Author: Mark Fisher



Press area

Press coverage


Site map



The city and its festivals

The Fringe Office

The timing

The motivation

The show

The venue

The accommodation

The law

The marketing campaign

The media campaign

The awards

The show must go on

The next step

The money

The interviewees

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Every single page of this book
is enhanced by Mark Fisher’s lifelong
enthusiasm for, and commitment to,
the Edinburgh Festival Fringe
– the greatest arts festival in the world

Kath M Mainland

Chief Executive
Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society



The venue

Enter stage right

THIS IS the chapter of The Edinburgh Fringe Survival Guide that introduces the oddball collection of university halls, classrooms, Masonic lodges and back rooms in pubs that Edinburgh offers to anyone wanting to perform.

It gives tips about location, financial deals, technical facilities, time slots and reputation, as well as a section about running your own venue. As usual, it is full of opinions by experienced Fringe hands.

As a special website bonus, here is a section about trying to be environmentally friendly on the Fringe. Unfortunately, there wasn't enough space to include it in the published edition – there was too much other good stuff.

If you have comments about this chapter of The Edinburgh Fringe Survival Guide, please follow this link to the Venue comments page of the blog and add them there.

Going green

AS WE all become more environmentally conscious, there is pressure on Fringe companies and venues to behave in as green a way as possible. To an extent, arts companies have always done this: when money is tight, there is no choice but to recycle. All the same, a city cannot double in population without some rise in carbon emissions. The more everyone can do to minimise the impact of the festivals, the better for the planet. If you feel strongly about this issue, you should ask venues about their environmental policies, as well as minimising your own waste.

In 2010, a handful of Fringe venues signed up for a pilot scheme, agreeing to monitor their energy, waste, water and staff travel. The following year, many more venues got involved, all working to get an Industry Green certificate, a standard established by Julie's Bicycle, a coalition of environmentally minded music, theatre and scientific experts. "You are going to save money," says Amy Saunders, special projects manager at Festivals Edinburgh, an umbrella body for the city's dozen major festivals. She points to the economies organisations have made by switching to energy-efficient light bulbs and using email instead of printed materials. "One of the festivals saved £9000 by changing the lights in its retail store. Another festival realised that by emailing everything instead of posting, they saved enough money for a part-time job. So there are really good incentives."

Nick Read, head of hire and events at Northern Light, worked closely with C Venues on an initiative to reduce the energy consumption of performance lighting at C Aquila in the Roman Eagle Lodge on Johnston Terrace. The space was dependent on a 63-amp single-phase electricity supply – the equivalent of what you'd find in a house – to run two theatres with air conditioning, plus the bar and café. Introducing the latest LED lighting not only cut the power consumption by about 40%, but also had practical advantages. Traditional tungsten-source lights give off a lot of heat which, in a small theatre, necessitates the use of power-hungry air conditioners. This is not the case with LED lights, which means audiences are more comfortable and your electricity bill is lower.

An additional advantage of LEDs – one that pays dividends on the Fringe – is they can change colour at the push of a button without having to go to the trouble of using gels. That is a boon during the performance itself and also during the tight turn-around between shows. "You're also less likely to miss changing a colour because if it's programmed into the lighting desk, it's going to happen when you press that button," says Read. "It worked very well at C Venues. It means the lighting desks get more complicated and you have to learn how to programme it, but the technicians were very happy because there was less to do at scene changes which meant they weren't so exhausted."

The technology itself is currently more expensive than conventional lighting, but it is an investment that can pay off. "It means C Venues can say, 'OK, we pay slightly more for the LED equipment but it gives us more versatility, which means we'll probably be more likely to fill our spaces because companies will have more creative control," says Read. "We'll also use less electricity, so perhaps we can be a little bit cheaper or spend more on marketing.'"

The Fringe Society encourages participants to make green choices by highlighting environmentally friendly suppliers. When deciding about flyers, for example, it suggests you select recycled paper and consider making one side for your show and the other side for another company's show. If you are driving to Edinburgh, you might also consider a car share. During your stay in Edinburgh, you should try to avoid eating and drinking from disposable boxes and cups, especially if they are non-biodegradable and, at the end, if you need to throw away any of your set or props, you should used a skip destined for recycling and not landfill. See www.edinburgh.gov.uk for details of community recycling centres in the city.

"It's looking beyond just your production, but as a visitor to Edinburgh," says Saunders. "Think about your behaviour while you're here, not just in the show you're putting on, but also where you're eating and what you're drinking and where you're leaving your rubbish."

If you have comments about this chapter of The Edinburgh Fringe Survival Guide, please follow this link to the Venue comments page of the blog and add them there.


See blog: edinburghfringesurvivalguide.blogspot.com