The first time I volunteered for the Dublin Fringe Festival was in 2004 and I didn’t really have a very good time. It’s not surprising because I was pretty unhappy anyway. I was two years out of college with a degree in computer programming and no job. I was still stuck in a post-graduation slump where I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life and the future seemed hazy and dull.
I’d left youth theatre the previous April after five years and I felt the lack of theatrical or creative projects in my life. I was also still living at home with my parents so I didn’t know Dublin that well and didn’t really feel at home there – I got lost a lot trying to find the Fringe venues.
Volunteering for the Fringe didn’t make me any happier. Instead it made me feel sad that I could only be involved at the outskirts of this theatre event. I didn’t want to be sitting outside taking tickets, I wanted to be involved in what was going on inside the theatre. I didn’t even last the whole festival because the whole experience made me too miserable. But it also claified things for me and made me made me realise how much I missed being involved in theatre. It made me think that maybe it was something I needed to have in my life. This was one of the things that made me decide to go back to college and study drama. Before the end of the year I had started filling in my UCAS form and applying for drama courses in the UK. And by the following September, I couldn’t volunteer for the Fringe because I was starting my Modern Drama degree at Brunel University.
Even if I never volunteered for the Fringe again, it would still have a special place in my heart as the catalyst that sent me back to university. But when I moved back to Dublin in 2008, I went back to volunteer again and had a much happier experience. And I had a great time in 2009 and 2010 as well.
And now here we are in 2011 and once again, full-time education has taken me out of Dublin at Fringe time. I will be spending a couple of weekends in Dublin trying to experience as much of the Fringe as I can but I will miss the two-week immersion in theatre that I’ve got used to over the last few years. If you are lucky enough to be in Dublin over the next couple of weeks, go and see a few Fringe shows for me!
Previews started yesterday and there are loads of shows for under a tenner so you’ve no excuse.