Tuesday, 15 September 2009

How to put on a show at the Edinburgh Fringe

I've just been emailed by someone asking how to go about putting a show in in Edinburgh (planning for 21010, obviously). I thought this would be a good place to rehearse my answer. What would your advice be, fellow Fringers?

Firstly, I assume he means the Edinburgh Fringe. Speaking as someone who plays in Edinburgh the rest of the year ( I was there throughout December last year, and popped up in Feb, April, and July too), I still fall in to the trap of saying "Edinburgh" when I mean "that period in August where lots of idiots from the south of England take over Edinburgh and forget it exists the rest of the year". But let's plan to do Edinburgh, knowing what we all mean.

First thing to do is have a show ready. Maybe others would advise differently, but I would say that if you go up to the Fringe and try and play for an hour without being good enough or ready to fill an hour, then you are likely to put on a bad show that you won't enjoy and might regret. That said, both Frank Skinner and Jonny Vegas leapt in at the deep end like that, and it didn't hurt them. On the other side of the coin there are some shows on at the Free Fringe and Free Festival (and one I saw at the Gilded Balloon this year) which show that I'm right.

Next thing to do is find a venue. The aforementioned Free Fringe & Festival are a good place to start. They won't charge you to play, though there are other costs (see below), and they make taking part in the Fringe very easy, Google their respective websites. They support mostly comedy, and your show will benefit from being on at the same venue as other shows. Increasingly FF shows include high quality shows by good talents, so I'd recommend them for a first timer.

Then come the venues which will cost you. Whether you go with the "big 4", Pleasance, Gilded Balloon, Underbelly or Assembly Rooms, or Just The Tonic, GRV, C Venues, Tron or similar, you will have to pay to hire the venue, and will end up getting a share of the door takings if you take more than the cost of the venue hire. In the case of an average GB or Pleasance space, that will be around £1000 a week for 3 weeks. So if you sell 3 grand's worth of tickets (at 10 quid each, that's 300 tickets, or a dozen a day) you'll be nominally in profit. Other spaces cost less.

But you need to pay to be in the Fringe prog (£600), play for accommodation (I hire a flat for £1500, you can pay a lot less, I once got a place for £150 a week), print posters and flyers, and live for a month. So costs can mount up. But it's do-able, and I love doing it. I've made money and I've lost money, and I'm sure anyone who's done the Fringe more than once will say similar.

Any other advice folks?

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...