An Unpolished Adelaide Fringe Diary Part 4: It Ain't Over Till It's Over
The wrap up of a Fringe produces mixed emotions with Unpolished Theatre’s run Elliot Warren. The last in this series, Elliot reflects on their time in Australia and where the work goes next...
If you have created a piece of work that you love, then the next step is to keep pushing for it to be seen. The opportunities are vast.
The fringe has ended, torn posters litter the streets, fairy lights dangle from gum trees, flickering in and out of life. There’s silence, the onslaught of colour has faded like a comic book left out in the sun and there are artists dragging their bodies into shady corners, puffing and panting, creatively drained, emotional wrecks who have spent the last 5 weeks in a cyclonic series of Groundhog Day-ish activity.
I can’t say I’ll miss the hustle and bustle as I crack up the air-con in our hire car and set out for the Great Ocean Road, though I have loved every weird and wonderful second.
I assumed the final week would be like the last few rounds of a title fight boxing match; the fighters are wrecked from the battering they have taken, still hunting for the prize, slogging away at one another aimlessly, heads drooped, sweating over the canvas, but still giving a heroic show. And in some respects, it did feel like that. We pushed through the final week and at the end, at the final awards ceremony, we managed to get our hands on the ‘Overall Best Theatre of the Fringe’ award which came in the shape of a little green dog with Flesh and Bone written on its collar.
So, what now? What happens when the festival is completed and you’re facing some down time? What happens to the show you have fought for over the last considerable portion of your life, when the stages have been packed away and your home away from home has been boxed up and put into lorries until next year?
If you have created a piece of work that you love, then the next step is to keep pushing for it to be seen. The opportunities are vast. If your base is London (like me), then start talking to producers, theatre programmers, etc. Create a fantastic volume of information that includes all the reviews you got, accolades you may have achieved, PR shots and more, and find yourself a new venue, or venues if a tour is the option you want to go down. Speak to fantastic theatres like The Pleasance, New Diorama, Theatre N16; spaces where they help and guide new companies.
Fringe festivals are full on and that particular piece of work may have creatively drained you. It is okay if you want to forget all about it for a month and focus your time on something else.
By this point your social media pages should be teeming with posts: make these as rich, personable and professional as you can. We have a website now, but if you don’t, then social media will be your first port of call for industry professionals who are looking to potentially work with you.
Chase the connections you may have made during the festival. That beer in the artist bar chatting with the bloke who gave you his card, the people who reached out to you - it’s time to start sending some emails and making sure you are on their mind.
However, first go and have a bath with some bubbles in it and light a couple of candles - you have probably earned it. Fringe festivals are full on and that particular piece of work may have creatively drained you. It is okay if you want to forget all about it for a month and focus your time on something else - the thought of jumping straight back in the saddle as soon as you are home may make your head wobble. I personally try to make work that I am confident I will enjoy and stick with for the long run, so keeping it on my mind at all times isn’t a problem, but sometimes this isn’t the case. Your play may tackle issues that are emotionally tough; there’s endless reasons why you may need a break and that isn’t a bad thing.
I am now in Port Campbell, just by the Twelve Apostles on the Great Ocean Road. This is my down time; I’ll be back in London in just under two weeks and I will be, once again, racing time to get my work seen and heard, enjoyed, hated, picked up, thrown down, chewed up and spat out by anyone and everyone with a pair of eyeballs and a spare tenner for a ticket. All I can say is I can’t bloody wait. Join in: get creating NOW.
Elliot Warren is a writer and actor, who graduated from the Arts University Bournemouth in 2015 with a BA (Hons) in Acting. He has created his own work since then, including his first play which he wrote, co-directed and starred in, Flesh and Bone. Elliot also created and starred in a mini web-series, Stick Up, which has so far gained over 12 million views; this is currently being developed into a feature film. He is one of the winners of Hat Trick Productions’ new writing scheme ‘Your Voice Your Story’, and is currently developing a series under option with them.