Kate Saffin talks to Milla Jackson about why you should consider employing professional PR for your fringe show

October 10, 2015

Milla Jackson is an experienced producer, director and freelance PR. She has been representing shows at Edinburgh for three years – mostly comedy but in 2015 took on her first solo theatre show. She explores why you should consider employing a professional PR for your show, how they can help you and your show and how to choose. Above all she emphasises getting your PR in place EARLY!

Listen to our interview with Milla Jackson


Kate Saffin talks to Daniel Cainer about his experience of bringing solo shows to Edfringe

August 30, 2015

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Daniel shares some of his thoughts and experiences (and suggestions) of bringing solo shows to a number of different venues over ten years. Lots of useful tips for anyone thinking of following in his footsteps.

Listen to our interview with Daniel Cainer


Kate Saffin talks to Shelley Mitchell about her first experience of Edinburgh with her solo show ‘Talking with Angels: Budapest 1943’

August 29, 2015

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Shelley Mitchell shares her experiences of bringing a solo show to Edinburgh for the first time.

Her show, ‘Talking with Angels Budapest 1943’ is a true story about four close-knit artists who, notwithstanding the upheaval of war, made detailed notes of their conversations with other worldly entities. Gitta Mallasz, the sole survivor of the group, saved the transcripts they made and in 1976 published them as ‘Dialogues avec l’ange’

Listen to our interview with Shelley Mitchell


Kate Saffin talks to Kate Lennon about Funny Women

August 23, 2015

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Kate Saffin talks to Kate Lennon, producer, with Funny Women about her background as a stand up comic and the ways that Funny Women support women to ‘Write, perform and do business with humour’. Funny Women was founded by Lynne Parker in 2002 to help women find their voice through performing, writing and using humour in business and everyday life. They run comedy workshops, weekend events and conferences in London, Manchester, Brighton and Edinburgh on stand up, comedy writing, improvisation, sketch and character, and ‘Time of the Month’ a scratch night to try out new comedy ideas.

Listen to our interview with Kate Lennon


Paul Levy talks to Mickey Wynne

May 24, 2015

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Mickey Wynne is a musician who has played gigs and been in the studio with the best of them. His own new album, Running on Empty, may well feature in an impromptu gig outside the Brighton Spiegeltent Bosco on Sunday 24th May 2015 at 5pm. Paul Levy chatted to Mickey about his music and the importance of the Jubilee Line.

Listen to our interview with Mickey Wynne


FringeReview Hidden Gem Venue in May – The Cabin

May 27, 2013

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The Cabin
Address: Brighton Steiner School, Roedean Road, BN2 5RA (Map here.) (Take Bus 7 to Roedean Road or Bus 1 to Whitehawk Road)

The Cabin has to be the hidden gem of a venue and programme at Brighton Fringe 2013.

All of their events are bookable and part of The Brighton Five Pound Fringe. And there’s still plenty on offer so do go along, or get booking!

Interview: Here FringeReview talks to the literal makers of this venue – musicians Matt Hodgson and Jack Cryer. (Listen to her music here). We caught up with these Cabin movers and shakers at this unique venue…

THE PROGRAMME (click on a show title to book or just go along on the day)

Playing at The Cabin…

TUESDAY

Artist in a Sauna

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Brash Brackenfield and guests
28/05/2013 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Take one freedom-minded multi- media artist, put him in a hot sauna, turn up the heat, let in the audience in and cue the action!

With joy, vibes and diatribes Brash Brackenfield will entertain and enlighten you. £4

WEDNESDAY

Puppetry for children and the young at heart…

Mashenka and the Bear

Date(s) – 29/05/2013
2:30 pm – 3:00 pm and 3.30pm

Honeysuckle Puppet Co. (aka Nicky Goodland & Jack Cryer) presents
Mashenka and the Bear
A Russian folk tale in which a young girl is taken by a bear but triumphs over him with trickery,
showing that sometimes a big creature can be scared of a small one.
Suitable for children aged 3 – 7.
£3 for all creatures, great and small.

Pulp Diction

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Bob Cryer & guests
Date(s) – 29/05/2013
8:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Four writer/performers look between the panels to give voice to comic book characters we all thought we knew.
An hour of bam! & pow! spoken wordbubble monologue for fanboys and girls of all ages. £4

FringeReview’s Paul Levy says: “I witnessed Bob’s work at a previous Cabin – top drawer spoken word”

THURSDAY

Nadia Strahan

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Date(s) – 30/05/2013
8:00 pm – 10:00 pm
A charismatic, exciting and soulful singer – incomparable. A rare solo treat! £4

FringeReview says: “Nadia sings from the heart of the heart, and we thoroughly recommend her.”

FRIDAY

The Cabin Jam

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Allen, Cryer, Hodgson and guests
Date(s) – 31/05/2013
8:00 pm – 10:00 pm

The Cabin Crew invite you to bring your instruments and/or voices and have a good ole jam.Some music and lyrics will be provided and the floor is open for your suggestions! Mark Allen, Jack Cryer and Matt Hodgson will be playing the second set. £4

FringeReview says: “We’ve attended these unique evenings before and they have to be one of the most intimate and musically impressive events along the South Coast.”

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“This has to be one of the most life-affirming, chilled out,cake-gorgeous venues I have been to.” 

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Some Cabin Resources…

The music of Jack Cryer

Jack Cryer sings Floor

Brash Bracknefield on Youtube here. And here.

Bob Cryer’s web site.

 

 

More to come.


Tips for Selling Your Show at the Brighton Fringe

March 28, 2013

Fringe Festivals have a glorious insanity about them. In Edinburgh there are literally thousands of shows, all crammed into one city in one week. In Brighton there are over 600 with a potential audience a lot smaller than the tens of thousands who flock into Edinburgh in August.

In Edinburgh there are a minority of people who live in the city year round who won’t be aware of the Festival and the Fringe taking place each August. In Brighton, there really are quite a large number of indigenous folk for whom the Brighton Fringe doesn’t exist.

So, in Brighton, don’t expect immediate familiarity when you flier in Brighton. Even during Fringe City – the regular weekend showcase, flier-fests on New Road in Brighton – you’ll find bemused people who just happen to be walking along New Road, wondering what the hell is going on.

What you will need to do is put your show on the map. For this reason: you see, the theatre audience in Brighton year round isn’t that big. The comedy and music audience is much bigger. There isn’t enough theatre audience to go round. You’ll have to reach wider. You’ll have to attract people to your show who aren’t only part of that core of theatregoing audience throughout the year. There are quite a few people who delve into theatre during May and book quite a lot of shows, a bit like in Edinburgh. But mostly, you’ll need to fill those back rows with new audience. And here are a few tips on how to do it…

1. Publicise near and around your venue. Brighton is a very residential city and many venues have local populations around them who will be happy to come if it doesn’t involve more than stepping outside their door. Ask local cafes if you can put posters around and get chatting to people in your locality. Legally, you can’t just flier wherever you want to, but there are ways of including your venue’s locality – social media, local cafes and restaurants and shops, and going out in costume. And of course, use social media – identify any local community pages and tweet with a hashtag for the locality e.g. hashtag Hove

2. Use your networks outside of the city. Brighton is a great city for a day trip and less than an hour from London, 15 mins by train from Lewes. Ensure you let people know who might come as a one off

3. Use all of the free listings magazines and web sites for features. Just google Brighton and What’s On or Listings and you will find them. Get in before their deadlines and send them good images, offers, competitions and feature material

4. Ensure your venue is doing a good publicity job on your behalf. Don’t assume it is. many smaller venues may not be doing anything at all, and a lot of pubs or cafe venues might only have listed you on their web site and nothing more. But many regularly send listings to magazines and web sites and do their own Tweeting and Facebooking. Ensure you know who is doing that and put your show on their radar. Many cafes and pubs have their own year round audience, so spend some social time in the venues and sensitively flier and let people know about your show. Consider special ticket deals for venue “regulars”.

5. Brighton is a very media-savvy city, so if your show has anything quirky or interesting in using media – multimedia, film, animations, music etc – don’t just aim your publicity at theatregoers- taps into social media sites and communities that might be drawn to see your show for its media content, not just the performance element

6. People love new writing, premieres and things experimental and different – ensure you play those thing up clearly and enthusiastically in your PR. But equally, don’t make it look gimicky and flakey

7. Use Fringe City to full advantage. Try to get a slow demo-ing part of your show, ensure you get registered to flyer and have decent flyers with maps of how to get to your venue designed onto them. If your venue is unknown, a map is crucial. If your venue is a bit out of the way, offer info about buses and trains and how how easy the venue is to get to. Don’t assume people will go anywhere without being nudged! At Fringe City, don’t just flyer – talk to people about your show, engage them with authentic, enthusiastic communication and chat.

8. Describe your show truthfully. People these days are very cynical about hype. A decent Youtube showreel can give a real flavour but it musn’t be crap and cheap. Don’t describe your show as “amazing” and “groundbreaking” unless it truly is. Find different words, use a thesaurus. Be eloquent in your PR and marketing.

9. Advertise selectively. Put ads in places which maximise the chances of the right audience seeing the ad. The main Fringe web site is seen by a lot of people, but there are also selective music listings magazines and also online web sites aimed at tourists, or aimed LGBT communities, or fans of music etc.

10. Don’t leave it late. You should be planning and organising your PR and publicity months not weeks out. That said, in Brighton a lot of people don’c commit until the last moment so Twitter and other social media can be vital – but don’t over-rely on them.

Overall, you’ll need to be smart and to attract fresh and new audience to your show. You’ll need to blend online and offline, short term and longer term. Ensure you get to know the community and the uniqueness of your venue and the cafes, shops and restaurants around it. Avoid exaggeration and “spin”, be authentic and passionate in the way you sell your show. And use Fringe City each weekend.

Go well!


World Fringe Congress Open Space Day

July 9, 2012

When: 16-20 August 2012

Where: Edinburgh, UK

The Lowdown

Join us for a day exploring … using the Open Space Approach. We’ll create the agenda for the day on the day, because there will be a critical mass of people who are just the right people to create that agenda! Writers, directors, producers, arts makers, promoters, actors and performers, arts administrators will come together to explore our theme. This will be a unique and powerful day. We hope you will join us.

What is Open Space?

Open Space is an approach to conferencing without a predetermined agenda. The agenda emerges on the day through a simple, facilitated process. The output from the conference is often more relevant, more useful, and more lasting than anything we try to plan in advance. This is because the content arises from the passion in the room on the day. The people are there because they want to be there. People attend sessions, discussions, meetings, debates, talks because they choose on the day to attend those happenings. People offer sessions on the day much more spontaneously and address themselves to the theme of the conference, which is the main thing that IS set in advance.

For the sessions that emerge on the day:
– whenever it starts is the right time
– whoever comes are the right people
– whatever happens, happens
– when it is over, it is over.

And people are encouraged to use the “law of two feet” – to never be in a place in space or time that they don’t want to be. Leaving a session and joining another at any time is acceptable and not deemed to be rude!

At the beginning of the day, we start in a circle and there is an open space “market place”. This is where attendees are invited to fill an empty timetable with content. People stand up and offer sessions – talks, discussions, workshops, demonstrations, debates – and the rest of the attendees are invited to sign up to whatever sessions they wish to attend. Session convenors agree to capture the essence of their session so this can be incorporated into a document that records the whole event and is shared with all participants (and others interested) after the event. Any notes written up during the day itself can be posted to a “breaking news” board at the event itself.

The passion is in the room. On the day. The open space is filled with content that the people in the room want to explore. People are encouraged to be “butterflies” when they choose and float from one session to another. Or they may choose to be more informal, like attractive flowers, and soon enough a spontaneous conversational group can emerge that wasn’t planned in the morning “market place”.

The open space becomes a real conference. A place where we explore together a critical theme that we want to explore. The aim is to ensure you are always in a place of relevance and value to you during the day. Out of the open space, the outcome emerges – a large group of people have shared thoughts and experiences, ideas and approaches around a critical theme. And it all feels more emergent, live and genuinely owned by the attendees and not a programme committee who set the whole thing as a “best guess” in advance. The open space is in the hands of the community not the committee!

Open Spaces have been used all over the world since the idea was created by Harrison Owen. They have been used more recently in the arts and in the theatre world. The method is tried and trusted as a way of diving deeply into an important question, set of questions or challenges.

The World Fringe Congress Open Space

World Fringe will be offering one of its Congress days at the Edinburgh Fringe as an open space. The theme will be focused on a key issue related to Fringe, something you’ll feel passionate about, interested to explore and to contribute to.

You might come along already with a session you want to offer or a question related to it you want to explore with others. You might come along undecided as to whether you’ll offer to convene a session and remain open until the last minute! You might just want to come to participate, to join in others’ sessions. That’s okay! At the start of the day the market place session will be the place to see the timetable fill up with all kinds of angles and perspectives on the theme for the day.


To Freebie or Not to Freebie

July 4, 2012



That is the question!

There are different perspectives on the role of free tickets at Fringe Festivals and it can be useful to clarify to yourself if and why you are going to give out “comps”.

It is standard practice to release free tickets to the press and to promoters and Festivals such as Edinburgh have their own systems for booking out tickets to the press and to promoters. For example, at Edinburgh, if a press publication has official press accreditation, it can book tickets for shows directly through the Fringe office. The number of tickets available is usually limited and then they can quickly run out. Larger venues have their own press offices and press officers and also handle free press and promoter tickets themselves alongside the Fringe office. The number of these tickets may also be limited and some press offices will ask performing companies before releasing press tickets, others will assume it is for them to make the call on behalf of performers. For performing companies it is good to know what the systems in place are for particular Fringe festivals. Some venues will charge the performing companies the cost of free tickets released to press and promoters over and above any agreed quota.

The key thing is to agree in advance what the system is going to be. In my view, performing companies should seek as much freedom as possible from venues to promote their shows in whatever way they see fit. But performers cannot take that freedom for granted and need to be absolutely clear going into a Fringe festival.

Perspective 1

Now, one perspective is that, beyond any agreed official press tickets, no other free tickets should be released on any account. This “freebie-ing”, according to this viewpoint,  diminishes the value of the show, cheapens it in the eyes of the public and eats into profits. Even if a show is not selling well, giving out freebies is not seen as the right way – we need to promote better, or ride out the storm until our audience builds. Giving out freebies is seen as a sign of desperation and can depress the energy of a cast who may well be flyering and giving out free tickets on the street. Companies also want to keep control of which press are coming to their show and keep their press tickets “close to their chest”.  The advantage of this stance is that you can be sure that everyone who is in the audience has paid, wants to be there enough to have paid, or is a member of the press who you want to be in. The disadvantage is that you may be being bloody-minded and are playing to empty houses and losing the benefit of audience members with free tickets telling others about your show. People often respond well to the gesture of a free ticket. The compromises include two for one, buy two get one free and other special offers.

I’ve met companies who never give out free tickets on the street at the Edinburgh Fringe. They want everyone coming to value their show by buying a ticket. To do this you have to have a big level of faith in why you are up in Edinburgh. If it is purely for the value of the art and to have it valued through the gesture of buying a ticket, then this will be your stance. Of course, no freebies can also maintain the value and mystique of a show in the eyes of potential audience. But this can also have the opposite effect at festivals where there are thousands of shows, many offering free tickets. Your show might just be ignored by the public.

Controlled release of tickers through apps such as Theatre Ninjas is proving more and more popular. Here you can control the number of free tickets released and allow others to manage the process for you. Use of social media such as Facebook pages and Twitter are also ways to release tickets without having to stand in the street.

Perspective 2

A second perspective is based on the idea that free tickets are the best way to build audience. At one extreme the “Free Fringes” use Fringe Festivals to attract audience unencumbered by ticketing at all. We are here to showcase new material, to experiment, or to simply entertain for its own sake. Others have an ideological aversion to the link between art and money and seek “funding” for their work through other means than “retailing”.  Free shows on the fringe have launched and bolstered many a career in comedy and theatre. Free tickets also increase accessibility for those who might not usually come to a show. So, in this perspective, tickets are free for ideological reasons.

The disadvantage at Fringe festivals is that you can get a less committed audience, some of whom surf free shows without paying them the attention they might deserve. Comedy shows can get people only coming for half of the show, and theatre shows can get audiences who haven’t really chosen that wisely what they really want to see. But  it isn’t usually the case and many free fringe venues run themselves with the same or even greater care and professionalism than ticketed venues.

Free of the need to raise income through the box office the performer is free of the pressures of “trade” and can get on with the art and performance! There is a danger that free can be associated with lower quality. This can depend on the reputation of the venue you are playing in. Some venues are clearly comedy venues with a “sold as seen” ethos. Others take more care with their programming. Free shows will obviously not earn you direct revenue, but there is a chance to seek audience donations on the way out or later online or via an email or postal mailing list.

Perspective 3

This is the pragmatists’ view point. Here performers have tickets for sale but have recognised that fringe festivals are often too many shows chasing too few audience. They already have a promotional strategy in place to release free tickets, during preview week, on days when sales are slow (Mondays and Sundays for example) or towards the end of a fringe if things tail off. Flyerers are trained and ready with their freebie pitch, they have twitter strategies and are using free ticket apps such as Theatre Ninjas. Here the aim isn’t only focused on ticket revenue, but on audience size. The aim here is to get as many people in to see the show as possible, especially early on in order to get word of mouth recommendation kicking into gear. It is even possibly to fund raise for and budget a show well in advance including a certain number of free tickets accurately into production costings.

Flyering becomes skilful as we target the right people – our target audience. We offer free tickets online and on the street to people we want to come. For children’s shows we go up to families. We flyer the queues of certain shows that relate to ours and also the people coming out of shows. We make the people taking free tickets feel relaxed and “ok” about taking them and they are given out with authentic enthusiasm and not desperation or even irritation.

Here freebies are a strategy, which can be carefully done to get our shows on the map. We try to link ticket to people texting their reviews to sites such as Love Fringe or Fringe Biscuit (texted and tweeted reviews).

There is a danger here that we can end up being seen as a show not worth seeing, a desperate show, giving out free tickets because no one is coming for good reason.

Summing up

These are the basic principles for skilled free ticketing:

– well placed in a fringe timetable  – on quiet days and during previews, and maybe the last few days

– given out with clear description of the show and enthusiasm

– linked to audience reviews and a high chance of word of mouth recommendation

– give to the right demographic – the right people to see the show

– partnered with free ticket apps such as Theatre Ninjas

– given out after street performances giving a taste of the show

All three perspectives can work and its up to your own values and reasons for being at the Fringe how you proceed. Overall, free tickets can work in favour and against a show. So, ensure you chose the approach that is right for your show.

Visit our full performers’ page.

(C) Paul Levy 2012


A Healthy Attitude to Fringes

June 24, 2011

Control Fringe Freakery
One of the strongest odours at Fringe Festivals, especially at Edinburgh, is the odour of wilfulness. Control is everywhere – the reek of scheming and sideways glances. Comedians looking like hunted animals as they search for an original strap line to get you to see their shows, or to stand out amongst the uber-throng. Control and “strategy” are often adopted as the default way to not sink under the mass of competing bodies on the Mile or in Bristow Square.
Yet, it often takes failure at the Fringe for some folk to realise that letting go is sometimes a better strategy. Going with the flow can take you to interesting places and new connections and it really doesn’t need to be fueled by booze. A state of calm relaxation is a very good zone to find yourself in in August in Edinburgh, or indeed at any Fringe. Gentleness with yourself and others can actually be quite a powerful place. You see the world around you more clearly and you can enjoy yourself more. It’s also more healthy than the stress of having your pants hitched up your bum like a control-corset. Loosen the belt and smile a bit. But the control freaks won’t even do that properly. Commanding yourself to let go is the ultimate and most horrific act of control.
I think it’s important to try to be objective about yourself, especially if you have put yourself under the pressure to succeed. It’s all very well being a frenzy of strategy and “doing”. But actually, taking time out in a decent cafe to reflect, a walk to the top of Arthur’s seat and a bit of breathing and gentle reflection – these can give us insights into what needs to be done. It may sound new agey, but as soon as we let go, power does seem to come to us, as long as the letting go isn’t just another form of grasping at something.
So hey – gentleness. Make some space around you, and breathe a bit. And allow things to happen, be open to surprise and the unexpected as you lay your plans and set tactics for the month of August, or for this Fringe or that.

What is the purpose of Preview Nights

July 9, 2009


To Pre or Not to Pre – That is the Question!

FringeReview recently received an email from a performing company begging us NOT to come to their preview night. The reason given was that the show would probably not have “bedded into the venue” and could we review it a week later. I didn’t know whether to be gob-smacked or to nod sagely.

What is the purpose of a preview night? Certainly it is true that FringeReview has seen many a show on a preview night that becomes a significantly better show even a week later. We have even re-reviewed a show that clearly hasn’t bedded in properly to a venue, but has shown so much promise that we’ve given it a second chance.

The nature of Fringe Festivals – their busyness and focus on packing in show after show – often means that get-in times are almost zero and that a preview might therefore be a bit of a risk in terms of getting reviewers and critics in. What there certainly is no excuse for is not to be ready in terms of lines learned and blocking sorted.

Or is there? Actor George Dillon has often used previews, and even the first week of a run to bed in a show. I’ve seen him wander across to a technician’s box mid-Hamlet and look at his script. And yet, for George, this actually is all about being in the zone of the play, bringing the piece to life, drenched in the adrenalin and glorious panic of painfully inhabiting the skin of another human spirit – in this case, a character on the stage.

Should previews be finished, neat, slick products, or should they be filled with anticipation, a first taste on the lips of something “bubbling towards a boiling point of excellence”?

Should performers unashamedly present their “draft” that will quickly get better as they literally “realise” the new venue they are performing in, the new town they have arrived in for up to a month of a run?

Perhaps it is all about communication. If you want your preview to be a first night for critics and friends, a kind of “launch” of your show’s rocket into the Festival space, then that needs to be made clear. This is a preview where you promise to hit the ground running, and we judged on how well you run from the word “go!”. If you want the preview to be a “bedding in of the show” in an unfamiliar space, then say that clearly as well. Allow it to be accounted for in your programme notes and publicity. And, in that case, it might well be better to get the critics in a day or two later, to review the piece when it is truly ripe for review. Saying “well it was our first night” isn’t a good excuse for a bad review. I think it is all about communication and expectation.

Personally, I prefer George Dillon’s approach. The development of a show is a breathing in. The performance is a long out-breath. But there is a transition point which is exciting, where rehearsal becomes public performance, but where there is a necessary uncertainty. The paint of the rehearsal processes should not be dried artificially with a hair-dryer of “time management”. To not be fully ready could be an act of incompetence; but it could also be an act of courage, or confident patience and hey, screw the critics…we’ll do this in our own time, for the sake of our art.


Dealing with Poor Reviews

June 29, 2009

 

Getting a poor review for a show is usually an emotional and personal thing. We take criticism personally.

“A pile of theatrical poop”

“The best sleep I have ahd in years”

“About as physical as a cloud – one star”

I always find it ironic and amusing that a publication such as Three Weeks, which has a team of mostly young writers, learning the media ropes, is villified if a review is very negative and trumpeted as an organ of taste and distinction (not to mention expertise and wisdom) if a review hits five stars. We get VERY subjective when we are “subject” to being made an “object” of someone else’s critique, especially if it is very negative.

Early in a run, a one-star or damning review can feel devastating, even disastrous. The old americanised adage “Get over it!” is mostly true here. We need to move on quickly, take on board any genuine criticism, either stick to our guns, or improve the product!

Most negative reviews often do still contain a nugget of praise and these can be culled and put onto our posters, even if the rest of the review isn’t good. The vast majority of the public won’t read the whole review, or even clock its existence,  but they may see your posters or flyers.

Most of all, remember this: A bad review is not the end of the world, is not seem by most potenial audience, and shouldn’t get you down too much.

If a review is nasty and destructive, again I would recommend just moving on from it quickly. Editors are very, very reluctant to pull reviews, even if they are tripe, or just plain nasty. Though it has been done. The show “Bonnie in Brighton” had a hateful review pulled from the Scotsman by an editor who agreed that Brighton bashing seemed to the heart of the review, with little genuine critique of the show.

If you have faith in your show and believe it to be quality work, a bad review will probably be a rogue review and you’ll get better ones coming along soon enough. Be calm and patient. In Fringe festivals, many reviewers are young would-be journalists cutting (and sharpening) their critical teeth at your expense and there’s little to be done about it. If you invite them in…

So, you notice a terrible review of your show. There it is, on paper, and online.  One star. What do you do?

Try to extract any good quotes from it and use them. Don’t be blind to the whole review. Have faith in your work. Take a good hard look at the review and see if there is anything useful you can learn from it, anything that should be taken on board. Get someone you trust, not involved in your show to read it and see if they can help you be objective about what you are reading.

See past the irritation and anger or disappointment you feel. But most of all, remember, it won’t kill off your show. Though your own negative reaction to it  might!

If you get a lot of negative reviews then there’s a sign that either:

1. You might be way ahead of your time or so amazingly different that NO ONE GETS IT. In this case, stick yo your principles – good will out one day!

or

2. Your show needs some radical improvement, as several different critical opinions are negative about it. In this case look for common themes and work with director, stage crew and cast to improve it.

Build in the possibility your show may need some work.

Reasons for a rogue poor review might include:

– the reviewer is more interested in harsh journalism than real critique

– the reviewer has a conflict of interest and, for some reason, is bashing your show for a hidden motive

– the reviewer is biased, bigoted and hostile to your show’s style or genre

– the reviewer has personal problems, is depressed or generally a very negative person

Reasons for a genuinely written poor review

– your show has weaknesses that you haven’t planned for

– the venue didn’t work in favour of your show

Be open to what the review says, even if you don’t agree with it. Be prepared to ride out the storm, or be open to change and improvement. Most of all, move on quickly and look forward to the next, better review.


Other Review Sites and Publications

June 28, 2009


FringeReview wants your show to get as much coverage as possible. We’re very enthusiastic about theatre and want the field of Fringe Theatre to thrive.

We’ve put a lot of work into creating a “jump station”, a one-stop link to all of the review publications you might submit to for a review. They’re all collected here:

Also have a look at our tips for writing a press release.


Getting Your Show Reviewed

June 28, 2009


There are a number of ways you can get a show reviewed on FringeReview.

We currently review in

London (year round)

Brighton (year round and Fringe)

Edinburgh (year round and Fringe)

Amsterdam Fringe

Prague Fringe

Adelaide Fringe

Bedford Fringe (Bedfringe)

North East England

We are increasing our coverage all the time.

First, fill in our online form and apply to be reviewed. You’ll have to agree to our review terms and conditions here as well. There’s a box on the form.

You can also send us your press release and relevant images by email:

For London email Skye Crawford, our London editor – skye@fringereview.co.uk

For Amsterdam – Simon Joseph, simon@fringereview.co.uk

For Brighton and Edinburg and all other regions h email Paul Levy, paul@fringereview.co.uk

You can also get out attention by joining the FringeReview forum (which is free) and posting your show as an “event”. We often add these to our reviews list.

We cannot guarantee to review all shows but will always review shows we have committed to.

We seek out quality theatre, so please be aware we are selective what we review. Do check out our helpful tips for writing a press release.


Fifteen Lesser Known Tips for a Successful Press Release

June 28, 2009


(These are straight off our own twitter feed – so not spell checked)


I hope you find them useful – please add your own


PRESS RELEASE TIP 1: Three ingredients of a stand out press release: 1.engaging originality 2. clear show descriptors 3. authentic excitement

PRESS RELEASE TIP 2: a way to address the reviewer personally (even if you don’t have their number) is to sign it personally-even digital scan

PRESS RELEASE TIP 3: Some reviewers work internationally – so include two versions of your phone number – one national, one international code

PRESS RELEASE TIP 4: Make it easy for the reviewer to make notes and “flag” your press release – include white space for them to write notes

PRESS RELEASE TIP 5: Don’t look like a shoestring budget group (even if you are) – get a web domain email – not clutz@hotmal or yahoo.com

PRESS RELEASE TIP 6: choice of words:The two magic words of a press release – eloquence and directness – use the richness of language clearly

PRESS RELEASE TIP 7: Avoid cliches (reviewers know them all) – e.g. “groundbreaking”, “side-splitting”, “breathtaking”, “no-holds-barred”

PRESS RELEASE ESSENTIAL TIP 8: Create a version for your press release that is downloadable as mobile/cellphone-friendly browser pages

PRESS RELEASE ESSENTIAL TIP 9:  don’t send attached images of your poster/flyer that are 1 too small to read or 2. too large for the screen

PRESS RELEASE ESSENTIAL TIP 10:- where possible, demonstrate how your show addresses the Zeitgeist – key themes/issues of the times we live in

PRESS RELEASE ESSENTIAL TIP 11: avoid gushing superlatives – “amazing”, “unmissable”, “incredible” – reviewers have heard it all before

PRESS RELEASE ESSENTIAL TIP 12: within the first sentence include:show title, company, genre and a key word or phrase highlighting originality

PRESS RELEASE ESSENTIAL TIP 13: Resize images on press releases. Easily done with Irfanview – http://www.irfanview.com/ – less than 100k ideal

PRESS RELEASE ESSENTIAL TIP 14: use twitter to leave a direct message to reviewers with a TinyURL link to your web site press release page

PRESS RELEASE ESSENTIAL TIP 15:Many reviewers now use netbooks which don’t take CD or DVDs -put your press releases on cheap 1gig memory sticks

There is an excellent basic guide to winning media interest for your show by Sarah Harries on Fringe Report here.