With the Edinburgh festival officially kicking off today, our community bloggers have been breaking a sweat in their preparations to get everything ready for their shows on time. From buying supplies for an entire theatre company to getting all prim and proper for the opening night, there is much to do. Meanwhile, our chief critic Michael Coveney has been threatened with castration and our managing and editorial director Terri Paddock has received a rather peculiar advertising gimmick. Here's to a successful Fringe!
  • Terri Paddock: She-wee, He-wee, We all wee for She-wee

    "An office conversation about camping and toilet facilities in the wake of last month’s Latitude festival has come back to haunt me. When our office manager Laura ripped open an intriguingly bulky package that arrived in this morning’s post, she gleefully announced, “I think it’s for Terri.” ... And here was the answer in the post, a box of Shewee. For the benefit of the uninitiated, a Shewee is a “portable urinating device” which enables women to pee anytime anywhere, standing or sitting. The product’s strapline is “for when you just have to go”. Well, we all know what that’s like. As it happens, much to Laura’s dismay, I did not order the Shewee. It came in a press pack for an Edinburgh Fringe show at the Underbelly, a new play written by Rachel Hirons for a company called dirty stop-out, called When Women Wee. My first thought was that this was a very clever show teaser, but I underestimated the dirty stop-outs, who have actually signed Shewee up as “proud sponsors” of their production. This is sheer marketing genius. Well done, ladies!"

  • Jo Stephenson: First Show Today. Eek!

    "Right. I have washed my hair, shaved my legs, ironed my dress and put on my lucky pants. I'm ready for the first Edinburgh performance of Can You Dig It? - the best vegetable cultivation-based musical comedy show EVER. Or rather I'm sort of ready - just have to learn all my lines, memorise the order things come in and practise playing the songs without messing up the chords - all minor details."

  • Grace Chapman: Day 1 - An Incident With Cottage Cheese

    "I ate a cupcake at 7:30 this morning. Must be the day we drive to the Edinburgh Fringe. As we hit Scotland the rest of Idle Motion set of on their epic 10 hour coach trip (no expense spared). At this point we were feeling quite smug. Little did we know what was to come. We arrived and had to park the van which was no easy feat and then managed to find time for a cheeky nap. It was when we woke up that the hard work really started. It was time to go to the supermarket buy food. For 11 people. To last at least a week if not more. This resulted in three huge trolley’s worth of food and alcohol and a receipt that can only be described as epic. The smugness had started to dissipate at this point though we were still feeling pretty proud our kamikaze food shop. That was until someone asked – ‘how the hell are we going to get these home?’"

  • Michael Coveney: Festival Starts on Platform

    "The first bad news came at King's Cross, when I tried to buy a copy of The Scotsman. None to be had. Why? "We only have it on Saturdays," I'm told, so I can't be sure I'm heading in the right direction for the main event. And then the reassuring sight of Nicholas Parsons in a cravat, pushing his luggage trolley, suggested that the festival was underway and the next train to Edinburgh would be the place to be. Dozens of rucksacks and two parties of Japanese tourists confirmed the impression. ... I've managed to blag my way into the first preview of a Fringe hot ticket (I'll own up later) on one condition: that nobody else knows I'm going in to see it. The Aussie PR added, charmingly, that if I did let on to anyone, "my testicles would be surgically displaced with a rusty razor blade." And I've never even met the woman."

  • Matthew Bellwood: Mild Blasphemy

    "I have just been told off for saying "dick" in a church. All rather embarrassing - and also rather worrying. The incident took place during the press launch for Greenside - a venue based in Greenside Parish Church. I decided to tell the title story from my show Be Prepared as part of the performers' showcase, little suspecting that it would be deemed unsuitable material by a member of the congregation. .. The story seemed to go down well with the audience, but apparently not everyone was comfortable with the content and I've just had a slightly awkward conversation with the venue manager, Tara. Apparently there is a clause in their contract which says that the church has the right to veto any content that they deem unsuitable. Which is a bit of a problem for me as the nature of the story means that "dicks" are pretty central to the narrative. What's more, of the ten stories in my set, that's the one I've named the show after and themed all the advertising around. So changing it now would be a bit of a blow."