At Creative Edinburgh, we work hard to advocate for local creative individuals and businesses across sectors. A rich and diverse community is what places Edinburgh on the map creatively and culturally and we at Creative Edinburgh want to be part of ensuring that people see Edinburgh as a place to flourish in all year round, not just in August.
When we were invited by Fest Magazine to be a part of their 2019 Launch Party Line Up, we saw a window of opportunity to show how Edinburgh’s creative, festive spirit lives on throughout the year.
Bringing our regular lightning talk event Talking Heads to a new audience, we asked 5 speakers, to take to the stage and share their behind-the-scenes tales from the Fringe. We wanted to know about the highs and lows, the sustainability - in every sense - of such a large scale festival and the creative work done outside of August that deserves an equal amount of shine.
Here’s a round-up of the amazing work done by our speakers…
The evening kicked off with Annie Marrs, co-owner of Sweet Venues, who this year celebrate their tenth anniversary at the Fringe. Pointing out the immense pressures on performers and staff, financially and emotionally, she challenged us to consider how we can maintain the current pace and scale of the Fringe long term while ensuring its sustainability. There wasn’t a doubt in the room though that through the spirit and energy of festival folk, Fringe will ensure sustainability while continuing to evolve. Tweet @sweetvenues
Comedy producer and owner of Punchline Comedy Rosalind Romer has had a rich career in comedy nationwide. She gave us an insight into what it takes to find the next best comedy performer: a unique combination of trends, knowledge and gut instinct. While crowds may flood in for August, festivals thrive throughout Edinburgh year round. Rosalind’s next project Leith Comedy Festival proves that, and will ensure the continual boost to one of the city’s most active creative communities. Tweet @PunchlineUK and @LeithComedyFest
A nominee for 2018’s Creative Edinburgh City Award, Pianodrome are a prime example of how sustainability can be approached from every angle and how vital creativity is to achieving it. Challenging our throwaway culture, Pianodrome designed an amphitheatre that broke down and reused parts of 50 pianos for Fringe 2018. Pianodrome’s Matt Wright shared the journey from scrapyard to Fringe. This year, they’re back with an array of acts taking to the ampitheatre in a new location with ‘the biggest small venue in town’, proving that creativity is as vital off stage as on. Tweet @PianodromeLive
We see the press shots, get the leaflets, tag, post and retweet the reviews, but behind all that is a person herding photographers together, setting up the perfect shot and standing in when need be. Joy Parkinson, Press and Communications Officer at Scottish Ballet, has done her fair share of festival PR, working at venues such as Summerhall and Traverse Theatre and for Edinburgh International Festival. At the heart of Joy’s talk was the dedicated people that make the Fringe what it is, the team alongside her, the performers and the fellow industry professionals keeping things running year round. Tweet @joy_parkinson
Our final speaker was Mara Menzies, Performance Storyteller, whose current show Blood and Gold offers a contemporary exploration of the legacy of colonialism and storytelling. Once more, the people lay at the heart of what Mara does: her family, her work family, the audience members reacting and those from history whose stories she portrays. Having recently received Made in Scotland funding, Mara highlighted the importance of those opportunities for performers to produce work and in turn represent themselves and their country, be that Scotland or elsewhere, on an international scale. Tweet @marastoryteller
Thanks to all of our speakers for joining us and sharing their Fringe stories. Thanks also to Fest Magazine, the biggest free guide to the Fringe and Festivals, for inviting us to be part of their launch. You can pick up upcoming issues all across Edinburgh throughout August.
All photography credit to Kat Gollock. Written by Katherine Warren.