A growing page of quotes to inspire you before and at your Fringe Festival.
Many are for performers and show makers, but some will chime with fringe goers as well.
(We’ll be adding to this page over time. Do send us some of your own to firstname.lastname@example.org)
People go to Festivals for an escape and often meet nobody new. Fringe is all about exploring your edges and boundaries. Meet new people, add to your contct; be safe and responsible, but also be prepared to expand your horizons and learn from people very different from your usual crowd. Doors open at the Fringe, but you have to be up for the adventure.
Fringe Festivals run at a lightning pace. Plans can go awry very quickly as the unpredictable kicks in. Imagine different scenarios and have a Plan B. Think the unthinjable and be open to adaptation and change. Look at your to do list and imagine what you might have forgotten. What else could happen?
The Fringe has a party atmosphere. You can be out seeing shows, socialisng and drinking. It can be easy to lose touch with your own real reason for being up here. If it is primarily to party, then have a great time. If you are up here to show artistic work then don’t lose touch with your more serious reasons for being up here. Be professional, be mindful and don’t lose the plot.
How noisy and chaotic the Fringe can be! Shared houses and noisy neighbourhoods are not the best place to find calm, time to reflect and let go, to notice things and think clearly. Find a quieter cafe, a place that suits you, with tea or coffee to match. A sofa, decent Wifi (or no Wifi!), an inspiring view, or even a bit of early morning silence. Find your quiet haven, your place t0 chill, calm, regroup, relax and collect your thoughts. (And don’t tell all the assholes who annoy and irritate you where it is!)
Even the best laid plans of mice and men have their flaws, and no matter how thoroughly you’ve gone over everything you haven’t thought of, unexpected things happen that you couldn’t possibly have anticipated. Possibly disastrous things. The best you can do to prepare for this – apart from the obvious tip of learning to hold you nerve at the fringe – is leave some slack in your plans to cope with these unexpected setbacks. If you can fix it by using some spare time in your schedule, or calling in favours from people willing to help as a last resort, you have a good chance of getting over it. If you are already maxing out the time of everyone around you and you’ve already called in favours from people losing their patience, then you are in trouble.
(Read Chris Neville-Smith’s excellent blog here).
We can become too immersed in the Fringe. A mix of physical and mental/emotional immersion. Alongside that is constant connecting to social media and responding to texts. Eventually we can burn out or stop enjoying it. In drama, the pauses are as important as the spoken or acted parts. Silence is a vital part of our flow. Take time out from the noise, from the cacophony. Head out of town into the Pentland Hills or down to the sea. Or just find a quieter cafe and pause for a bit. Breathe, relax and reflect. We feel refreshed and sometimes deeper worries surface. We can often deal with them better when we take some time out.
Everything can feel rushed at the Fringe. Your get-in and get-out time is often limited to minutes. Don’t create unnecessary when you arrive at your venue. Rehearse your get in back in your home town. Plan for different scenarios. What could go wrong? What’s your plan B, or even C? If someone else is doing your get-in for you, still spend a bit of time in the venue. Step onto the stage, look out into the audience, locate your set, be clear where microphones or keyboard are located. Notice wires you might trip over, entrances and exits where set might also be stored. Immerse yourself in your space so you are clued up, relaxed and confident.
Ensure you Edfringe is truly a physical experience. It’s possible to get lost in a kind of dream world – a mix of introspection, over-analysis, social media, texting, and day-dreaming. Smell the smells (good and bad) of the city, of the venue, and taste the tastes of the Fringe. When you picture ahead, do it socially as well in conversation, turn off the digital devices for a bit and look up. Yes, look around you. Your best ideas might just come from reconnecting in a state of openness and curiousity. Be awake; don’t dream your day away.
Engage with your audience – on and offline. Be confident but be humble. Ask questions and be open. Sometimes our best insights come from strangers. Being in your own space, and getting away from everyone else can be necessary but it doesn’t have to be the default – especially as you’ve chosen to perform at a Fringe in a city that is packed to the rafters. Quieter times for loner time are early morning. Even then the city is buzzing. This Fringe is social to the core and often superficial. Be social, gain reaction and enjoy it. the work may be solo but if you cut off you might just find all you gain is thew disinterest of others.
Connect with the venue staff. They may seems busy, over-worked and distracted but be friendly and warm with them. Introduce yourself and show an interest in where they are from, their hopes and aspirations. Connect with them as human beings. Don’t be pushy, creepy and don’t overdo it. But if they can come to see your show, they are more likely to recommend it (If it’s any good! Venue staff are also ambassadors for the venue and the shows in them. Not everyone will want to connect but those that do are a genuinely real resource for your fringe show. Get on good terms with the tech folk, the ushers and the box office staff.
Busyness builds in the run up to the Fringe. Email Inboxes overload then overflow. So distil your show press release down to it essence. You might mention there is a DropBox for images, but don’t force it and don’t attach huge files. One image max by the time you get into the last days before August. A paragraph or two. Bold your keywords. Be precise and economic with words. Acknowledge the busyness of the press contacts and let them read your press release in half a minute. Be eloquent but be short.
More to come
Photograph: The Meadows, Edinburgh, by Paul Levy
All other images (C) FringeReview