In August 2016 we offered two young people who had never experienced the Edinburgh Fringe a paid opportunity to join our producing team at the festival, as part of our new Fringe Firsts scheme.
We catch up with Dee who shares the highlights of her trip and what she learnt as part of the experience.
How did you prepare for your trip to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe?
The staff at Battersea Arts Centre organised sessions for me and Audain to come into the office and organise our timetables before we left to ensure that we had a clear idea of what shows we wanted to go and see. Bethany, a producer and our mentor, gave us both Edinburgh Fringe programmes for our own personal use so we could familiarize ourselves with the city before we arrived. A lot of the staff who had already visited the fringe gave us really interesting show recommendations for us to research and tips and advice.
How would you describe the Fringe to someone who has never been?
The Edinburgh Fringe is a yearly event which celebrates artists from all over the world and unites them together under one hub. Work is welcomed from a range of different backgrounds and disciplines, so it’s pretty much impossible to get bored as there is always something happening and something for everyone.
What surprised you about your visit?
There were so many shows to choose from at the fringe, it was mind-blowing. I was really astonished at how so many artists at the fringe really put their heart on the line and made the brave decision to showcase their work, a lot of which was controversial, unique, thought provoking and innovative.
What were your highlights from your time at the Fringe?
Tongue Fu was definitely the best spoken word night that I experienced whilst at the Edinburgh Fringe. Chris Redmond is an absolute genius for creating Tongue Fu- where guest poets come on stage and perform alongside an improvised house band. It’s very unique in its approach and there is no other poetry night quite like it.
Amy Leon, a guest singer/poet from Brooklyn New York, is undoubtedly one of the most talented souls I have crossed paths with in a long-time. She had an incredible voice and a captivating stage presence, her style reminds me of an old school jazz poet.
What do you think you have learned from your experience?
I learnt a lot in regards to audience engagement, performance and what works and what doesn’t work at the fringe, simply from watching and observing the performers in their space and talking with people in the queues and in the audience.
I managed to speak to some of the performers directly after their shows, using this as a window of opportunity to ask them about their thought processes and creating and bringing their ideas to life, some of which I hope to apply to my own personal knowledge in order to enhance my practice.
I was really inspired and moved by some of the performers and writers at the Fringe and it made me think, that when the time is right I will possibly bring some of my own work up to the Fringe one day.
I had a fantastic time at Edinburgh Fringe and feel that the experience has definitely contributed to my development as an artist. I feel that my writing skills and my confidence have also improved and I am very lucky to have made some amazing new connections. I also feel that my time with the producing team has made me better at voicing my opinion in a group of people and really analysing what it is that I am trying to say.
> You can read more about why we initiated the Fringe Firsts scheme from David Jubb’s blog ‘Opening Up the Edinburgh Fringe Experience for Everyone’.
> To find out more information about the scheme or to register your interest in supporting a young person to attend Edinburgh 2017 email firstname.lastname@example.org