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Alexander Tait Interview: Kev Campbell Was He (Edinburgh Fringe)

It is less than two months until the Edinburgh Fringe starts and in the first of a new series here on the website, I am taking the time to speak to some of the creatives heading to the festival this year. A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of talking to actor and writer Alexander Tait, who is bringing his debut play ‘Kev Campbell Was He’ to theSpaceUK. I was particularly drawn to Alexander’s play because of its themes around homophobia and toxic masculinity in Scotland, specifically learning to support and stand up for LGBTQ+ people. With it being pride month, there couldn’t be a more appropriate time to hear from the writer about how he is confronting such topics, but also including some comedy aspects.

How did you get into theatre and comedy? Who are your biggest inspirations in the arts?

I never went to any youth theatre classes or was interested in drama at a young age, but a lot of my friends at school took Drama as a subject and I joined in to stay with them. After a few years of it, I started to realise I was choosing it less for them and more for the subject itself. I had the most amazing Drama teachers who really encouraged me and gave me great knowledge and confidence to pursue it further which I never would have if it wasn’t for them, so I really owe it all to them!

When it comes to comedy though, that was mostly my Dad. When I was in school, I’d visit him twice a week and we’d always sit and watch comedies together. Anything from really old sketch comedies like ‘Morecambe and Wise’, ‘Abbott and Costello’ all the way to more modern sitcoms like ‘Still Game’ or one of my favourites ‘Flight of the Conchords’. I think I developed a love for comedy through the sheer amount of time we spent watching it, and as my confidence grew through taking Drama at school, I began focusing on comedy more and more.

Alexander Tait in 'Kev Campbell Was He' (Edinburgh Fringe rehearsal photo)
© Steven Wootton

You started out in improv, can you tell me what it is like directing and being part of Edinburgh’s longest running improv group ‘The Improverts’?

Terrifying. Absolutely terrifying.

Sorry, only joking.

I’ve been a member since May 2022 and it’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. The best part about it for me is less with the show itself, but the fact I’ve met some of my closest friends and made some fantastic memories with people that I have run on stage with, creating such silly and wacky scenes purely out of nothing. It’s very strange when you think about how we have bonded, but also wonderful.

Becoming the Director in 2023 was more of a challenge, and I had to really work to try and ensure that as a group we were feeling fresh and excited about improv, but it can be tough to maintain the quality of a show that is completely different every time you do it. But we regularly rehearse three times a week and give each other great feedback and advice to always stay on the right track. ‘The Improverts’ has run for over 36 years now, and although this will be my last year performing with them, I’m ecstatic to see it carry on to a new generation.

Alexander Tait in 'Kev Campbell Was He' (Edinburgh Fringe rehearsal photo)
© Steven Wootton

Growing up in Glasgow, you were never far away from Edinburgh. To what extent was performing at the Fringe part of your aspirations?

Weirdly enough a lot of people in Glasgow never go to the Fringe, at least in my experience. I had never even heard of it until 2019 when I was 16 and our Drama teachers, the amazing people I mentioned earlier, took us on a class trip to the festival. We saw three shows that were all radically different: a silent Samurai Macbeth, a physical theatre show about climate change and then ‘Trainspotting Live’. Seeing the buzz of the city and the sheer amount of shows and art on display really changed everything for me and I was desperate to be a part of it. I finally managed to perform in 2022 for the first time with ‘The Improverts’ and it was an incredible experience. That was the first time anyone in my family had ever come to the Fringe as well!

Q: Having performed at the Fringe across the past 3 years, this year you are debuting your first solo play ‘Kev Campbell Was He’ at theSpaceUK. What inspired you to start creating your own work?

It can be really tough when you graduate from Drama school and realise that the vision you had for your career as a creative, isn’t quite the reality. I wasn’t getting much work at all and from there I decided I wanted to explore different creative outlets. I began writing this piece as a sort of sketch of two characters meeting in a toilet, and I weirdly kept coming back to it, and it’s one of the few ideas that really felt like it wanted to grow and be developed. My favourite type of plays to watch are always one person. I love theatre that is stripped back and purely focuses on the most important elements – nuanced characters and an engaging story. I also really wanted to make a show that people who don’t go to the theatre would enjoy, like the family and friends I grew up with. 

Alexander Tait in 'Kev Campbell Was He' (Edinburgh Fringe rehearsal photo)
© Steven Wootton

‘Kev Campbell Was He’ is set in a nightclub toilet in Glasgow and focuses on the 18-year-old Kev Campbell who must reflect on the role he plays in tackling homophobia amongst his peers. It begins as a comedy, but transitions into a reflective character piece and also covers some really poignant topics. How have you found balancing the comedy aspects with the important underlying themes?

It’s probably been one of the toughest parts of writing the show. I want to make sure the audience will enjoy it, but I also want to create a show with real stakes, character development and tension. Striking the balance is hard, and you want to show there is a message in the story without it feeling preachy. As much as having the finished script is helpful, I also think a lot of discovery is found in the room and at this point in time the script can be more of a guide that we can use and adapt in order to make sure the story is told in the most interesting way. The director, Ivan Hamshaw Thomas, has been incredible when discussing the script and making sure we focus on the pacing of the play, making it flow as a full 50-minute show. The writing process was also made a lot easier thanks to my partner Clare, who would always read my drafts and give me honest advice on what parts were working and what wasn’t. Her support has been nothing short of amazing.

Telling this story through the perspective of a heterosexual character, you are ‘hoping that this show can highlight how the LGBTQ+ community are still mocked and harassed in Scotland’ and that others can learn from your own experiences and ‘stop it when they see it’. How has it been drawing on your own experiences for your debut play? 

While there isn’t anything in the play that directly happened to me, there is a real culture of toxic masculinity, homophobia and shame around the arts which was very present growing up. I find it really disturbing how casual and normalised homophobia still is in Scotland. Although I think we do have a much more accepting generation, in my experience young men still see sexuality as a thing to mock or use it to put down other men.

Alexander Tait in 'Kev Campbell Was He' (Edinburgh Fringe rehearsal photo)
© Steven Wootton

I also knew from early on that I didn’t want to write a story about what it’s like for someone to come out or to be a victim of homophobia as that’s not my story to tell, and I doubt I could tell it authentically. Instead I wanted to create a story of friendship, that talks about being a bystander to homophobia and how dangerous our inaction can be. It’s been tough to be honest with myself and realise that I didn’t always make the best decisions or say the right things, but I’m at a point in my life where I want to do better and try to encourage all of us to be less judgemental and more kind.

If you were to sum up ‘Kev Campbell Was He’ in a word, what would it be and why? 


I’d choose that as the play has not only been very freeing for me to be vulnerable and create something, but also I think that’s what the main character has a journey of throughout the story. The main friendship in the play really liberates him as a person but most importantly as a man, and it lets me reflect on when I realised that actually being a man doesn’t include any of the traditional things we associate with it. In my opinion, it’s far more about our actions, treating people with respect and kindness and living a life where we bring more good into the world than bad. It maybe sounds a bit soppy, but I really do believe that’s what being a man is about.

In February 2024 ‘Kev Campbell Was He’ was nominated for the David MacLennan Award by A Play, A Pie and A Pint. How did it feel, securing the nomination ahead of your Fringe run?

It was really exciting. It gave me a great boost of confidence in the play as a whole. When you create any art, it can be so easy to start getting pessimistic and self-critical and really believe what you’re making is bad, so having that bit of reassurance that at least someone has enjoyed this story and thinks it has potential is really reassuring. I’m super grateful to be nominated alongside all the other fantastic writers, and I can’t wait to see all of their plays on the stage one day.

'Kev Campbell Was He' Edinburgh Fringe poster
© Craig Maclure / Alexander Tait

What are you most looking forward to about presenting your debut play at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe?

August is always my favourite month of the year purely for the Fringe. This will be my third year performing but I’ve never taken on a project of this size before. One thing I’m ecstatic for is the flyering. It’s one of my favourite things to do each year. I love chatting to folk and learning about the shows they’ve seen and getting to tell them about what my show is like and see if they would be interested.

More broadly though, I’d say I’m most looking forward to seeing how the show lands with audiences, what people laugh at or what they can relate to. I’m incredibly excited and nervous. It’s easy to say we shouldn’t care what people think but if I’m honest, I’m really bad at that. So if I can make a play that most people feel is worth the price of the ticket, then I’ll be happy.

How to watch ‘Kev Campbell Was He’ at the Edinburgh Fringe

You can catch Alexander’s debut play at theSpace @ Symposium Hall – Annexe (Venue 43) from 2nd – 10th August. With a start time of 19:15, tickets are priced at £8.00 for concessions and £10.00 for full price. A huge thank you to Alexander for taking the time to speak with me, it was fascinating to hear about your background and what inspired you to create this new piece of writing. I wish you all the best with your Fringe run!

Thanks for reading my blog today.

Love Kat xxxx



  1. John tait says:

    Thank you kat
    I was passed this on
    And I love this write up it was written very true and correct and for that I appreciate
    And to be truthful I am his dad
    Thank you again

    1. Thank you for your kind words, John. It was a pleasure to speak to Alexander about the play. I wish him all the best for Fringe!


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