How to put on a successful fringe show

This is a difficult question to answer in this short space.. However I have successfully staged 3 London fringe plays.

Here is what I did and how I managed to overcome obsticles that came up during the process.
I will also talk you through those obsticles.

My first script came to me through a friend ,this is a great way to put on your first show as you then don't need to buy or contact people for copywrite laws.
Once you find the collaborator or you have your own script you now need to source the venue.
In London there are so many fringe theatres that will actually work on a box office split payment,the way that works is probably the best way if you have no money to put down straight away, depending on how long you choose to run for - I would say you can have a box office split run for a max of 4 weeks,any longer they will need a down payment and any shorter than 1 week they will also need a down payment or guarantee of some sort.
I went for The White Bear theatre in kennington South London, we had an original script , many characters and booked for 2 weeks on a 40/60 box office split with no down payment.
This was perfect for me as I had no down payments to offer.
Once venue was confirmed I then needed to cast.
As I had no budget I knew I would appeal to drama school graduates who are keen to gain experience, be careful when hiring drama school grads, yes some re extremely talented but they also have no idea how the real world works in terms of commitments to rehearsals and line learning. Find a venue to hold the castings,you will have to pay some money for this unless you have a friend or contact at a venue or a room in a public house who will give you the space for free.

I did recall meetings in the foyers at the national theatre on a Wednesday morning when it was extremely quiet.they were very accommodating and it was actually really good , obviously if you are holding a physical casting don't use public spaces :)
Once my cast and crew were hired it was time to get a table read and meet ..
A huge problem I faced was commitments and cast being very unreliable, I had a very small budget so when I booked and paid for rehearsal spaces and cast cancelled ,it became very frustrating and costly. These are the problems you will ultimately face when you are not paying actors, they go to work,they go out with friends.. And believe me there are a few actors from that experience I will never hire or work with again.
However the show went on and we actually managed to do a successful show.
I learnt a lot and moved on to produce a play for the London Olympic season, I learnt my lesson and had a play that consisted of two actors and short rehearsal time yet an intense rehearsal time. This worked a lot easier and we ran for a week.

Awards - if you are putting on a play to be up for the Offies and to get reviews you must give those people as much notice as possible , then email a week before and call them the day before, you really do have to chase them at every oppouttunity. If you have a budget to put a drink behind the bar before the show you will get more reviewers in attendance lol trust me , this is a real tactic used to entice critics and awards people to attend your show.

Cast well, choose a venue that suits your play/musical and keep a chunk of money aside for marketing ! Marketing your play is so very important as that puts bums on seats.

Good luck

Written by: Victoria Broom - Visit author's website

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