ThisEgg is part of a group of independent producers supporting and advocating each others' work at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe. As independents we work both in the UK and internationally; our work spans multiple genres, but we share a collective desire to push the boundaries of live performance and support artists who experiment with the audience experience.
We are doing what we can in a theatre/fringe/world where there are more and more big organisations being big with their big brands. We are celebrating what we already spend all of our time doing - lifting each other up in an industry that often relies on friendships. We want to open a conversation about how independent artists can reclaim the space and somehow formalise the networks that are near invisible and not fully funded.
At the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this year ThisEgg are taking part in an initiative called #PayIfYouCan;
Dear organisations visiting and seeing shows at the Fringe,
We really want you to come and see our shows. Whatever the cost. So something small companies and individuals have not been upfront about before now is our very limited allocation at the Fringe. When we get you a ticket to see our shows this is, more often than not, coming out of our personal pocket.
This year we are launching an initiative which we would love to invite everyone to be a part of - #PayIfYouCan. If you are an organisation that has an allocation for tickets, we encourage you to buy tickets to see shows.
We completely understand this isn't possible for everyone, and not every organisation has money for fringe tickets. So #PayIfYouCan is about openness and honesty - if you can pay, do. If you can't pay, please ask for a comp and know that we completely understand, and we would love to get you a ticket. You can still support us by spreading the word about #PayIfYouCan to your friends and colleagues that work for organisations that can afford to pay.
Here's to supporting each other to make the fringe more sustainable and affordable for all!
It’s time for change. As part of the wider #CreativeClimate and #GreenArts movement, Staging Change is working to create a green future for theatre - an industry tat has a small footprint but a big impact.
It is a network of performers and makers work together to discuss how the industry can overcome the challenges it faces in becoming more environmentally sustainable. Whether you're a green theatre machine or new to the sustainability game, everyone is welcome to join the discussion.
As storytellers, we have a unique capacity to explore key issues with audiences both on and off the stage. In a warming world, this means taking leadership in communicating the importance of environmental action, whether that be through the content of our projects or the sharing of our practice.
About how much to care, when to care and who to care for.
I’ve been going back and forth.
As a general rule, I think we (as makers and audiences, and as humans) need to care for ourselves.
Sometimes we need to be cared for.
We (as makers and audiences, and as humans) need to understand our own boundaries.
In the theatre that’s not always easy.
Sometimes these boundaries are broken. Sometimes that’s good. Sometimes it is really not. Sometimes that can be difficult, and sometimes that can be dangerous.
How can we avoid that bad stuff? And whose problem is it to navigate?
I wonder a lot about what responsibility we hold (as makers), putting certain bits of work out to the public (the audience). I wonder about who is responsible for the audience - the makers, the venues, or the audience for themselves - they have brought themselves into the building to see the show after all (unless they haven’t, which is also possible, but for now lets imagine they have).
As audiences, we don’t usually know the show before we’ve seen the show. We might have read some copy, but it might not be so accurate… The copy writer might want us to think we are going to see one thing when really we are seeing another, maybe they are trying to write something that ‘sells’ better than describing the real show, or, they might just have had to write the copy before they’d finished making the show they were writing it for.
Is it about an informed decision?
Do we want to be informed before we go to see something?
Why am I writing this? Who am I writing this for? What difference will it make? Does a difference need to be made?
Is this something that has always been a concern, and never addressed, or, is this becoming a concern with the ever increasing concerns of this concern led life we seem to be living in this concerned world? One more time: Concern. I am concerned.
I am concerned about care, and also expectation. How much are audiences expecting to be cared for. Is it a part of the experience, is it a need, or is it a bonus?
audience care & dressed.
After opening the show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, lots of audience members said they wished they had come to see the show with someone. That they wanted someone to talk to, someone to hold, to be held, or just to sit with. So, to launch the tour we had a competition for 241 tickets. Unfortunately we can’t offer everyone 241 tickets to the show as standard, but we have started a #bringyourbestie (still waiting for that to start trending ;) ) to try to encourage audiences to share the show with someone they care about.
We opened dressed. at Battersea Arts Centre. They were the first to suggest an audience decompression room — somewhere people could sit after the show before moving into the bar, or heading home. It was a small gesture. I reckon the signage meant that it was easier to relax into the show, knowing they had somewhere they could be afterwards.
How far does the audience care affect the way audiences are watching shows?
By having the opportunity to provide our audience with a post show safe space felt like we could extend what happens on the stage outside of the theatre in a way that took care.
dressed. is based a real life event. We have had a quite a few discussions around the trigger warning for the show.
Is it useful?
Is it scary?
Does it set the show up in the right way?
How do we phrase it?
Can we make it less formal?
Is it triggering?
We've come to a simple conclusion so far -- trigger warnings are massively important. They are also important to get right.
So far we have changed ours from "This show explores themes of rape and sexual assault which some audience members may find distressing." to "This show explores themes of sexual assault.” I’m sharing the beginnings of these thoughts. Perhaps you have some to add...
dressed. is a show I have made with my three best friends. We have an inbuilt support network. Nonetheless, we are taking extra care and working with Lou Platt, an artist wellbeing practitioner to help look after ourselves too. She's great. Check her out here.