Zoe Lyons – 'I am as guilty as anyone of forgetting to enjoy the ride in August'
Having first attended the Fringe in 1992, the comedian considers how it's changed – she's all grown up with her own room, for starters
This article is from 2016.
I have been coming to the Fringe as a comic on and off for the last 12 years but my first experience as a festival participant was 24 years ago as a student. Even typing '24 years' is making me shudder with the realisation of the how quickly so much time can pass.
I studied Psychology at University in York but spent most of my time involved with the York University Student Amateur Dramatics Society, or to give it its perfectly apt acronym YUSADS. I had a real penchant for playing shuffling maids, eager message bearers and generally any character connected to the service industry. It was this proven record of delivering one lines in plays that saw me clinch the role of The Inn Keeper in our 1992 production of Max Frisch's Andorra which we took to Edinburgh for a two week run.
Unlike this professional 'kidult', the Fringe has evolved, matured and developed over the years. I can't help thinking though it has grown a little too serious from a performers point of view. This is no doubt connected in some ways to the costs involved these days with putting on a show. Our play was done on an absolute shoe string, we slept five to a room and the only real form of advertising was our black and white printed one sided flyers. We went with no expectations, only hoped to get some bums on seats and have some fun.
There is no doubt the Fringe has taken on a more corporate feel since my first experiences, certainly as far as comedy is concerned. Perhaps it has become too 'Big break' focused. Putting on your own solo show has of course quite a bit of stress attached to it and I am as guilty as anyone of forgetting to enjoy the ride in August. Taking time to move the focus off what you as an individual are doing and appreciate what an incredible cultural event the Fringe really is.
Personally I am just delighted that I no longer have to bunk up with four others for a month. I have taken Virginia Woolfs example and now enjoy a room of ones own.
Zoe Lyons: Little Misfit, Dining Room @ Gilded Balloon Teviot, until 28 Aug, 7pm, £11.50 (£9.50).