In August 2022 we took our one act play, An Evil Thing, to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The Progressive Players have never taken a performance to the Festival before, in its entire 102 year history. It has been such a privilege to lead the team on this journey.
Our venue in Edinburgh was the wonderful Paradise in Augustines. It is run by volunteers, part of the Paradise Green team. They are there to set up the venue, keep it running safely, support us technically and with elements of marketing. They were excellent hosts! James was a wonderful technical support for our ‘Fit-up’ – he was so calm and complimentary about what we were able to achieve with our lighting and sound. Marian supported us with sound in Edinburgh. Isla and her team were also brilliant when it came to promotional matters and tickets sales. They made our experience so much easier.
As previously mentioned, the team would ‘flyer’ the streets of Edinburgh. If you’ve been to the festival before then you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about, but I think we underestimated how tough this was, mentally and physically. Each day, we had a good size audience, and it was reassuring to see our flyering attempts – in the rain, directly competing with other shows – were paying off in ticket sales!
Every performance had excellent audience reviews, and this really did seem like the perfect way to say goodbye to our production (having already also performed it in July at Little Theatre Gateshead). Some reviews can be found below, along with some images of our time at the Fringe and from our show. The script has even caught the attention of the Joint Chief Executive of Live Theatre, Jacqui Kell.
Our performance was at 1.10pm each day; it was perfect. We would flyer in the morning, put our set and props in place, do our show, take everything down again, and then we explored the many different shows that the Fringe had to offer. Choosing was tough, with over 3000 shows at this year’s festival. Our favourites include Rob Madge: My Son’s a Queer But What Can You Do?, Showstopper! and Queen of Fishtown.
Overall, we had a wonderful experience at the Fringe. If you love theatre, and don’t mind a bit of hustle and bustle, then we whole heartedly recommend you pay a visit. And if you’ve ever been tempted to take your own show – be warned, the paperwork to apply is a bit exhausting! – ask Elaine!!
I truly hope that this is the first of many visits by the Progressive Players to the Edinburgh Fringe. What a great opportunity for many of us who love theatre and performance, to perform to an international audience.
Jenny Race, director of An Evil Thing.