With just five days to go before she leaves for Edinburgh, Molly Freeman, co-artistic director of Smoking Apples, shares her top ten tips for keeping your team tight and together. Because no one wants to be refereeing a mega team meltdown two days in.
In five days, we will be squishing ourselves, our set, our puppets (they get priority for non-squishing – not us) and our bags into a van and making the trip up to Edinburgh. Once again, the months between April and now have passed so quickly and mild panic is setting in. I haven’t even started packing, or even thinking about packing yet, and for those of you that know what I’m like, this is unthinkable. But it’s happened and rather than stressing about finding 29 pairs of socks and pants (because let’s be honest, the only thing getting washed during August are our honking costumes) I’m writing you a blog…
Underwear, packing, rehearsals, travel and everything else aside, our biggest piece of advice on surviving Edinburgh is to keep your team together. If you’re team isn’t working properly, the festival can be a very tough place so here are our top ten tips on how to keep that dream team rolling for the month.
1. Hang out together! This might sound obvious as you will be spending SO much of your time together but I mean hang out and do something social together. This can be festival related or not but do something fun.
2. Eat together. Again, you might all be shoving sandwiches in your faces ten minutes before your get in (we’ve all been there) but aim to sit down for dinner together once a week. Take it in turns to cook and try to avoid talking about work.
3. BE KIND. This is seriously underrated but it so, so important. It’s easy to get frustrated and annoyed when you are exhausted with Edinburgh but remember that on the days you are feeling down and tired, not everyone will be so if you’re the one feeling full of energy, make sure you pick up your fellow pals and bring them through. They’ll do the same for you.
4. Have a night in. Here at SA HQ we love a good night in and although the temptation to see shows and get hammered in the Underbelly bar is always there, the occasional night in watching a film and having a bath is essential, especially during the Fringe. Only another 40 years until we can claim our (non-existent) pensions *sigh*
5. Have realistic expectations. You all know that Edinburgh is going to be bags of fun, it’s the best bubble in the world to be in throughout August. However, make sure that everyone in your team knows it is also going to be hard work. Make sure everyone knows what is going to be required of them and that they’ve agreed to do it! It’s rarely just a case of doing your show for an hour and that being it.
6. Hang out with other people. Most of you will know someone else at the Fringe. They might be from other companies performing or friends and family visiting. Go and hang out with these people, it’s good to see people outside of the team and get a bit of perspective on what you’re doing.
7. Do notes. After every show. This will not only make your show better but it will also give everyone a chance to air any concerns or feedback afterwards. You can sort these out straight away and they won’t carried over onto the next day’s show.
8. Be positive. Again, a no brainer but so difficult to do consistently. You have to play the long game in Edinburgh, it’s a lot of shows to do across a long period of time. Try to remain positive and tell your gang if they’ve done something great. This might have been during the show or it might be that they’ve snagged a top reviewer for you.
9. Keep it fair. Flyering for hours on end can be really dull but keep things fair by rotating flyering spots, days off and networking events.
10. Plan a post Edinburgh treat. This doesn’t have to cost a load of money but is something to keep focused on when things are tough and something that you can enjoy planning together whilst you’re at the Festival.
Stay dreamy teams and do come and find us in Edinburgh, we’d love to say hello!
Smoking Apples are bringing their brand new show, In Our Hands, to Underbelly this August, after the success of CELL at last year’s Fringe.