Putting on a Show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival?

woman laughing on theater stage.
Betsie Van der Meer / Getty Images

Have you ever wondered about putting on a show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival?

Come September, as the Edinburgh festival season winds down, ambitious thespians and comedians start planning for the following year's Fringe Festival. If you're thinking about doing it yourself, consider that It takes at least a year to get all your ducks in a row. Luckily, the Fringe Society offers a lot of helpful information. 

So what does it take to put on a show? Well, of course it probably takes self confidence and enough cash to get there, but really, if you think you have talent, nobody else has to agree for you to put on a show on the Fringe. 

You don't have to apply and, technically, you don't even have to register with the organizers, though, as you'll see, it's pretty difficult to attract any audience if you don't. 

Anyone Can Put On a Show

Anyone who wants to put on a performance at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival can, but they have to be well organized and willing to put in a lot of effort. The Fringe Festival does not produce or finance any shows. They don't invite anyone to perform or pay any performers.

But they do provide a large number of resources. Many are free, but if you register, they can be even more helpful.

What you need to do yourself

  • Produce your show
  • Make your own way to Edinburgh
  • Find and pay for a venue
  • Find and pay for your own accommodations
  • Produce your own leaflets and posters and distribute them around Edinburgh.

What the Festival Fringe Society does

  • Produces the festival program which includes every show that registers (see why that's a good idea?)
  • Produces the downloadable Fringe Guide to Choosing a Venue, a guide that lists venues looking for shows and offers advice on how to choose one that suits your budget and your production.
  • Operates an online search facility for venues looking for shows.
  • Offers a venue checklist with everything you need to be aware of before signing contracts with venues.
  • Produces several more incredibly useful, Edinburgh specific How To guides, including:
    • How to Do a Show 
    • How to Sell a Show 
    • How to Run a Venue
  • Provides monthly bulletins with loads of essential and timely information and advice.
  • Has a password-secured area with exclusive information for performers.
  • Organizes the street performers and "show clips" that appear on the high street.

Other Festival services for performers and shows

The Press Office produces bulletins and advice, generates publicity for the festival and shows and provides promoter/show liaison opportunities for shows hoping to tour after The Fringe.

The Box Office puts tickets on sale two months before the festival starts and sells at least 25% of the tickets for all shows in the program. The box office also runs ticket promotions such at the e-ticket tent and the Half-Price Hut and provides performing companies with reports on their ticket sales.

Fringe Central has meeting and communications facilities for press, performers,producers, company members and venues. At Fringe Central, participants can:

  • Find internet, Wi-Fi, photocopiers,phones, fax and daily newspapers
  • Get advice about promotion and networking opportunities
  • Rent rehearsal space and other rooms at reduced rates
  • Join career development events, talks and workshops
  • Just hang out with other participants in the cafe and bar.

Important Sources of Information

How Much Does Registration Cost and What's Included?

If you register your show, you'll be included in the print and online programs and the Fringe app - these are Fringe-goers bibles and if you want an audience, you have to be in them. Registration also includes:

  • Professional development events at Fringe Central  in August.
  • Tailored advice about how to managing media and marketing campaigns
  • Personal advice about career development, touring your show, contacts.
  • Year round support everything from choosing your venue, legal and licensing issues and information for international companies.

Costs for 2018 were the same as previous years but there's always the chance they could rise for 2019. Check the registration pages on the Fringe website after January and sign up for their newletter to keep track of costs and services. Newsletter sign up is at the bottom of the Putting on a Show page.

  • Full run of 6 or more performances - £393.60 (discounted before March 15 to £295.20)
  • Limited run of 3-5 performances - £204
  • Limited run of 1-2 performances - £96
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