Edinburgh Festival Fringe: The Ins And Outs

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It’s difficult to be witty about the misfortunes we experience daily. I have to say that living in the UK for nearly two years has helped me hone my skill of dancing in the rain, both figuratively and literally— I live in Scotland. This summer has seen gloomy weather, delayed buses, and increasing prices in rent and venue hires. While these problems are faced year-round, they seem to be more magnified in August, when the Fringe Festival is the buzz of the town.

Volunteering

I recently joined a production titled Adaptation: Enough Already. One of the recurring themes was the main character’s desire to make the invisible things visible. In many ways, this was what I was attempting the past month. Leaving two high-pressure hospitality jobs, I took a plunge into the unknown. I didn’t know what job would await me. Being on board this production was one of the ways I was keeping myself afloat. I started to volunteer for a gallery, play more music with my band, pursue painting further, and write. I found these to be keeping me in my rhythm… but how would I earn money?

Who benefits?

Entering the team for the production furthered my realisation that the people who have their own shows do it as a way not just to get their names out, but to get their art and message across, in hopes that people are willing to engage with it. Many performers consider breaking even an impossible feat. With this comes the question: Who benefits?

Certainly, the Fringe is an opportunity for many to dig deep and resonate with stand-up shows tackling heavy themes. Brain Freeze, for example, speaks of the writer’s experience with her brain tumor diagnosis. Audiences can even find solace in more light-hearted shows such as Closure at a Self-Serve Checkout and Watch List. While mentally stimulating and emotionally comforting, passion and personal fulfillment can only take artists so far.


As an artist who resides in Edinburgh, I applaud the determination of the acts who put their artistic finesse at the forefront annually. I hope for it to become a liveable city that offers certainty to the local and international talents brave enough to wade the waters. In many ways, writing this piece is an ode to the city of Edinburgh, all it has done for me, and all we collectively hope for it to become.

In advocating for artists’ rights, lowering extortionate rent and venue prices, and pushing for more accessible public transportation, Edinburgh can become a city where the invisible is made visible, especially through thought-provoking art that enriches the summer months, and most importantly, brings people together.

Words by Marinel Dizon


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