Making the most of the Edinburgh Fringe: During the Festival

Hopefully you've found my tips on pre-Fringe prep useful. But what about when you actually get to Edinburgh?

A black and white photograph of a group of musicians in white shirts and dark sunglasses performing
Nicky Boiardi, Ruff Child and Lee Giles in The Quentin Dentin Show, produced by Hannah Elsy at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2015. Photo credit: Joey Kiney Whitmore
 

It's a marathon, not a sprint


Whether you're taking a show to the Fringe for the whole festival or just a few weeks, it's easy to feel like you need to be 'all systems go' 24/7. But remember that your Fringe run is likely part of a wider show journey and that being exhausted during and after the Fringe isn't going to be good for you - or your show! A measured approach incorporating strategic resting is key to ensure you make the most of the Edinburgh Fringe experience. Please don't ever sacrifice your mental or physical health for the sake of a Fringe show.


As well as taking care of yourself, if you're a lead member of the team, you'll need to make sure everyone's looking after themselves emotionally and physically. The world won't fall apart if you take time off from flyering to have a nap, if you leave a networking event because you could do with a night-in, or if you spend Saturday with the team climbing Arthur's Seat.


Remember your priorities


It's easy to get caught up in the chaos of the Fringe and try to do everything - but remember the priorities for your show before arriving in Edinburgh! Bear these priorities in mind during your time in Edinburgh and regularly check in with yourself to see if you're working towards them effectively.


Many venues will line up some of their next year's programme from going to the Edinburgh Fringe. If you hope to secure a future venue for your show, a big lesson I learned is to contact venues before and during the festival. It can still work by contacting venues after the Fringe - something I did with The Quentin Dentin Show - but give yourself the best chance by reaching out to venues as early as possible.


Grab those opportunities


Having said all this, be open to any opportunities that may come your way. The unexpected can and does happen. Weigh up any new opportunity with your set priorities, your time, and your mental health and seize them if you have the capacity.


"Opportunities" doesn't just have to mean high profile networking with reviewers and producers. Valuable opportunities can involve all sorts of more accessible activities, such as:

  • Making the most of people coming to see your show by asking them to join your newsletter and follow your social media

  • Filming audience members' reactions after the show (vox pops) to give you new content for social media and emails to press contacts

  • Checking out other shows and making notes on what worked well - and what didn't - to help develop your own creative practise or marketing strategies


Support other creatives


Though your team and your show are your priority, heading to the Fringe means that you'll be spending the summer surrounded by thousands of other creatives! Every day is a chance to make friends with like-minded people and learn from them so make an effort to get to know the people around you. Whether it's the crew staying in the flat across the hall, the writer you pass every morning flyering for their show, the buskers in the parks, or the producers holed up in the corner of the venue on their laptops - say hello! Ask them about their work and go along and support if you can. Even if their work is completely different to the type you're typically interested in, keep an open mind as creative friendships can be a godsend - both at the Fringe and beyond.

A black and white image of a performer on stage at the Edinburgh Fringe pulling a dramatic face.
Photo credit: Joey Kiney Whitmore

Have a look at the festival directory and see what shows are running this year. If there's a work that seems to have the same target audience to yours or similar themes, take the opportunity to offer to do some mutual-benefit flyering for one another's shows as audiences leave after performances. If you come across shows at Edinburgh from the same region as you or with similar social messages, why not drop the team an email to say hi?


Social media


While I'd recommend limited time on social media for anyone's mental health, it's one of the easiest ways to spread the word about your creative projects. You should have an account on each relevant platform for your show, make sure you've done your research on the platforms your target audience is likely to be on. For example, it might be that a Facebook page isn't going to reach much of your target audience and that a TikTok channel is a better way to spend your time because the demographic of the show skews young.


As well as encouraging people you around know to follow you and your show on social media, make sure to connect with any new Fringe contacts on social media. This can be a low-effort way to keep relationships going, especially if you can't meet them in person often. A like or a share is also a free and simple way for you to support their creative projects. Hopefully, they'll do the same for you!


In my experience, having a smaller number of engaged social media followers who are interested in your projects is much more valuable than lots of followers who don't interact much or care about your work.


I'm looking forward to hearing about your projects at Edinburgh - tag me on my socials to let me know what you're working on!


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