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An Artist’s Top Five Tips to Surviving Sydney Fringe Festival

Start early, be brave, market yourself, ask for help and enjoy the ride.

Courtney Ammenhauser is our NIDA Open Course Coordinator for Children and Young people, and has been part of the team for about two and a half years – except during the three months when she ran away to Europe – to do ‘research’ for her current Sydney Fringe show Europe Won’t Fix You. In her spare time Courtney performs stand-up comedy, runs marathons and creates new theatre (this is her second Sydney Fringe show with General Public Theatre in two years).

Below are her top five tips for surviving the Sydney Fringe as an artist and producer.

  1. Start early. Whether you’re devising a new show, reworking a classic or combining the two, the sooner you start work the better. By the time Sydney Fringe rolls around you’ll always wish you had more time up your sleeve, so roll them up early and get stuck into things.
  2. Be brave. Don’t waste time worrying about whether or not people are going to like the show. Focus your attention on whether or not the show is telling your audience the story you want it to tell. If you spend all your time thinking about what other people think your show will end up being beige and boring.
  3. Market yourself. Whether you like it or not, putting on a show is a business and to be successful in your creative venture you need to be clever with your marketing. To stand out in a sea of shows at Sydney Fringe Festival your show needs a strong image, a catchy title and a consistent marketing strategy. My theatre company, The General Public, is all about making light of the mundane hence the title, image and copy for our show Europe Won’t Fix You.
  4. Ask for help. Whether you need a hand hanging up posters, want to borrow a prop or a space to rehearse that isn’t your lounge room, don’t be afraid to ask. You might be surprised at just how generous people can be.
  5. Enjoy the ride. In the midst of rehearsals, designing your marketing collateral, sourcing props and costumes, liaising with fringe staff, promoting your show and trying to keep your personal life in check things can get a little overwhelming. Make sure you take time to zoom out from the chaos and remind yourself why you signed up for fringe in the first place.

So get amongst it and check out all the great work at this year’s Sydney Fringe Festival. Maybe next year, you’ll be involved!

All views expressed are authors own.

About this author: Courtney Ammenhauser, Course Coordinator, NIDA Open