Edinburgh festival tips from West End producer and agent Jimmy Jewell
Edinburgh Fringe Festival is just around the corner, running in the Scottish capital from August 3-27, showcasing the best in theatre, stand-up comedy, circus, cabaret, musicals and other performing arts. Here seasoned West End producer, agent and Edinburgh Festival veteran Jimmy Jewell talks us through the best way to approach and do a month of shows in the city.
Jimmy, for somebody who’s just come out of university or just wants to go and do the Edinburgh Fringe Festival are there any tips you can give them?
It depends what you’re going for. I had this chat with one of our agency clients yesterday. It doesn’t matter what you're going for as long as you know what you’re going for. If you’re going up there to have a really good time and to enjoy yourself, then go up there, have a really good time and enjoy yourself. You’ll have a blast. You’ll do things you’ve never done before in your life and you never thought possible. I tried to describe it to someone who hadn’t been before and I asked if they had been to Glastonbury. They said yes, and I replied "Right, imagine Glastonbury for a whole month."
You can either go and do that, and spend September getting over it and know you’ve had a good time, or you can make it about your career.
There is nowhere like Edinburgh as an actor, or a creator or a writer, to get yourself noticed, but you’ve got to put the work in. I remember someone, last year, contacted me halfway through the festival and asked for help. They had an amazing show, but no one was going to see it and they weren’t getting the journalists in. I said "Well, what have you done?" They said "What do you mean what have I done? I’ve come up and I’ve put my brilliant show on. I put it in the brochure." That’s no good, you’ve got to work. You’ve got to get people in. You’ve got to sell your show.
If you’re up there, Edinburgh can be the most useful tool to an actor or a creator, or a producer but you’ve got to make it work for you. It’s not just going to work for you. If you don’t put the work in, and the graft in, then it won’t. I’ve been up in my 20s as a performer, had a ball, was out till five o’clock every morning and had a blast. I came back and spent the whole of September in bed.
Now, we’ve got three shows a day. My team and I are back in our house at eight or nine o’clock most nights. If you do that, you can then go and do the festival properly once or twice a week and have fun, and then you’ll still be alive by the end of it and you’ll still have a business. I guess it depends on whether you’re going up there for business or pleasure. That’s it. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing it for, just as long as your expectations are realistic about what you’re going to come out with at the end of it.
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