Stage whispers: Fringe performer Martha Wollner on her first Fringe
Sense of community experienced at first Fringe
This article is from 2011.
Martha Wollner talks about the sense of community she’s experienced at her first Fringe
‘First Fringe?’ That’s what old festival hands kept asking, followed by advice on how to build audiences: get sleep, see shows and, as one producer put it, ‘Generally gird your loins!’
But upon arrival, our ensemble began to experience something unexpected. Not general festival ‘buzz’, no glam ‘carpet’ quips nor ‘deal’ frenzy film fest hype. This ‘thing’ was unique, a ground swell of genuine interest in and support of the artist and the work.
Our show opened. Audiences didn’t exit with their heads in Fringe schedules. Instead they stayed to discuss the show and how it had affected them. Soon we were ‘audience swapping’ with fellow performers whose work had entertained, surprised and inspired us. We buzzed from our growing Fringe community’s energy. We handed out other shows’ flyers along with our own. Audience members even asked to leave comments for our playwright in the States.
We have come to call this the ‘Fringe Thing’, a non-competitive celebration of art, work, talent and community that is uniquely an Edinburgh Fringe commodity. Artists have to do what we do; we don’t have a choice. The Fringe is a massive celebration of that calling and of the depth and diversity of work it can create. It is a tonic our world has always needed, perhaps never more than now.
We’ve been thrilled to be telling Jaclyn’s beautiful story for a brief hour each day, our work is growing, but so is our community, our vision and our inspiration. It’s that ‘Fringe Thing’.
Unanswered, We Ride, theSpaces on the Mile, 0845 508 8316, until 27 Aug, 1.30pm, £9 (£8).