Guest blog at the Edinburgh Fringe: Red Hat Diaries from Around the World Backwards’ with Donnella Perkins

In 2019, I was at a Fringe Festival in Canada and I realized I had a story I had to tell.  I wrote a synopsis and sent it to a few venue producers in Edinburgh, because if you’re going to do the show of your life, why not do it at the best Fringe Festival in the world?

To my surprise, I was accepted and I booked a venue for the 2020 Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  It was perfect. I would get to share the trip that changed my life – 20 years later.

And then, the world stopped. Okay, not really, but travel was forbidden and the Edinburgh Fringe 2020 was canceled.

When the venue asked if I wanted a refund or for the booking to roll over, I asked for a roll over and an opportunity to perform in Fringe 2021. In 2021, when the travel situation hadn’t improved, I rolled it over again.

In 2022, when it looked like this was finally going to become a reality, I signed the venue agreement and booked a flight and a place to stay.  

And then, the avoidance began. I tried to design my marketing materials, but I struggled. I finally had to hire someone. I did, and his work is amazing, but I still missed several deadlines, which I never do. I’m known as someone who gets things done. 

Anything that was still left to do, I did last minute. I even changed my flight so I could leave Canada later than I planned to. I simply could not accept I would actually get to Edinburgh.  I could not believe I’d perform the story of my life.

I finally left Canada August 3rd and arrived in London on the 4th.  I immediately went to Bath and met a friend and her husband.  I ran through my “script” (it’s my life) for the second time.

I met online with the artist who created my promotional materials (who I’ll now call my publicist) and we worked on the slideshow that is crucial to my show. Without him, I’m not sure I could have done it.

After visiting Bath, I came to Edinburgh. My show debut was one week away.

First, I checked into my accommodation, which is called a “studio” but is actually a tiny room, with a tiny kitchen and tiny washroom. I tried to find somewhere bigger, but there’s no refunds, and Edinburgh is packed. Fortunately, my friends were able to find accommodation elsewhere.

While in Edinburgh, I had my flyers printed (they are done up as postcards, because you should always be able to write those you love while travelling), and I tried to figure out how to promote my show, but passing out flyers seemed like a large challenge and I have no idea how to contact any media.  My venue set up a “meet the press” night, and everyone is lovely.

I, of course, got so nervous and worried, that the minute I slowed down during travelling, I got sick.  I spent days in bed and didn’t flyer, and I didn’t get much more information. I was able fireproof my screen and get lots of meals from Tesco. Small victories.

I also went on Twitter, and seeing the support and sharing from other solo artists kept my hopes up, and I managed to get out of bed. I even got a picture of me walking by my advert with the red hat on.

I did my tech rehearsal, and the tech liked my story. 

On Monday, my friend arrives from Canada, and my show opens.

I am performing until the 20th, and it has been an incredible experience that has already helped my show – and me – evolve. I am trying to put myself out there and pass out flyers. Still, it is hard to do when you are putting your heart on display, daily. I absolutely believe in the story. Come see the play if you want to know how I feel about me.

Thank you Edinburgh for accepting this little Canadian and letting me do an homage to the man of my dreams.

Around the World and Backwards plays at Edinburgh Fringe 2022. Booking and details here.