Melbourne Fringe Festival Education

Posted on 01 October 2010

I’m finding the Fringe Festival particularly educational. First, they offered a fabulously informative series of salons to assist in developing artists, which I had the pleasure of attending. Second, this whole festival is about experimentation and the support of emerging artists.

Not everyone gets their shows one hundred percent right. But that’s completely fine. We learn by doing. And regardless, the shows are almost always entertaining. The only real sin in the arts is to be boring. That said, I might add some sins can be committed in the marketing end of arts production.

If you promise more than you are delivering, you risk alienating your audience. You may pack out your venue for this event, but people may never give you a second chance. I went to one sold out show where the marketing promised saucy content. With the exception of one drug reference, the material never made it above a “G” rating. Which is fine by me, but I felt nervous for this artist.

Obviously a lot of work was put into the show. I would say it was still on the amateur side of things, which is why I’m not mentioning names. It’s a first go, and the artist deserves every chance to grow. I don’t want to hold a beginner back with my reviews. If I review a show, it’s because I believe I can recommend it to my readers as a surefire night of entertainment. Any critiques are there because this site is about analysing good comedy for other comedians.

Another marketing issue is when very fine shows can afford little in the way of promotional material and have to opt for black and white posters. People tend to stay away from such shows thinking they will be amateur. This is not necessarily so, particularly at Fringe. I know of one award winning performer who is an absolute wonder at her art, people exit her shows in awe, and she could only afford A4 photocopies to poster around the festival.

Generally, I recommend looking through the Melbourne Fringe Festival guide and, yes, choosing a few shows featuring your favourite performers. But please, take one random stab at something that looks fun, but you know nothing about. Expand yourself, educate yourself, and support an emerging artist. I know in these times people want to be careful with their money, but think of this as charity where you get to have a little fun as well.

Peace and kindness,


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