Taking a show to the Edinburgh Fringe

LMDzpH-IApples and Snakes’ poet Dan Simpson shares his five top tips on ‘Taking a show to the Edinburgh Fringe’.

1. Do your research! Ideally, go to the Fringe as a punter first (and do a few open mics whilst you’re there!). The Fringe is HUGE: 3,000+ shows in 300 odd venues all happening in three and a bit weeks. It’s useful to know a bit about how it all works: what Festival do you want your show to be part of (PBH Free Fringe? Big Four? Laughing Horse? C-Venues? Do you know what these are?)? When is best for you to be on? How are you going to get people through the door?

2. Identify what you would see as successful from taking a show to Edinburgh. That might be: developing artistically, getting a tour, getting a good review in the press, meeting lots of other poets and seeing their work, breaking even financially, or even just having fun. Setting yourself some optimistic and realistic targets will help you focus on making your Fringe show successful.

3. Make the best show you can. The Fringe, even the free festivals within it, is not a place to do something badly. That said, sometimes doing a show is a way to develop creatively – but what you present should be good enough for someone to pay for, and choose over other shows. Write, rewrite, learn, get feedback, improve, repeat until it’s the best it can be. You don’t want to be getting 1 star reviews!

4. Have a strong, understandable, and easily communicable hook for your show that tells someone what it is in just a few words. Handing out a flyer and telling people about your show is a performance itself – if the person thinks you’re interesting, funny, charming and warm, they’ll have a reason to come and see you.

5. When out in Edinburgh, pack for all types of weather every day. It can go from hail to sunshine in less than 5 minutes (true story). Also, have good and comfortable walking shoes – you’ll be traipsing across town to flyer, see and do shows, get home and back constantly. Eat well and often, stay hydrated, and relax sometimes – burning out is bad and your show will suffer.

You can read Dan’s comprehensive guide on Taking a show to the Edinburgh Fringe here.

Dan’s show Applied Mathematics: Spoken Word for Geeks is on 16-24 August, 2.45pm at Cortado Cafe (venue 428) as part of PBH’s Free Fringe.