This is my seventh year performing at the world's biggest arts festival, The Edinburgh Festival Fringe. This year I'm using Edward De Bono's Six Thinking Hats as a guide for my stand up show, and my five part blog about the Edinburgh Fringe. Edward De Bono is most famous for his theories and practical applications in lateral thinking, thinking outside the box, putting on a thinking hat and being a thinking person's thinker. He's also credited with an international patent on stroking one's chin in thoughtful repose.
Each hat in Edward De Bono's 6 Thinking Hats theory represents a different style of thinking and is coloured appropriately. There is the Blue hat, it's the planning hat and it controls the other unruly hats. The White hat is neutral and it's concerned with facts, figures and data. The Red Hat is the emotional thinking hat; its primary function is to allow for emotive thinking, intuition, and fucking tantrums. The Green hat is the creative thinking hat and can be likened to the paintings of René Magritte balled together like the ends of household soap into a slippery creative globe. The Yellow Hat is the positive thinking hat otherwise known as millinery Prozac and finally there is the Black Hat, which is concerned with decisions and critical thinking.
At the moment I'm explaining everything using the Blue Hat, but chances are you've skipped ahead to the critical Black Hat. As the Blue Hat I order you to play within the lines, we are not up to critical thinking just yet so remove your Black Hat, I'll take off my Blue Hat and lets both don the White Hat so we can get our hands dirty in the horse trough of objective information.
Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland and on a good day its population is 495,360. Every August many thousands of artists travel to Edinburgh for the fringe and during the month of August it rains more than any other month, an average of 62mm which is almost a staggering 0.093mm an hour. The Fringe began in 1947 when 8 theatre companies came and set up shows around the city during the Edinburgh Arts Festival. In 1963 its artistic credentials were established as an open access festival and between the years of 1976 and 1981 the number of companies taking part rose from 182 to 494 making it the biggest arts festival in the world. Post 1981 it's difficult to get statistics for the Fringe due to a comprehensive lack of computers interested in statistical facts, however what we can assume is that it continued to grow.
In 2009 the Fringe featured 34,265 performances of 2,098 shows in 265 venues. In 2010 the Fringe featured 40,254 performances of 2,453 shows in 259 venues. In 2011 the Fringe featured 41,689 performances of 2,542 shows in 258 venues and this year the Fringe features a knee slapping42,096 performances of 2,695 shows in 279 venues. An estimated 22,457 performers will take to the stage in Fringe 2012, compared to 21,192 in 2011 and 21,148 in 2010. There are 47 different countries represented in the 2012 Edinburgh Festival Fringe programme, compared to 39 in 2011 and 24 in 2010. There are 964 Comedy shows this year, 757 Theater Shows, 357 Music shows, 113 Musical and Opera shows, 107 Dance and Physical Theater shows, 103 Children's shows, 99 Cabaret Shows, 41 Spoken Word shows and 43 exhibitions. 814 shows at the Fringe in 2012 are free, compared to 607 last year. There's also an estimated 150 street performers, buskers, statue acts and 12 drunks with 4 small dogs and a cat between them for company.
This year I will perform 49 one hour comedy shows and an estimated 18 45 minute outdoor street performances (weather permitting.) I'll sleep for approximately 135 hours in total over the month; I'll drink about 2,200ml of single malt scotch whiskey and 16L of beer. It will cost me an estimated £8,000; I'll lose approximately £1000 and put on 2 to 3 kilos of weight. I'll cry 500ml, sweat 12L and eat 1 deep fried mars bar. I'll rewrite my show once, craft 4 to 5 new minutes of material, be reviewed 6 times and I'll write 4 more blogs for you. In total it will take me over 5 hours to write each one and it will take you an average of 3 minutes to read.
Last year the Fringe sold a mouth opening 1,877,119 tickets to shows and the average audience size was a stomach dropping five people. It's a special type of madness that draws artists to the capital of Scotland each August to inspire and be inspired. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is a celebratory explosion of unparalleled creativity and insanity where rain soaked madness is the norm and each August from here until there, there is nowhere else I'd rather be.