Erin Holland’s passion for the arts, education, and her students shines through this play.

Bad Teacher is written and performed by Erin Holland and directed and produced by Grace O’Keefe. These two extremely talented women make up the Queens of Cups, a female-led London-based theatre company. Holland, a teacher in real life, plays a hilarious and compassionate 20-something year old drama teacher. The play goes through different scenes of her personal and teacher lives, which inevitably interweave. As a former teacher, the play really hit home for me, accurately portraying the heartaches, endeavours, and joys that come with this beautiful but extremely difficult job.

The satirical nature of Bad Teacher hysterically highlights the struggles educators go through, including comparing yourself to other teachers, not having enough funding, parents’ lack of consideration, and doing your best to help your students but always wondering if it’s enough. Holland summed it up perfectly when she said teachers don’t stay in their careers for the money or the holidays; they stay for the kids. I love how she highlighted her relationship with one of her students, Joy, and the anxieties and difficulties that come during that age.

The set includes a chair, purse, and posters (which include self-affirmations and reminders to put on her Big Pussy Energy) that Holland flips throughout the play. The minimal set is perfect, though, because her presence takes up the entire stage. Holland is hilarious, full of energy, and an absolute joy to watch. I remember thinking to myself, “I want her to be my teacher and my best friend.” She kept me captivated and laughing for the entire show, even performing an epic rap sequence. She played other characters as well, putting on different flawless accents. Though the majority of the play was lively, Holland did balance it out with a painful, raw, and heart-breaking end scene. 

An important aspect of the play is the lack of funding and care for the arts, something Holland is clearly frustrated with. She showed how important it is to encourage students’ creativity in the classroom. She notes the contributing factors to the diminishing of the arts (school leaders, government leaders, parents) and has a message for all of them. Ultimately, Bad Teacher shows the amazing, selfless work teachers do for the love of their students.

Put on your Big Pussy Energy and catch Bad Teacher at the Edinburgh Fringe! It’s on at Underbelly Bristo Square, from the 3rd – 29th August (not the 15th) at 2.45pm!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

{🎟 AD – PR invite – Tickets were gifted in exchange for an honest review}

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