Rachel Barber

Rachel Barber


Welcome to our fourth and final part of our Edinburgh debrief series!

As our first ever special edition Time of the Month: An Edinburgh Debrief drew to a close we found ourselves discussing when is the right time to start performing at the Edinburgh Fringe and how to cope when you get there.

The greatest advice Pauline Eyre said she ever received was that you’re ready a year after you actually think you’re ready.

Of course, every comic has a different trajectory and whether you take that advice on board, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be coming to perform at Edinburgh in other capacities, in preparation for that all – important one hour show.

Harriet told us this year, the year after her debut one hour show was far more ‘stealthy’! Read Part Two of this series to find out why Harriet decided to do a work in progress show this year. She did a shorter show, picked up spots in compilation shows and took part in the Free Fringe… all within one week.

There are so many routes to explore when it comes to performing at Edinburgh:

  • Go for a few days and do spots
  • Sign up to compilation shows
  • Get a job at the Fringe: flyer or be someone’s tech
  • Consider going for research: take notes on venues and styles

There was an overall agreement that by exploring some of the above options (and others, I’m sure) you can have yourself a gradual ramp up to your one hour show, over a few years. It’s really important to gain as much experience as you possibly can, as spending a month at Edinburgh doing your show will take its toll.

So, moving on to the ups and downs of Edinburgh – while the Fringe comes with some brilliant highs, it’s important to recognise that it will inevitably be a challenge. Your heart and soul goes into your material and you will undoubtedly feel that pressure. Along with a relatively unhealthy lifestyle, fatigue and the competitive element, it’s rare to not feel the ups and downs of the Fringe.

What advice did our panellists give?

  • Depending on your resilience levels, consider not reading your reviews
  • Make sure to use your support network
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help
  • Look after yourself – whatever that means for you, personally
  • Get in the right mental space: tenacity, diligence and professionalism is key

Finally, in the words of Sindhu Vee – our special guest at Showtime that evening – No matter what your experience is each year, you WILL leave Edinburgh a better comic.


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