The Edinburgh festival is fast approaching and Superbolt is prepping not one but two shows to bring up to Assembly venues this August. Whether we are memorising lines, shopping for costumes or sending out press releases, it’s fair to say we are busy bolts, and there is still a mountain of work to be done! The pressure is on and we are feeling it! It would be easy (and very tempting) just to put our heads down and shut everybody else out, to ignore emails and focus 100% on our self preservation in the run up to and for the duration of this theatrical month of mayhem. Of course, taking time for ourselves is important and healthy, but we reckon blocking everyone out is not the best way to go. In fact in order not only to survive the fringe but to thrive at the fringe, we all need other people, actually 😉
For starters, we are fully aware that we would not even be lucky enough to be heading up there was it not for the generosity of our fans, friends and families whose contributions to our kickstarter campaign helped us raise an amazing £4938! People’s willingness to put money into our art simply because they believe in it is a kickass reminder of what’s great about people! Our work is being performed thanks to the big hearts of those 108 backers plus the many more who have supported us along the way by coming to see our shows and letting us know what they think.
It is this generosity of spirit that drives us forward, that keeps us humble and committed to our philosophy of collaboration over competition. In attempts to be “successful” it’s easy to forget how you want to drive that development, and for us it has to be about celebration, collaboration and support because this is the theatrical world we want to live in. And so, we embark on this year’s fringe more determined than ever to support other people’s work in whatever way we can, to see and celebrate as many shows as possible, to retweet, like and share their news, and to make friends. With fellow companies we intend to be open when sharing our experiences, uplifting when people need a boost, and magnanimous in the face of artistic brilliance.
Making art takes guts but it is a privilege. It is risky, expensive and not something everyone gets to do. Theatre is not exempt from the same inequalities surrounding sexism, racism and classism that can be found in most structures. We are all coming from different points in life and the playing field is far from level. To tackle these issues requires thought, care and humility. It would be a mistake to assume that the “best” show is the one who gets the biggest audience/ best time slot/ largest venue/ glittering press. Art is subjective last we heard and there is room for all kinds of crazy, hilarious, tragic, gorgeous work! But we all need to help make room. We need to investigate for ourselves. And we need to remember why we are doing this.
From doing festivals with Superbolt I have learned what it is like to perform to audiences of 300 and audiences of 3. Onstage, I have been been dropped, stepped on and stabbed in the face (thanks Frode) and offstage I have made some of my most meaningful friendships and seen some earth-shatteringly incredible pieces of theatre. I have grown so much from these experiences. Fringe-bound theatre companies, I urge you to take risks and put yourselves out there with as much generosity as you can. It’s ok to be scared, we are all scared! But don’t let your fear stop you from making time for other people. They are your lifeblood and your key to having a good fringe. You never know, that secret show you discover in a tiny black-box venue off the beaten track might just be the one that changes your life.