NICOLE Ansari-Cox has just returned from a relaxing massage. She’s calm but cheerful and shows none of the anxiety that performers just a week away from opening at the Fringe usually exhibit.

Add to that the fact that Nicole directs She/Her, which opens at the Assembly George Square Studios on Tuesday. She is also one of the seven women who ­perform monologues exploring subjects as diverse as hope, fear, loss, trauma, ­passion, ancestry, birth, motherhood and romance.

Each of the monologues has been shaped in a uniquely collaborative way, with Nicole and their fellow performers and have more wit and humour than the subjects might immediately suggest.

It’s produced by Nicole’s husband ­Brian Cox, who is still in New York, where the couple live with their two sons.

He’s to be found under Logan Roy’s designer baseball cap, filming the fourth season of Succession, while Nicole has been head down in rehearsals in ­Edinburgh.

Originally William Burdett Coutts, ­Assembly artistic director, was keen to stage Sinners, a two-hander with Nicole as Layla, a woman who is to be stoned to death following adultery with her ­student, played by Adam Sina. ­Sinners was ­directed and staged at ­London’s ­Playground Theatre, just before ­lockdown shut theatres in early 2020.

“Brian is filming and Adam wasn’t available, says Nicole, “but William was immediately interested in bringing She/Her.”

She/Her had its beginnings in the ­verdant surroundings of Chatham in upstate New York at PS21: Performance Spaces for the 21st century.

The National: Nicole Ansari-Cox in She/Her. Photograph: Elke RosthalNicole Ansari-Cox in She/Her. Photograph: Elke Rosthal

“I was speaking with the artistic ­director there, Elena Siyanko. Maybe ­because she Ukrainian, her programming is more European-based and she was ­interested in work I had done at Théâtre du Soleil Paris with Ariane Mnouchkine,” says Nicole.

“She said, ‘I have four days, what would you like to do?’. The actor in me immediately thought of all the plays I’ve wanted to do over the years, but then I realised this was a huge opportunity to do something original.”

Nicole considered what had come to light during the pandemic, particularly when it came to the female narrative, and decided to create new work around a series of monologues.

“I’ve always liked that form. It’s a way to really hone into one character.”

Nicole decided to step away from the usual casting process. She decided to cast from people she had worked with, people who she wanted to work with, and she was also keen to bring in the experience of women who weren’t “professional” ­actors.

The writing process came from the group of women, with direction and shaping from Nicole. Music and film ­projection are used to illustrate and ­amplify each of the monologues.

With the move to Edinburgh, Brian was keen to come on board and produce.

“It’s an original idea that is such a ­simple idea,” he says from New York. “It’s unbelievably simple but it really does deal with the nature of how women are at this particular period of time, and also how they’ve come out of one ­situation and are moving into a future situation.

“Nicole has beautifully orchestrated these multiple women to tell their own story but tell it in such a way that it’s ­harmonious and entertaining. Therefore, it makes a performance. I’m biased, but it’s so beautifully directed.”

Brian has always been open about the influence of women in his life from an early age, being raised by his older sisters following the early death of his father and his mother’s chronic mental illness that followed that bereavement. He ­believes that finally we are moving away from creating women’s roles and staging women’s stories that immediately ­pigeonhole them.

“I think we finally are. Each woman’s story is entirely different from the next one. No two stories are alike. It’s all ­different. I think this performance brings it all together in a cohesive whole.”

Nicole also conceived She/Her in a way that it can travel and ­incorporate local ­talent. German-born with part of her ­early career there, she has ­performed across the world and can see the ­importance of giving the show this ­mobility.

“I would like it to be anchored in the place where it is performing. From the New York performances, there are only three actors remaining. Myself, ­Antoinette Cooper and Michelle Joyne.

“For Edinburgh I’m delighted to be joined by an incredibly diverse and strong group of women. We have ­musician and singer Mairi Campbell, the Scottish-Kenyan actress Kananu Kirimi who Brian and I have supported in her drama ­training. We also have harpist Ada Grace Francis. I wanted a trans ­actor and turned to Alan Cumming for a ­recommendation. Through him we have found the amazing performance-maker, Callie Rose Petal.”

Bringing She/Her to Edinburgh is like coming home in a way, well perhaps a third home after Germany and the US as her second, but Nicole says that the first time she visited Scotland she felt an ­immediate connection.

“It’s so funny. When I was 12 years old I said I would marry a Scotsman. I was only reminded of this by my friend when I met Brian.

“Then of course Brian brought me to Scotland and it was the early days so he brought out all the big cards,” she laughs. “We went to the Highlands and in the middle of the drive I said, ‘stop the car. stop the car’. I couldn’t even speak, but the land was really speaking to me. It ­always feels that way here.”

Brian and Nicole have worked together many times since meeting, even before Sinners on projects as diverse as Rock’n’Roll in the West End, Deadwood on TV, and during lockdown they were both involved in The Agoraphobics Detective Society, with proceeds going to film and TV freelancers affected by the pandemic.

The Fringe is something that has been an old friend to Brian since his early days of acting. He believes it still works as a festival and says “it should remain as it is. If anything, it should be better under ­independence. The Fringe can only ­benefit from independence.”

By the time Succession 4 is in the can, there will inevitably be other projects for both Coxes but one thing is sure. When a referendum date is set, Brian will be back on the campaign trail.

“Absolutely, without question. It’s more important now than it was in 2014. We’ve seen how futility-ridden this ­Government is. Rishi Sunak is quoted as saying he’s not interested in people’s bank balances. Well he should be. Those who have more than enough and those who have nothing. Those that can’t ­afford a bank balance.”

This reflects on the intentions of She/Her too. Both Nicole and Brian see it as a vehicle to give a voice to so many ­sections of our population who are consistently marginalised and have few champions speaking for them.

“All the news media are biased ­opinions. It’s not news … it’s opinion,” adds Brian. “We’re not at that stage yet in the UK, but we are moving towards that. I think that the theatre is the one place where you tell the truth.”

She/Her is at Assembly George Square Studios (Studio One) August 3 to 29, 2.15pm