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The Essentials

What to keep in mind when you’re planning to bring a show to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Taking a show to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe isn’t something to be done on a whim. It takes months of preparation and planning to make sure everything runs smoothly, and even then, there’s plenty that can be forgotten or overlooked. Fortunately, there are lots of helpful guides out there – providing information on everything from costing and budgeting to promoting and marketing. Before you get started, you need to know exactly what you’re bringing to the Fringe – and why.

Jonny Patton of the Pleasance Theatre Trust advises, “I would always make sure that you’re going into [the Fringe] as prepared as possible.”

These are his top tips for preparing to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe:

Set your goal(s) for the Fringe

Once you’re at the Edinburgh Fringe, it’s easy to get swept up in the excitement and be distracted by the hecticness. This is why it’s important to have a set goal – or goals – in mind so your time there is focused. It will be impossible to do everything in one visit, so make sure you focus on the key things you want to achieve. Ask yourself what you want to get out of the Fringe, and tailor your time towards that.

For example, if your goal is to build a national tour, you’ll want to get national critical response to your show, so getting reviewers from national publications is a must. Spend your time courting these reviewers at the Fringe and try to get them in to see your show.

Don’t rush into anything

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe has been running since 1947 and, as the world’s largest performance arts festival, isn’t likely to be cancelled anytime soon. There will always be another Fringe next year, so don’t feel rushed into putting on a show if you’re not ready.

If you feel like your show isn’t quite ready and that you would benefit from more time to prepare and plan, take it. Ask yourself: Is this the right time? Will I be better off taking on this challenge next year?

If you only get one chance to bring your work to the Fringe, make sure both you and your show are truly ready for it. If you won’t be performing or taking a show this year, take a look at these five reasons you should still go to the Edinburgh Fringe.

Keep your show’s turnaround time in mind

With so many shows to fit in, many venues will have rigid schedules. A typical day for them will alternate between showtime and turnaround time over and over again – meaning you’re likely to have quite a short turnaround time. What’s more, you’ll have to share that time with the show before you and the show after you. Keep this in mind when you’re planning and thinking about your show.

Communicate with your venue early on

Your venue will want to support your ambition and allow you to bring the show you envision to the Fringe, so involve them in the conversation about your technical, stage and other requirements as early as possible. This will give you plenty of time to communicate with their technical team and gives the venue a chance to discuss what your show will involve and how they can help realise that for you.

Depending on what your show involves, this may also impact the venue’s schedule. Knowing about it early on will ensure they can put your show in the correct space and avoid any issues that may have come about otherwise.

A special thank you to Jonny from all of us at Spotlight for his advice on preparing for the Fringe!

More Edinburgh Festival Fringe advice:

Image credit: elkor / iStock