Towards Defining a Successful Run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Now that I’m a year on from graduating LIPA’s Music, Theatre and Entertainment Management degree I thought it was probably safe to publish my Management Research Paper, titled Towards defining a successful run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the world’s largest arts festival, an event with a 60 year history which remains three times bigger than its nearest competitor.
This paper examines a number of semi-professional companies presenting shows at the 2008 Fringe, their work competing against 2,100 other shows for the attention of audience members, press and promoters.
As an open access arts festival any show can be produced at Edinburgh under the auspices of the Fringe. The charity responsible for the co-ordination of the event, the Edinburgh Fringe Society, publish a yearly guide briefing participants on what to expect from their Edinburgh experience. Using that document and the possible outcomes from a Fringe run it proposes as a framework, this paper seeks to better understand how producers in semi-professional companies define and measure success.
The remainder of the literature review examines the unique arts marketplace that exists in Edinburgh during the Fringe, the increased competition the Fringe faces for visitors and companies from other festival cities and highlights the box office problems which marred the 2008 Fringe.
Research was undertaken through a series of interviews with the producers who presented work at C venues during the 2008 Fringe. Although each of the companies interviewed approached the Fringe in different ways, with particular contrast in dedications to commercial and artistic objectives, it has been established that there were a number of common factors in how the companies defined their success.
Through this paper’s research it was discovered that developing a piece specifically for presentation at the Fringe was of key importance. Whether committed to artistic or commercial success, it was clear that for all of the companies interviewed financial success was signified by managing to cover production costs, generation of further profits being rare.
It became clear that a successful Edinburgh Fringe for the semi-professional companies examined was one which allowed them to build relationships with audiences and promoters and take their work to the next stage of professional development such as a regional tour or a London fringe engagement.
Photo credit: zoetnet on Flickr