Nevertheless, I’m struck by what a crude measure box-office takings are, and how we tend to reduce a festival’s success to the level of growth in ticket sales. I was interested to read the press coverage following the recent resignation of the Director of the Edinburgh Fringe – one of the indicators cited being the fact that box office takings fell for the first time in many years. Booking issues aside (the Fringe changed Box Office systems this year with disastrous consequences), many people agree that the Edinburgh Fringe is already a victim of its own success and its huge sprawling programme could do with some judicious pruning and a lot more focus. This on-going need to announce epoch defining box office records year on year, might not be in the artistic interests of many festivals. Or, as Carrie Bradshaw might say, when it comes to festivals is size the only thing that matters?
And yet we’re obviously delighted that the programme is selling so well. My annual obsession with daily (ok, hourly) booking trends continues unabated this year. I’m delighted to see some of my favourite productions selling consistently well - Black Watch, Waves, Gatz, That Night Follows Day, While We Were Holding it Together and England. It looks like they will all sell out pretty soon, joining a list of sold-out (or almost sold-out shows) including The Year of Magical Thinking, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Caligula, First Love and Heart of Darkness.
And in other news, we’re delighted to announce that 17 artists have been chosen for The Next Stage artist development initiative. The chosen artists are here . These artists will see 18 productions over the course of the Festival and will participate in a series of workshops and talks with visiting artists over the entire 18 days of the Festival. With 66 applications, the selection was particularly difficult this year. The final participant, the Fringe Wild Card, will be announced as part of the Fringe Awards ceremony. The Fringe started on Saturday 6th (check out Wolfgang’s Hoffman’s last wonderful programme on www.fringefest.com) - so stay festival fit as there’s a lot of theatre to come over the next five weeks!