Sent to all shows 7th July

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Sent to all shows 7th July

Postby PBH » 09 Jul 2014, 00:44

Dear Free Fringers

Less than a month to go now. We’ll be setting up on Friday 1st and starting Saturday 2nd.

If you’re not panicking slightly now, then congratulations. Most people are panicking. It’s perfectly normal at this stage. That’s the Fringe for you; always has been. Just make sure you don’t do anything silly as a result of your natural anxiety. It’ll all work out once you’ve started.

Don’t look over your shoulder at other people, either. You’ll see a lot of bullshit posted on social media about other people’s shows. And you may wonder why they’re getting that exposure and you’re not. But it is bullshit. It doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you do a good show and entertain the people in front of you. Everything else follows from that, as our long-standing members can tell you. You’re there for the public, not to get a review from some tuppenny-halfpenny website that only exists in August and nobody reads. Surviving the Fringe is about keeping a sense of proportion.

Here are some frequently-asked questions:

1. I’ve looked on your web site and everybody else’s show is there but mine isn’t. No, wrong. What’s on the site is last year’s listings, not this year’s. When this year’s listings are up, the site will look different. Why aren’t they up yet? Because the site is being redesigned and some of you have not sent in your blurbs and pictures; even a few have not yet accepted your offers.

2. You haven’t acknowledged receipt of my picture or blurb or both. We don’t. If you stop getting reminders, then we’ve received it. This work is done by a small number of excellent volunteers and they don’t have time to keep sending acknowledgements.

3. I don’t have the Free Fringe logo to put on my posters and fliers. It’s been sent several times, but I’m attaching it yet again.

4. My designer wants to put the logo in different colours for artistic reasons. Tell your designer to get stuffed. The logo must be in the original colours. This benefits your show by maintaining high brand recognition, built up over the 19 years of the Free Fringe and the 8 years we’ve been using that logo.

Now, we need some work done by people who are able to do it.

In Edinburgh, we need people to check and count equipment this week and next. Please make yourselves known to Margaret McKay, or to Frank Galbraith,

Also in Edinburgh, the week commencing 28th July, we’ll need luggers. People to take stuff from where it now is (mostly on the East of Edinburgh) to where it’s needed, in our venues. Some of this can happen on Friday 1st, but a lot of trouble will be saved if it’s done before. And some things, like the ‘what’s on at this venue’ posters, can go before 28th. Volunteers also to Margaret or Frank.

Offers of PA to lend should go to Stephen ‘Harv’ Harvey Quickly, please. We need to establish whether there’s a shortfall or not.

Anybody wanting to do extra shows in other shows’ days off please contact me, stating what times of day and any other constraints.

We may at short notice need help with checking printed programme and web listings; I don’t know yet. It would be good to have some names in case this is needed.

If anybody is a screen printer, please make yourself known to me immediately.

What’s going to happen on 1st August?

Friday 1st August is rigging day. That is when we make all venues ready for the shows starting on Saturday 2nd.

Some venues are easy and are already rigged by their owners/managers. Others are not and will need to be done by their performing teams in collaboration with owners/managers.

It is up to the team at each venue to do what’s necessary in collaboration with local management and each other. This should be co-ordinated by the Venue Captain in each venue.

Unless otherwise informed, you should turn up at your venue at 1pm on Friday 1st and meet the rest of your team and the management. Then rig the venue if it needs rigging, and solve any problems that may arise. By ‘solve’ I don’t mean ‘run to me with’; I mean take steps yourselves. We will ensure a PA is at all venues that need one. There may be a Free Fringe backdrop; if not, there will be a black-and-white Free Fringe logo that can be pinned onto black cloth to make a backdrop. That logo should be visible to the public at all reasonable times.

Anything else that’s missing you will have to source somehow. There shouldn’t be anything major, but if you need extension leads etc. club together and buy them.

If the lighting is inadequate, in most cases cheap shop-bought spots will be enough. We have never promised any of you professional lighting rigs (which do exist natively in a minority of our venues, but not the majority) and you should not expect that. This is the Fringe.

In most cases the venue will supply chairs. In a few cases we are supplying them. We don’t anticipate there will be any spares. If there is a major chair failure, then let someone know.

In almost all cases there will be no choice on the configuration of your venue, but in some cases there will be. When configuring ensure that there is clear and unobstructed access to all fire exits, and that no fire exit signs are obscured. Last year one company blacked out the fire exit sign in their venue, and the fire brigade closed the whole venue down for 24 hours as a result. Fire safety is very important. Whatever the Brigade says, goes.

You may put up posters at your venue only where the management says you can, so please ask before postering. Use Blu-Tak only. Do not use Selotape, especially not on painted surfaces. You can put up posters at other Free Fringe venues if you wish, but shows at that venue itself have priority. Expect to lose posters in the course of your run; the public often take them as souvenirs. Do not post over other shows’ posters, even those of your enemies. Do, however, remove non-Free Fringe posters from your venue unless it’s obvious they should stay. Do not allow non-Free Fringe free shows to flier in your venue, and dump their fliers from your venue if you see them.

You can never have too much gaffa tape. Bring a roll. And Edinburgh sells out of Blu-Tak in August, so bring some from home for your posters.

If your venue rigging is easy or already done, please report to the Canons’ Gait so you can be sent if necessary to help where help is needed.

On the evening of 1st August there will be a meeting for all Free Fringe shows, at the Liquid Rooms Annexe, at 8pm. That venue is just off Cowgate at the Grassmarket end.

Work as a team and all will be well. Let the team down and you let yourself down. Please ensure that the door duty is done exactly as specified in the ethos and conditions; 15 minutes before the previous show ends, to 15 minutes after the next show starts. (Unless, of course, the previous or next shows are blank slots; check the listings for your venue).

You must always offer the public the Wee Blue Book with each show flier you give out. This condition applies to everybody who is leafleting for your show, paid or unpaid. All your leafleters must be briefed on this and it must happen. The Wee Blue Book must be visible and offered. Persistent breakers of this rule will have their shows terminated. This is very important, indeed vital; it is one of the main things that make the Free Fringe what it is.

You should also join the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society Ltd so that you can vote for the Directors of your choice. In my opinion it is important to have a majority of performers as Directors, and to reconsider the issue of Fringe participation fees; are they vale for money? The Board sets them. You should all join and vote (it’s a Free Fringe condition) and anybody considering standing for the Board should contact Kate Smurthwaite, I am currently on the Board but am not standing for re-election due to old age and deteriorating health.

Even at times of maximum stress, be polite to staff at all our venues at all times. It just takes one outburst to lose us a venue. And they work hard under considerable pressure at the Fringe. The Fringe is a bugger for making people lose their sense of proportion. Don't lose yours. Much of the world lacks a supply of clean water. Girls, even in the UK, are having their vulvas mutilated for no good reason. The TTIP threatens to rob governments of the power to legislate for social justice. The bees are dying. There is unnecessary war in too many places. Footballers are paid more than a hundred times what nurses are paid. So, sense of proportion, please.

I haven’t said everything that needs to be said, but I’m going to stop here and let you consider everything. This can be the best Free Fringe yet, despite all the bullets we have had to dodge this year. We are unbowed, and we will be triumphant.



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