UCLU at the 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe
By Guest Blogger, on 9 September 2014
Edinburgh: the final comedy frontier. Ever since I’d heard about UCLU Comedy Club‘s yearly venture to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, I wanted to be a part of it. After a lot of hard work, perseverance and loitering around after sessions, I was invited to go as assistant director and cast member of the sketch comedy show Gower Rangers, produced and performed by sketch troupe the Gower Line.
Preparations start well before the Fringe, as scripts are written and edited, auditions are held, rehearsals take place and preview shows are performed in London. It’s during this time that camaraderie between us is formed, especially having endured many hot days in stuffy classrooms practising scenes!
I embarked upon my journey to Edinburgh on 30 July, enduring a long train journey from my seaside town in Cornwall. Edinburgh is a visual feast when it comes to architecture and landscapes, the first indicator being its grandiose station; a lovely combination of rustic buildings and minimalist modern structures.
However, we couldn’t spend too much time exploring and appreciating Edinburgh’s scenery and history as we needed to make sure that we had an audience for our shows. In Edinburgh, there’s only one way to do this and that’s by flyering.
The most popular spot for flyering is the Royal Mile, particularly the High Street by St Giles’ Cathedral. The weather would change in the blink of an eye, meaning that we often got soaked while still trying to convince passers-by to come to our show. This was made even more difficult by having to contend with thousands of other productions who were flyering in the same place!
As hellish as that may sound, going to the Edinburgh Fringe is still a fantastic opportunity, not only as a performer, but as an audience member too. One of the highlights of my experience was flicking through the guide and choosing the shows I wanted to see. Favourites included stand-ups Kate Smurfwaite and Keiron Hodgson, imrov troupe Racing Minds and a Game of Thrones musical – the diversity of acts at the Fringe means that there’s a show for everyone.
After a typical day of flyering, watching shows and rehearsing, we’d then perform our show in the evening. Audience numbers fluctuated each night but this isn’t an indicator of quality – often our best audiences were the ones that were small but laughed out loud more! No matter what the audience is like, big or small, kind or cruel, we came out of the whole experience as much better performers.
All in all, Edinburgh and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe is a wonderful experience like no other and I enjoyed myself immensely. Whether as a performer or a member of the audience, I’d highly recommend a visit.