, now changed to the more sensible Edinburgh Revue) are debating a sketch about the crusades – as they argue about plastic swords and Sophie Ellis-Bextor pastiches, we bond over our shared sense of humour and our shared fear of conflict. Then follows a lot of Singstar, leading to the mishearing of a Spandau Ballet lyric, and the creation of a thoroughly confusing name…
Skip forward to 2012 (following a Fringe run, and the decision that we worked best as a duo), and Suit and Pace, in its current guise, debuts at the Fife Mental Health Arts and Film Festival launch. After a few years of community work post-university, we felt able to take on a challenging subject using comedy – the success of this first performance led to more commissions and partnerships, and to finally becoming paid writer/performers/general dogsbodies. From then on, we’ve developed our repertoire to included sketches, plays and storytelling, with our work tackling topics from neighbour disputes to financial harm, and featuring characters including elephants, superheroes and pirates.
We’ve had some fantastic support from some great people in Fife including (but not limited to) Fife Council, Fife Cultural Trust, the Fife Adult Protection Committee and the Fife Youth Arts Hub – Creative Scotland, the Scottish Storytelling Centre and Cultural Enterprise Office have been ace as well. We’ve probably committed the greatest amount of pestering to the good staff at BRAG Enterprises, and when we say we wouldn’t be here without the wonderful Sarah Somerville, we really, really mean it. We turned to her in 2013 when we decided to set ourselves up as a social enterprise, and she helped us to become a Company Limited by Guarantee in 2014, followed by us gaining charitable status in 2015.
One last time jump – in July 2015 we’ve finally made the jump (thanks to a lot of support from a lot of people) and are now working full-time for Suit and Pace. It’s only taken us nine years to get here.
Extra boasting points – Suit and Pace were the winners of the 2013 Create in Fife Best Newcomer Award, and the 2015 Socially Enterprising Award at the Fife Voluntary Action Awards.