I've 'done' the Edinburgh fringe twice before, in two consecutive years; with Red Shift's Les Miserables (see the picture above) and Trestle's Beggars Belief. We are talking YEARS ago....and I can't remember in which order, let alone which years they were. But an idea of time scale is how I remember vividly that at the last night party of the Red Shift run I was dancing the night away with Graeme Rose when suddenly the DJ stopped the music to announce that Lady Di had been in a car crash. There was only one topic of conversation on the train journey home the following day.
And why has Vamos never done Edinburgh before? I blame Jonathan Holloway!
Twenty years later, I'm still affected by Jonathan Holloway, founder and Artistic Director of the brilliant Red Shift and his marketing team, and how they were constantly stressed to the eye balls about audience figures - now I understand why. Playing in Edinburgh is a huge financial risk. Geoff, our accountant kindly pointed out that we have to sell 75% of all our seats, every show, just to break even.
So why are we doing it then, I hear you cry? We have no problem getting good tour bookings - far from it. We have played our latest show The Best Thing to 60 venues nationwide, sold out at 15 gigs, our audience figures have been our highest to date. We have such loyal supporters, and yet we struggle to get national press coverage, international touring has a long way to go and finding a London venue to play is tricky, tricky, tricky. My hope is that playing in Edinburgh will put us on the map nationally and perhaps internationally... I guess we are doing it for wider recognition.
I took the choice to just play two weeks of the 2016 festival, rather than all of it, to try to halve the costs. However, what this also does is halve the earning capacity. We can buy extra marketing - six foot banners, brochure space - we can flyer and poster paste until we are blue in the face. But word of mouth is our best friend and it always will be – so we are looking to our friends and supporters. Spreading the word will have more impact than a thousand leaflets given out on the Royal Mile; people are always far more likely to see a show when it has been personally recommended, simple as that: enthusiasm is infectious and it spreads.
So if you can help us spread the word, it will make the biggest difference: if you use social media, help us by sharing, retweeting, and posting - and, better still, tell your friends and family face to face about Finding Joy in Edinburgh. If you are up at the festival this year, then please pop in to the Rainy Hall and say hello - we shall all be very glad to see you; especially me, though I may be a bit hot and sweaty from being behind the mask of Joy (just to add a tad more stress to the Edinburgh equation!).
All the show dates and booking details are available on our show page