Ah, the Edinburgh Fringe... Like 'groundhog day' I'm back for the ninth year running, in my role as executive producer of Funny Women. This is the place where careers can be made or dreams shattered. The home of cultural 'battle' where comedy looms largest betwixt this historic city's seven protective hills. You have to sharp talk yourself out of this place if you want to survive!
OK I'm, painting the bleaker, artist/promoter side of the picture here but this is still a place of awe and wonder where being bright eyed and bushy tailed has its very considerable benefits. My personal enthusiasm for this year's fest has waned against the backdrop of a poorly maintained student flat and the inevitable dose of 'Fringe Flu' , that and the on-going daily quest to sell tickets in an almost (thank God) post Olympic wasteland.
The sun has shone, much beer has been drunk but daytime audiences, essential for our 2.00pm show, have understandably preferred to sit on the fake green sward of George Square Gardens and watch the latest Olympians triumph on the big screens rather thank sit inside a darkened venue.
So just over a week in and past the halfway point of our essential package show, Funny Women at the Fringe, given over entirely to promoting and supporting the huge variety of talented female performers here at the Fringe, from established to practically new. I, along with the hundreds of other faithful promoters who put their hard earned money with their mouth is every year, am putting out a plea out for audiences.
It's no longer about the money - it's already lost in the abyss of registration fees and programme advertising that are obligatory if you choose one of the 'big four' venues. I just want our show, and indeed all the fantastic shows here at the Fringe, to be enjoyed and appreciated. This is the metaphorical birthplace of so much new comedy, theatre and music - people perform mostly out of passion and love for their craft - they deserve to be watched in this brilliant, unique, live environment.
As a promoter the fun begins way back in the early part of the year when you run the gauntlet over venues and timeslots. Despite the fact that we've got the venue we wanted, we've got a very tricky time of day for our tightly packaged, sassy female comedy brand. We follow a hugely successful children's show and after bouncing little jonny on her knee in a hot circus tent for an hour, our yummy mummy is ready for a spritzer and a lie down on the fake grass! Not another show!
We do have the lure of our fabulous commercial partner, Benefit Cosmetics, with their gorgeous pink promotional Benebus which sits on the George Square site just outside the gardens to the right of the Assembly box office. Here the delightful Benebabes will offer you a confidence boosting 'make upper', which is a good match for the daily laughs that our Funny Women are providing over in the Bosco tent.
So how can we lowly promoters and artists now begin to bask in the national glory that the Olympics has provided over the last two weeks? The Edinburgh Fringe is the world's largest arts festival and I have always been proud to be a part of it but, over the last week, I've seriously had moments when I wanted to give up and go home.
A lot of us invest heavily, both financially and emotionally to be a part of all this. Funny Women is fortunate that it's had sponsorship to underwrite the main costs this year: venue hire, promotion, accommodation, fees for performers, but we do still need to make some money on box office sales before we go home!
Having seen seasoned acts performing to half empty houses over the last week, I think I speak for all of us up here investing our hearts and souls in the fest, when I say, please come along - I'd rather lose money than play to empty houses and suspect that the trend for half price and 'two for one' ticket deal will continue well into the following week.
Funny Women is on all this week until Friday 17th August, Assembly George Square Bosco, 2.00pm. Details HERE.
From 18th to 26th Funny Women presents lara A king in 'people pleaser'. Lara won the Funny Women Awards last year so this is her prize! Details HERE.
See who will be crowned winner of this year's Funny Women Awards on Monday 24th September at the Leicester Square Theatre in London. Details HERE.
Follow Lynne Parker on Twitter: www.twitter.com/funnywomenlynne