the road to edinburgh: Camden Fringe
Updated: Apr 13, 2022
I would really recommend workshopping your show. Looking back, this is what I did – even if it wasn’t intentional at the time. I am currently working on my second play and I get so impatient and frustrated sometimes. I just want it to be done: finished, up, being performed. But it doesn’t work like that. Or at least it doesn’t for me. It takes a few goes to tell the story that I actually want to tell and the only way I figure that out is by trying.
In 2018, I applied to the Camden Fringe. I had not the foggiest idea what I was doing. I performed at the venue Upstairs at the Gatehouse. I didn’t know much about London venues at the time.
LEARNING POINT ONE: Research thy venues.
This is a wonderful space. I love it and I love being in Highgate as well. However, they do musicals. “Was a show a musical, Steph?” I hear you ask. No. No, it was not. It’s Beautiful, Over There is a one woman show about grief and the importance of storytelling. “Huh” I hear you say. You would be right. This was not the right venue for me. I didn’t do my research properly. I was offered another spot at the Hen and Chickens which would’ve been much more suitable. Find out what the venues usually put on, go and see some of their shows (if you can), research their previous seasons.
However, all was not lost. That summer, I got a director on board and we worked through the show. This is the first time that I would pull it apart and put it back together. We figured out key themes and important props (I will explain the cranes at some point). Most importantly, I put this show up in front of an audience. I got a real reaction. I was able to see what worked and – more importantly – what didn’t. Which was a lot. A lot of things did not work.
LEARNING POINT TWO: Mess up. Put on a bad play.
I am not saying it was bad per se. It just wasn’t the story that I ultimately wanted to tell. That would come later. Going to the Camden Fringe allowed me to experiment, meet people, put something up on its feet. It was invaluable.
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