Some of our troupe have just returned from a long break in Edinburgh, they’ve been scouring the streets for talent (as well as performing the odd piece of street theatre). Be Happy have played at the Fringe many times and we know it can be a bewildering experience, even if you’re an experienced Festival player.
With that in mind, we’ve compiled a few tips and tricks to help you make your Fringe as smooth an experience as possible.
Organise Your Transport In Advance
Edinburgh isn’t the worst place in the world to get to (a clifftop theatre in Cornwall springs to mind!) but you will still need to organise your transport well in advance before you make the trip up. Whether its planes, train or automobiles – the city gets absolutely rammed during the festival and you’ll need a solid entrance and exit plan if you don’t want to end up trapped in traffic.
The road systems have a reputation for being a little tricksy, but thanks to the Google Gods, we all have GPS systems to get us out of any real binds. Make sure you have a passenger in the co-pilot position so you don’t get distracted by your phone – the last thing you want to be doing is dishing out your ticket earnings on covering the rental car deposit!
Most importantly, if you’re parking at the airport , do yourself a favour and book a parking space. Don’t get done over by dodgy dealers, Airport Parking Market compares all the options and covers security so you can find the best one for you.
Invest In Advertisement
On to the practicalities of the festival itself – it is so important to promote your show. There’s nothing worse than spending weeks and months rehearsing your show only to face an empty room. Don’t waste your time and money, get out there and find some audience members!
It can be as simple as printing off some flyers at home. If you’re on a budget, find a friend who’s a dab hand at graphic design and get them to knock off something eye-catching.
There are dozens of performers on the streets every years vying for attention, so its crucial that you’re flyer will keep the punters interested enough to check out your show. Try getting dressed up in your costumes or even performing little excerpts of your show to entice people into grabbing a flyer.
Don’t be afraid to get into their faces either, part of the fun of the Fringe is that you can indulge in being a little outrageous – in fact the more adventurous you get with your marketing strategy, the more interested faces you’ll see with bums in seats come curtain call.
Prepare For Some Heckling
Now you’ve got a packed house, you will most definitely be at risk of some heckling. During the Fringe people drink alot. Scottish stereotypes aside, the city is always full of tourists who have indulged in a few day time drinks.
If your show’s particularly avant-garde or happens to indulge in any long dramatic pauses, you may find your performance interrupted by an audience member who fancies a piece of the lime-light themselves.
At the Fringe, people tend to see the whole event as one big stand-up show – its up to you to figure out how to deal with them!
If you’re in the middle of performing a serious piece that has the rest of the audience intrigued, the best option is to simply ignore the offending person. The crowd will most likely take your side by either doing the same or even shushing the heckler. However, if you’re performing some comedy then embrace the intrusion and think on your feet.
There’s nothing more exciting for a crowd than a show teetering on the brink, it creates tension and, if you handle the heckler well, you’ll be well received by the end.
This is the most important piece of advice we can give you. At Be Happy we believe that the act of performance should actively empower both the players and the audience. You’ve spent hundreds of hours rehearsing, so have confidence in your work and enjoy the act of performing!
Once the lights are up and your costume’s on, there’s little to distinguish a Fringe show from any other, so go out there and treat it like any other show. The reason why we perform is because we love to do it, let that passion shine and you’re sure to be a smash hit!