Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Sorry for the gap. I've been a bit swamped because I've started as writer-in-residence at Mulberry School this week. Although it's part-time, it's full-time this first week as I have to recruit a whole ton of kids into various after-school clubs I'm setting up.

One of the things they've asked me to do is to devise a new show through wokshops, script it, rehearse it, and take it to the Edinburgh festival this summer. I've never done this before, so I'm afraid this is rather a selfish blog entry to ask for your help. That's right - yours. It's the least you can do after your recent misbehaviour.

Does anyone have any insider's tips for Dos and Don'ts at the Edinburgh Festival? My brief is to take a group of perhaps 10 Bangladeshi girls aged between 14 and 18, for about a week, in a one-act show maybe 40 mins long.

Here's some of the questions I'm pondering:
  • What kinds of shows sell? I know that in Edinburgh you need a USP (often gimmicky) to stand out from the crowd, but I don't really do that kind of work. Would a more serious show about what it's like to be a Muslim teenager in east London get us anywhere, or should i just bite the bullet and do an all-singing all-dancing Bengali extravaganza?
  • Where's good to stay, especially for large groups of minors? (That's children, not coal.) It would have to be fairly near the centre.
  • Any tips on friendly supportive venues who'd help us with marketing etc? Again, nothing too far-out or low profile. What I don't want is a 9am slot on the outskirts of town and the whole experience to be thoroughly miserable for everyone.
  • Any other good contacts you have - friendly press people in particular.
  • A good reliable (cheap) firm for printing flyers and posters?
That's probably not everything, so don't feel restricted. All pearls of wisdom gratefully received.


thom said...

The USP thing is vastly overemphasised. Most shows flyer their asses off but don't do anything original. One original stunt can help your cause massively.

Best of all, get some local press attention. This works if you have a story about how you integrating (or not) with Edinburgh as a real place. When we did west side story in '99, it was a godsend that we got stuff burglarised from the dressing room. We sold out the 200 seats in the second week.

Venues... I would definitely look outside the big four. If you can get a good deal at the Underbelly though, and they like you, they might help a fair bit. Their drama output is slightly anaemic, so if you have something strong, then you're sorted.

Try the Bedlam Theatre. Very central and very friendly.

Brace said...

What about an all dancing all singing Bengali extravaganza about what it's like to be a Muslim teenager in London?

claire said...

Maybe you've found a venue by now. But the Quaker Meeting House is great, both in terms of location and friendly supportiveness. And they're not hideously expensive. Having said this, their booking deadline was 22 January.

St Augustines on George IV Bridge is also good. Very central, not too expensive, get reasonable audiences. Don't know about their timescales.

Good luck with it though. Sounds like an interesting project.