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Interview: Kyle Evans on his 2023 Fringe show, Maths at the Museum

We spoke to friend of the site, award-winning maths communicator and past math-off competitor Kyle Evans about his Edinburgh Fringe show for 2023, which is about maths.

Who are you (as if we don’t already know)?

I’m Kyle D Evans, I’m a teacher by day and entertainer/performer/presenter of all things mathematical by… well, also by day. But different days. I have children, so I really don’t do anything by night any more.

Is it true you’re doing a maths show at the Edinburgh Fringe?

It is true! It’s called ‘Maths at the Museum‘ because I really wanted the title to double as an elevator pitch. (‘Elevator pitch’ is one of those terms where the American version really works better, doesn’t it? ‘Lift pitch’ just sounds dreadful. That occurred to me while I was walking down the sidewalk with my aluminum fanny pack on). It’s an hour of comedy, poetry and stacks of audience participation, running at the National Museum of Scotland from 4-15 August. It’s a family show, aimed at kids aged 7+ and their parents. Tickets are available now!

What’s the show about?

I’ve been to the Fringe four times now, and I also tour accessible, interactive maths shows around the country throughout the rest of the year. So because I have such a special venue this year, I’ve put together a greatest hits set of all my favourite family maths bits I’ve devised over recent years. This includes the infamous ‘T-shirts of Hanoi’, a maths trick in two/three different languages (time dependent) and some paradoxical poems.

How do audiences tend to react to a show about maths?

For the most part, I find that having ‘maths’ in the title of my shows really makes sure people come in knowing what to expect! But the biggest excitement for me is winning round the parents and older brothers/sisters who have been brought along under duress and think that they hate maths or are too cool for it. I take great pleasure in winning these people round, and hopefully showing the most hardened maths-philes at least one cool new bit of maths too.

Summarise, in one sentence, why people should come and see your show.

It’s inclusive, it’s accessible, it entertains, educates and informs. And hopefully it’s funny too (sorry, two sentences.)

Are there any other maths/science shows happening at the Fringe you’d recommend?

I’m proud to say I’m the only show with ‘maths’ in the title, but there are several maths/science-adjacent shows I recommend. Foxdog Studios make robots do utterly absurd things and I can’t wait to see what their ‘Robo Bingo’ entails. Tom Crosbie is the most talented Rubik’s Cube wrangler you’ll ever see, and for the younger viewer there’s a charming climate change musical called ‘Chrissie and the Skiddle Witch‘ which I highly recommend.

You can find details of Kyle’s show on the Edinburgh Fringe website. From a quick browse of the programme, some other potentially mathematical shows you could catch while you’re there include: Nick Mohammed presents The Very Best and Worst of Mr Swallow, which promises noise, maths, magic and the whole of Les Mis; there are also more generally sciencey shows like Stand Up Science and Comedy For The Curious; on a similar climate change theme, there’s Ted Hill Tries and Fails to Fix Climate Change; and for a bit of arty dance performance with a maths word in the title, At The Intersection might be worth a try.

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