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The Fringe team: small, but perfectly performed
Things are starting to make a bit more sense now, although I’m still averaging about four hours sleep a night. I thought I should try and explain how the Fringe office functions, for anyone who might be picturing a mighty media machine full of shiny gadgets and people conducting conference calls.
There are about 10 paid Fringe staff, some full-time, some part-time, some freelance, and a bundle of volunteers without whose assistance the whole system would crumble in minutes. There is roughly one person per department. I am the Press Office. Sometimes this makes me feel important and sometimes it terrifies me.
Working in a small office is actually quite efficient: if I want to bring something crucial to the attention of the box office I don’t have to write a report, send an email, request a follow-up meeting and take minutes, I flick things at the box office manager’s head until he turns round and shouts at me (sorry Barny). It’s very impressive considering how many events there are in the Fringe (nearly 700 in 200 venues) and shows what can be accomplished by a small but determined team.
In my own small but determined way I have been trying to go out and see more shows. Emigrants, set in a campervan outside the Unitarian Church, was a pretty close-up and intense experience, portraying the claustrophobic relationship between two Polish migrant workers. I also made it to the Hanover Poetry Festival on Sunday where the Fringe’s own Chris Parkinson (of the Young Hanoverians) was performing, and bloody impressive he was too. The gin and tonic and cucumber sandwiches were also much appreciated.
My highlight so far has to be Lynn Ruth Miller (Queenie the Senile Stripper) however. Her show at the Quadrant made me cry – it isn’t just about burlesque parody and songs in praise of Viagra and incontinence pads (though they were very funny): it’s more about having faith in yourself and what drives you, even if that means taking up a new career in cabaret at the age of 71. I hope she comes back next year.
Tonight I’m off to see Rachel Rose Reid at the Unitarian doing storytelling, folk and cabaret; then it’s Shoot / Get Treasure / Repeat and Eschara at the Marlborough, and some dark family secrets in Festen on Wednesday. I’m definitely going to catch some more comedy at the Quadrant as well – the upstairs has been renovated with really comfortable chairs and laid out cabaret style – it makes an excellent comedy venue. Plus they weren’t phased when I spilt a box of porridge oats all over the floor (don’t ask).