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The Industry

If you’re on the fence, here’s why it’s time to beg, borrow or steal a ticket to the Edinburgh Fringe…

Every year, you probably hear about all those friends and loved ones on a pilgrimage to that little thing known as the Edinburgh Fringe.

You don’t need us to tell you that taking a show to the Fringe is a big deal. But there are lots of other reasons to still go to the Fringe, even if you don’t have a show there this year. Here are our top 5 reasons all performers should head to Auld Reekie as punters:

1. Soak up the creative atmosphere

Every creative and their dog is in Edinburgh for the month of August, and this ensures a particular vibe that can’t really be matched anywhere else. The atmosphere is so alive, so dynamic, that it’s worth a trip just for the creativity you’ll gain by osmosis.

Get yourself a chunky Fringe guide, book yourself some tickets, and in any down time between shows, keep your eyes and ears open. There’s always something going on, so you’re bound to experience a lot in even just a few days at the Fringe.

2. Support your peers

Support within the industry might seem fraught, but the reality is that performers don’t have to be shy about supporting each other. The industry can feel like a competition, but don’t buy into that. After all, being an actor can be a lonely time for everyone, particularly between jobs. So what better chance to get out there and support your peers than to watch some of the most exciting new theatre around?

Helping your fellow theatre-maker out is a really great thing to do, and by building rapport with your peers, you might find yourself feeling much more supported when your next big project shows up.

3. Find your next great idea

Speaking of your next big project, what better chance to get those creative juices flowing than with a trip to the Fringe? Edinburgh Fringe is the place where anything and everything can be found.

If you’ve ever wondered if your idea was ‘too silly’ or ‘too simple’ or ‘too complicated’ or ‘too intense’…. Edinburgh will teach you that nothing is off limits. If you can turn it into a script, it’s yours to perform. So use a trip to the Fringe to soak up as much as you can, get inspired, and have the chance to figure out what your next passion project will be.

Take a look:

Spies Like Us on creating a great story for your show

4. Learn what works (and what doesn’t)!

While it’s true that anything you can think of has probably been turned into an hour of theatre at the Fringe, watching lots of shows is a great opportunity to get a feel for what sort of staging, props, lighting, materials, characters, etc, will work for the Fringe – and what won’t work at all. It’s not that you can’t experiment, but there are definitely some strategies that work better than others for engaging the Fringe audience.

Keep your eyes open and absorb as much as possible about what shows are doing well, and what is setting them apart. How are they marketing their show – what does their poster look like? What colours or font have they used? Where did you first hear about the show? Where are they flyering? Get geeky with it, and do the research that can make all the difference if you decide to send your own show to the Fringe in future.

Take a look:

Make your first show a banger with advice from Unpolished Theatre

Hear about the journey there (and coming back again) from In Bed with my Brother

Read about how to stand out from the crowd at the Fringe

5. Meet your future collaborators

With this many amazing performers and theatre making talents in one city at one time, it’s the best opportunity ever to face your fear of networking. Almost nobody likes networking, but Edinburgh in August is about as up-beat, fun and open minded as a networking opportunity gets.

Talk to the people who are making great work. Ask questions. Show interest and you never know, your future collaborators might well appear from amongst the crowds. People are definitely busy during this time, but most are also really excited to talk about what they are doing, and what they’re dreaming up next. Come ready to buy your heroes a coffee – they’ll probably need one after their fifth artist party in a row.

Take a look:

Learn how to direct your own work with help from Paines Plough

Read up on the important bits of producing a show

And finally…

In all, the Fringe is an experience like no other. Don’t just take our word for it though – here is Anthony Alderson, Artistic Director of Pleasance, on just why you should get yourself to Edinburgh for the month of August.

It’s okay if you miss out this year – there’s always next year! Our top tip of all? Book tickets to the next one in March.