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Fringe Report is now closed. Fringe Report closed on its 10th anniversary, Thursday 12 July 2012. It remains online as a record of 10 exciting years in the arts. Till July 2013, previously unwritten content is being added to the site from the past 10 years, but we are no longer reviewing new material. You can still write to us on the existing email addresses. Good luck with your shows.
How we got our first production to Edinburgh - from script to stage
by Anna Bewick
Just over a year ago, we presented a scratch performance of a play called Limbo at the Cambridge's Hotbed Festival - our debut production. This is how we got from there to a fully-funded production at York Theatre Royal and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.Just before Hotbed, a script at the National Theatre's Literary Department caught the eye of our artistic director Dan Sherer. Limbo, was by Irish writer Declan Feenan, who was happy for us to perform it. We enlisted actor Caroline Williamson. Dan Sherer had worked with her before, and we knew that she would be perfect for the monologue. As with any small theatre company, we lacked a venue, funding, and time. We started by talking with two organisations we already had good relationships with - York Theatre Royal and the Arts Council. Following a closed reading of the play to York Theatre Royal Artistic Director, Damian Cruden, the theatre agreed to co-produce it in autumn 2007. Our theatre company, Real Circumstance, is based in Colchester, Essex. Mercury Theatre Colchester recommended us for Arts Council East's Escalator scheme - which invests in regional artistic talent. We were accepted onto Escalator's East to Edinburgh (E2E) scheme, which provides a network of support specific to the Edinburgh Festival. It helped strengthen our application for funding to the Arts Council, which resulted in us receiving their financial, practical and administrative support. Our fundraising efforts also led to partnerships with Strawberry Vale Productions - a media production company, involved both practically and financially - and the producer Charlotte Matthews. The money raised has ensured that people involved in the production are paid. We applied to Underbelly in spring 2007, and secured a run for the whole of the Edinburgh Fringe at Iron Belly – ideal for the delicate and intimate nature of the play. With funding in place, we were able to prepare creatively for the run, start work on press and marketing, and do previews at Theatre 503 London and Colchester Arts Centre in July 2007. We started rehearsals in July at York Theatre Royal - I'm writing this there. We're having the time of our lives. Dan Sherer and Caroline Williamson are working intensely in the rehearsal room, and I'm spreading the word about the play. We are so excited - it feels so privileged to be able to pay ourselves to work on what we are all so passionate about. Has the process been straightforward? Relatively – we've planned the production very carefully, drawing on our own previous experiences, and we've had a lot of professional support. There's been quite a lot to learn - and a lot to come in Edinburgh - managing with my first show there. It has been time-consuming. Both Dan Sherer and I have had to fit in full-time jobs up until the beginning of rehearsals. But we have a great creative team, all working hard to make this production the best it can possibly be. We're all enjoying it more than we dreamed of. The thrill and satisfaction of getting our own production on, from the initial idea to full production is incredible. There’s nothing like the sense of achievement you get when you've started out with nothing, and then suddenly find yourself in an office at York Theatre Royal on the way to Edinburgh. We're fizzing with excitement. August? I’m not planning to sleep.
(c) Anna Bewick 1 August 2007
Anna Bewick is creative producer, and Dan Sherer is artistic director, of theatre company Real Circumstance
Limbo is at Iron Belly, Underbelly (Venue 61) from 2 – 26 August (not 13) at 14.20 (1:00). Booking: Underbelly Box Office tel 0870 745 3083 / book online at www.underbelly.co.uk / or at www.edfringe.com. More details http://www.realcircumstance.com/limbo. Company - Real Circumstance with York Theatre Royal & Strawberry Vale Media / Escalator East to Edinburgh
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