Newcastle comedian to tell sight loss story through stand-up at Edinburgh Fringe

A Newcastle comedian will be taking to the stage at the Edinburgh Fringe this year to share his experiences of navigating the world while visually impaired.

Jake Donaldson is heading to the world's largest performance arts festival this summer for a four-week stint performing his new show Spectacle, which tells the story of his sight loss journey through comedy alongside a unique use of light and sound to create a sensory experience for audiences. The 30-year-old hopes that as well as making people laugh, the show will help to dispel misunderstandings about sight loss.

"Sometimes people come up to me and say, 'You're not actually blind though, are you? That's just made up for your comedy'. Just because someone isn't wearing dark glasses and accompanied by a guide dog, it doesn't mean they're not visually impaired," Jake told leading sight loss charity RNIB.

Before he goes to the Edinburgh Fringe in August, Jake will also be performing Spectacle in his home city at The Cumberland Arms on July 16 as part of Newcastle Fringe Festival. Having been writing and performing comedy since he was a teenager, Jake has performed previously at the Fringe and at comedy clubs across the UK, and his 2022 show Neurotica is currently streaming on Amazon Prime and NextUp.

"I always enjoyed comedy when I was little, and I spent all my pocket money on stand-up DVDs or tickets to see comedians rather than CDs and clothes like most of my friends," he said. "I joined comedy groups at university, and we performed shows together, I got the bug then and ever since, I've been pursuing stand-up."

Previously named as one of the Must See New Acts at the Edinburgh Fringe by HuffPost, Blizzard Comedy described his stand-up as "Full of heart... top class anecdotal comedy... genuinely class gags that will have you roaring with laughter". Spectacle is a show that Jake is "incredibly proud of", with the comedian adding that he "can't wait" for audiences to experience it.

"My eyesight is something that I've had to deal with my whole life," he said. "But it's now in my 30s that I'm really facing the reality of being visually impaired and what that means for my future.

"Spectacle feels like a new level of performance for me. I think it will give audiences a new sense of perspective about how they see the world - literally - as well as an hour of laughs."

Off stage, Jake has been supported by his local Eye Care Liaison Officer (ECLO), a service managed in hospitals across the UK by RNIB and other providers. Jake added: "My ECLO has been great, he's been really instrumental in helping me come to terms with the reality of my sight loss."

Tickets are available now here for Jake's Spectacle show at the Edinburgh Fringe, which will take place between August 1-11 and 13-25 at The Mash House, and are priced at £10 with concessions available. Newcastle comedy lovers can also book to see him at the city's own Fringe Festival on July 16 at The Cumberland Arms here.