Press Rep Kate Gambrell On Her Fifth Year With Festival Highlights
I thought last year’s fringe would be hard to top since I got engaged here and saw Lockerbie: Unfinished Business win a Fringe First and global press coverage. I was wrong, professionally at least – two Fringe Firsts in two weeks for Somewhere Beneath It All, A Small Fire Burns Still and An Instinct for Kindness and a Stage Award nomination for Simon Merrells’ incredible performance in Steven Berkoff’s Oedipus. We’ve also had a stream of lovely reviews and features, and the companies I look after who have done the fringe before - The Fitzrovia Radio Hour, Cabaret Whore and Showstopper! have all enjoyed increased sales and profile.
I’m pretty relieved as there had been talk about fewer resources for journalists covering the fringe this year. All the key players are here and working as hard as ever, rushing all over town to film, record, review, and do interviews about as much work as is humanly possible. The critics, broadcast media and print journalists do an amazing job up here - working long days and somehow still managing to stay awake for, and say articulate things about, all the work they cover.
Jobs in journalism have changed hugely from what I’ve seen over five years at the Fringe and over nine years in arts PR. That means my job has changed a lot too: online video features and podcasts are as key as TV coverage or reviews and features in the national press now. I love the variety and challenge - it keeps me looking for new ways to work all the time.
The other big change for me this year is having a show open in London while I’ve been up here. Potted Potter did two weeks in Edinburgh, where over 8000 people saw it, before opening at the Garrick. I’ve worked on the Potted shows for four years now and I’ve been there for every London photocall, press performance and pretty much every interview. I can’t tell you how odd it was to miss them this time and to listen to Dan and Jeff on BBC 6 Music from Scotland. The show is doing brilliantly in town though - they seem, somehow, to be surviving without me (sob).
So Edinburgh Fringe 2011 has been a blast so far, and this week I’m actually getting out the office to see shows I’m not working on. That and I’m going to Kitchin to re-live getting engaged there a year ago to the day!