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Life on the Fringe

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Flyering smart, not necesarily hard [Aug. 11th, 2009|09:42 am]
Life on the Fringe
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By Phil King 

Further to yesterday's comments I wanted to pick up what people said about how they'd like to see Fringe shows promote themselves, and the media promote the Fringe.  Letting people know we're serious is indeed high on our list of priorities, along with the other comment about flyering the queues of similar shows.  I think both suggestions are excellent.  Flyering other people's shows can be a dodgy experience up here if done badly, resulting in territorial battles over Fringe traffic (or as we're theatre-types - a hissy fit and a spat).  This will especially be the case for university shows who are coming to Edinburgh for the first time and learning as they go.  Something I went through and value tremendously as a learning curve.  Fortunately we know plenty of other shows up here with the same feel as ours and can band together, it'll just mean running headlong from venue to venue.  I agree with Sanjida though, that finding smart ways to flyer is far more effective than showering passers-by (probably just up here for comedy) with literature they simply don't want.

It's interesting, and frankly at times a little frustrating that comedy has saturated everywhere and even made it into our press.  There will be people up here to see good, gutsy, professionally done theatre.  Maybe they're waiting for the reviews, but even in this area of Fringe life comedy is gaining far more coverage.  In one review section the other day there were two only theatrical reviews to the fifty or so comedy ones.  It does just feel like the traditional element of the Fringe has been lost slightly and overtaken by the big promoters looking for big money.  Taking a theatre show up here with six professionals, props and costumes is far less financially viable than a comic with one microphone and this has left money free for marketing.  Lots of it.

For all the weak shows that are present in Edinburgh each year there are many gems.  I hope the great cultural event that is the Fringe doesn't get washed out by the promotional teams and their massive marketing budgets.  It does present a challenge to the theatre here, and one that I believe can be hurdled.  It's going to be about getting clever, getting our names out there, presenting shows of quality and worth, and hoping that good old-fashioned word of mouth does its job.  In the last of the two-for-one days our show sold out yesterday, the real test begins today with properly priced theatre seats against the big comedy shows.  We shall see...

"Killing Alan" will be performing at the Underbelly's Big Belly, August 6-30 (not 18th) at 16:40. Box Office: Smirnoff Underbelly - 0844 545 8252 / www.underbelly.co.ukwww.roughfiction.com

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