It’s a cold wintery Sunday morning in Melbourne. I’m at home still lying in bed contemplating the world over a cup to tea. I’ll soon be swapping Melbourne’s winter for Edinburgh’s summer, which pejoratively I like to tell people is exactly like Melbourne’s winter except for longer periods of daytime and more rain.
I, like so many other artists, writers, creators, performers (however we describe what it is we do), will be making the pilgrimage to Edinburgh in a few weeks’ time to peddle my wares amongst a world of such diversity it is akin to trying to sell cinnamon at the Spice Bazaar in Istanbul and be successful at it.
Edinburgh in August is an assault on your senses which you have to face head on. The intensity is as severe as it is rewarding. That old monicker of getting out what you put in rings true. And you’ve got to be disciplined about what you put in. This is my fourth time performing in Edinburgh, and for all the good intentions about my expectations going into it, I know I will have to be agile if I am to survive with my wellbeing intact.
Surviving the month of August in Edinburgh is accomplished only through the comfort of strangers. It’s a comfort you don’t recognise at first and one you wished you knew about earlier. The stranger who takes your flyer. The stranger who sees you perform. The stranger who laughs. The stranger who cries. The stranger who feels indifferent. The fellow performer who starts out as a stranger and becomes a lifelong friend. Shared experiences make this happen. There’s a particular brutality about how Edinburgh in August exposes your vulnerabilities. And that’s also how you meet the stranger within you. That stranger who makes you the better artist, writer, creator, performer. That stranger who asks you daily to forget about yesterday and tomorrow and to focus only on today.
Edinburgh in August in itself is its own theatre. It exists because of the creatives that want to challenge themselves. Just because you’ve performed in Edinburgh doesn’t mean you’ve made it. What you’ve made is what you’ve put into the experience.
To every artist, writer, creator, performer embarking on their 2019 Edinburgh journey I salute you. Be brave. Be bold. And leave your mediocrity at home. This is your opportunity to grow.
I’ll be performing my show Shattered which is about all the people and things that hate me from 1-12; 14-25 August 2019 at 6.40pm at Sweet Grassmarket 3.