Edinburgh Fringe, often the centre point of a producer’s year, the rest of your projects are labelled as ‘pre Edinburgh’ and ‘post Edinburgh.’ May-July your brain is full of brochures, posters, flyers, marketing copy, accommodation. You disappear into the bubble in August and come out the other side, hopefully in one piece, until that brochure deadline swings around again next year.
This is my third Edinburgh Fringe as a Producer with the King’s Head Theatre, each year we have increased in shows and this year is no different. I enjoy the fringe, it takes me out of my comfort zone, it makes you go back to basics. I cannot rely on my home comforts of sitting in a fully functional venue with anything I may need stored away within arms reach or the full support of an incredible team that all are my go to experts. The fringe is dirty and grimy and a fight to get your show noticed above all of the other (insert number here, it keeps growing and I can’t keep up) You run around Edinburgh making sure you have enough posters up, your cast are flyering, you’re tweeting regularly, checking all your adverts are in the publications you hope will make a slight dent in ticket sales. You talk to random strangers in queues and see how quickly you can name drop your show so they will come, you go in and have moaning sessions in marketing office’s when you know you are probably the tenth person that day, no, probably that hour. However it is all worth it when the audience are there, the tweets are coming in, the reviews come in putting those extra stars on your posters and the holy grail of seeing your name on the sell out board makes you sigh with relief or depending what day of the fringe you are on (if you know what day it actually is anymore) even a small tear of Joy.
Whenever I return to the fringe I get out of the train station and it’s exactly the same, nothing has changed, it feels a bit like getting ready for battle but also it’s comforting, feels like a second home you always visit now. However this year is different for many reasons, it’s the first time I’m not up all month for starters. I’m currently traveling back to London with the first week done and all my shows opened and will return, ‘book-end’ style, in the last week to see more shows to programme later on for the King’s Head Theatre. This year I’m also training for a marathon and have had to factor that into my time at the fringe (if anyone knows me they know how ridiculous that statement is, yes I know I’m laughing as well!) but it was actually nice going on a long run to the beach and see more of Edinburgh. Of course the biggest difference this year is that I came up with a secret, a secret that can now be talked about. The King’s Head Theatre will be moving to a new home, a home that has 2 spaces, a bar and the ability to offer us stability. I knew it was going to be announced in the first week of the fringe but I did not know the exact day or time. So naturally as these things always so often go it went live on Wednesday the busiest day, when I was opening all 3 shows. I was standing in a second hand furniture store next to a pile of set items I had brought for a show that was tech-ing in the next hour desperately trying to call a man with van. I was of course excited and relieved we could finally discuss it but I don’t think I really took it all in. Phones have been going crazy this week, everyone has been very supportive and it is all very exciting. On my way to the train station this morning I was sent a video of our amazing Executive Director on the BBC talking about our move and it kind of made me go ‘crap we’re moving!’ Sounds daft but all we’ve been talking about is the new building, new ideas and big future plans and I hadn’t actually thought about packing up our current theatre, our offices, my second home for nearly 6 years now. Just like the fringe it’s a comfort, it is a second home, often I’ve spent more time there than my actual home. It’s full of memories and is the reason I now get to go the fringe to produce these shows; it’s where my career has really kicked off.
So for now as I whizz past the scenery back to London to go and fully appreciate the enormous adventure we are about to go on I wish everyone luck in their fringe. I hope my casts are ok and can manage for a few weeks without me (I’m sure they are fine and sick of me nagging them!), as mum would say double dose on the Vitamin C (you know that fringe flu is coming!), be nice to flyerer’s we’ve all been there, you know how it feels! See things you never normally would and talk to everyone around you, we’re all in this crazy bubble together.