We write this blog from a charming little Edinburgh coffee shop. Crammed in like sardines. It’s bucketing down with rain outside. This place is festooned with flyers and flyerers and there are some real troopers out there on the Mile, getting soaked selling their show. Good on them.
It’s surreal, being here. We’ve been building up to Edinburgh for months. Months and months. It’s our first outing to the Fringe as a new company and my god, it’s an emotional rollercoaster but we’re loving every second.
Our journey to Edinburgh started way back in March. We previewed our show Waterproof in London and back then Edinburgh was just a dream. Fearful of the financial risk that comes with a stint at the fringe initially made us reticent about an August in Scotland, but the audiences’ reaction to the piece soon helped drown out those fears. And anyway, this is the biggest platform in the world for emerging companies like us and it’s a challenge. It’s a risk worth taking and the only place to be in August for a young theatre company like us.
So here we are. It’s taken us five car boots, a book sale, two spoken-word events, a few drama workshops and a good old raffle to get here, but we’re here.
We formed How It Ended Productions at the University of Birmingham back in 2008, to create work that is visual, playful and full of heart. Inspired by store closures in our home town Luton, Waterproof is a one-woman show exploring the world inside these abandoned buildings, and stars the company’s co-director Eva Sampson. One-person shows undoubtedly come with a certain amount of pressure for the actor, but Eva embraces the pressure. She finds that having only yourself to blame if things go wrong can sometimes be a great relief, as it enables her to clearly reflect on what she needs to do to improve her performance. In a one person show, there’s no-one on hand to swoop in and save you. But being alone with the audience allows for the creation of an intimate atmosphere, which is crucial to the story we are telling. In just four shows, Eva has learnt more about herself as a performer than ever before. Performing to audiences of all shapes and sizes means guaging the temperature of the room constantly. You grow sensitive to every cough, every shuffle, every whisper, every chuckle and if you’re not careful you can feel insecure and utterly naked up there.
So with the Fringe very much underway now and the company settled into a daily working rhythm, we look to engage with new audiences and go from strength to strength. As a small company of three, How It Ended Productions is heavily reliant on social media. There’s only so much ground we can cover and only so far our budget will stretch. Using twitter (@how_it_ended), Facebook and our Blog (waterproof-howitended.blogspot.com) has led us to gain an online following whilst establishing relationships with other artists, promoters and fringe enthusiasts. This has proved invaluable in spreading the word about Waterproof. We just wish our Edinburgh flat had an internet connection! Thank heavens for smart phones and the Pleasance Dome’s free Wi-Fi.
So, the rain has softened to a gentle spit. We better get flyering. The next few days are a big deal, especially as reviews begin to get published and word starts to spread. It’s all very scary but what is exciting, is the relationships we have already formed with other companies and we’re learning so much all the time. Stay away September! August will do us just fine.
Teresa Burns and Eva Sampson of How It Ended Productions. Waterproof is playing at the Pleasance Dome at 1.30pm daily. For more information, see its website here.