I first became aware of the Edinburgh Fringe about 15 years ago, through a tv show on Channel 4 called “Edinburgh or Bust”. It focused on the comedy festival and followed a number of performers during the led-up to and during their month in Edinburgh. Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt were there with a show called the Arctic Boosh. Simon Munnery was on it. It was the first time I came across Jason Byrne who would later perform regularly at my college during Rag Week and Freshers Week. It made the Fringe look both terrifying and amazing. I wanted to go!
I’ve still never actually been to the festival, either with a show or as a punter but I am still fascinated with the it. I’m not sure I’d cope with the frantic pace, the endless flyering, the huge number of shows to see; not to mention the hills and the Scottish weather.
Bryony Kimmings has some wonderful words of advice for those heading the Edinburgh this August. These include things like do not flyer your own show, don’t see any other shows during the first week and eat your greens! She is in Edinburgh this year with a show about depression called Fake It ’til You Make, which I think sounds great. You can read about the making of it here.
Byrony Kimmings also gave the opening speech for this year’s festival. She talked about what the Festival means to her but also has some great tips for anyone involved in theatre, including advice on making money and making art.
In the Guardian last week, Lyn Gardner talked to artists about the cost of taking a show to the festival and what you gain by doing so. Spoiler – the gain is generally not financial. Despite focusing on the money, it’s a very upbeat article that illustrates why people do it.
Here are some bits and pieces that I came across on twitter recently. They are all from the UK, a lot of them are from the Guardian.co.uk and some from other small blogs.
The Irish theatre community is small, and Dublin is smaller again. I mostly like the smallness. Small means it actually feels like a community, you know what other people are up, people support each other, etc. But it can be risky; communities can become inward-looking and isolated. They have to avoid self-absorption and clique-y-ness and thinking that their little bubble is the centre of the universe. It’s important to keep looking outwards, seeing what other people are doing, be open to new influences. Luckily the internet makes that really easy!
And an article by Lyn Gardner about an experiment in Stockton’s ARC theatre with a pay-as-you-go initiative, as a way of encouraging more people to go to the theatre. This is worth keeping an eye on, I think.