Tips for Edinburgh performers

Adele Cliff

Edinburgh is upon us! 2022 will be the 8th Fringe I've performed comedy at, so I hope I'm becoming a bit of an expert by now. There's loads of things that can make the month more stressful than it needs to be, hopefully these tips can help you avoid a few I've fallen foul of in past years.

Pack your bag well

You'll often be out all day without going home so try and have everything you definitely need sorted the night before. It can get very expensive to buy all your food out, so sometimes a packed lunch can be a great way to save money and introduce vegetables to your diet. Embrace the bag that's bigger than your torso, it's better to be prepared than panic you've forgotten something vital.

Advanced tip: Tote bags are designed to ruin your life, flyers are heavy, treat your shoulders better, wear a rucksack.

Flyer smart

It's not about giving out the most flyers, it's 100% a quality over quantity situation. Avoid the Royal Mile, there's no way to have a good conversation there and people are inundated. Try Cowgate, Bristo Square or whatever the route most audiences take between venues near you is.

Have a pitch, know what is unique and exciting about your show and tell people, don't sell yourself short by shouting 'Free Comedy'. Your work is worth paying for, whether it's in advance with tickets or afterwards in a bucket.

Advanced tip: Exit flyer any compilation shows you perform at, they'll know if they like you and are way more likely to see your show. Also, if you want to, buddy up with another complimentary show and exit flyer for each-other. It can be really effective if you find the right pairing.

Adele Cliff

Look after yourself

You need to give yourself the chance to do well. Sleep, drink water, eat some fruit, see shows for fun. I once stayed in a flat where 14 of us were sharing one bathroom and I ended up having to go to a gym nearby to get a decent shower; wouldn't recommend!

Advanced tip: The cat cafe on Grassmarket has cake and cats and both of those things will help anyone decompress.

Mess around a bit

You came to the festival to get better, so mix it up, play around on stage, try new things, do the improv/gameshow/themed show, you can fail anonymously or discover something great, either way it's worthwhile.

Remember you're lucky to be there

The festival is expensive and hard work and it can be easy to fall into chats complaining about various gripes but remember how exciting it is, enjoy your shows, support your friends and make sure you go see some comedy idols.

Advanced tip: Sometimes the press coverage and reviews can make it seem like everyone needs to be a critic; don't fall for it, you came to be entertain and be entertained, let yourself, enjoy the best bits of every show. Be positive.

Adele Cliff

Move around

Spend time at various venues, there are loads of brilliant spots for a drink and hangout that aren't the industry bars (and don't worry about trying to get into them, they're not as exciting as you think they'll be). Bonus being you'll discover fantastic shows from people who might inspire you or want to work with you.

Share your discoveries

Be unselfish, plug others. Seen a good show? Then tell people about it! Both in person and online, word of mouth is one of the best ways to support a show you enjoyed. Also tell the performer you liked it, they'll be thrilled to hear it and you'll enjoy it if people do it for you.

Advanced tip: Once an audience has seen your show they're no longer potential audience for you but they are for other comedians. Try and plug a few shows you like at the end of your show, it's a lovely way to support people and if an audience has seen you they have great taste and you want them to see more great shows!

You are cordially invited to my show Adele Cliff: In the Dark - 3.40pm - The Tron.

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