Eight Steps Q&A

Eight Steps Q&A: John-Luke Roberts

Published on Thursday 15 August 2019

Comedian John-Luke Roberts offers some tips on how to get the most from the Edinburgh Festival, in eight steps…

1: Beyond posters and reviews, how do you suggest people pick shows to see at this year’s Fringe?
Take a few chances. Follow your heart and your impulses and go and see something you’d never normally see. Best case scenario, you see something brilliant you never expected, worst case scenario you have a great story about when you saw that awful one man production of ‘Finnegans Wake’ performed in Spanish and couldn’t leave because you were in the middle of a row.

2: What tips have you got for people trying to see as many shows as possible in one day – how can you power through?
Bananas are a great source of energy and potassium. And water – bring water – those rooms are hot. Also try and put the more soporific productions at the beginning of the day, when you are alert, and save all the loudest ones for the end to keep you awake.

3: When people are reaching peak Fringe, what tips do you have for chilling out during the Festival?
Go and sit on the Meadows with a book.

4: What things do you think should be on every Fringe-goers Edinburgh Festival bucket list?
If you always see comedy, go to some cabaret, or theatre, or performance art, or dance. Your bucket list should be the things you don’t normally do. Also, it’s a bit weird calling it a bucket list because that sounds like you die at the end of the month!

5: Beyond the flyer, what tips have you got for performers trying to get people into their shows?
If you’re flyering, talk to people, it’s the only way. Handing out bits of paper and shouting a sentence about your show won’t do much good at all – you’ve got to engage people in discussion. Any discussion: it doesn’t even have to be about the show, you just want them to feel emotionally obliged to support you financially.

6: The Fringe can be great for finding a new audience. What tips would you have for staying connected with that new audience beyond Edinburgh?
A mailing list is useful isn’t it? Also, make your show very good so they’ll remember it and want to come back.

7: Performing at the Fringe is partly about building a network. What tips have you got for people looking to make connections in the industry?
If you set out to network, be sincere. People can sniff it if it feels fake – the real key to it is just being nice and friendly. Don’t stop a conversation with a friend or an excited audience member half way through to speak to some bigwig you’ve seen over their shoulder. Don’t forget you’re doing this for the audience, not for the industry.

8: How would you recommend performers stay healthy during all the Fringe madness?
If you drink, make sure to take a good proportion of days off drinking. Join a swimming pool or a gym and get into a routine of going there – I find it’s great for my mental health as well.

John-Luke Roberts performed ‘After Me Comes The Flood (But In French) Drip Splosh Splash Drip BLUBBP BLUBBP BLUBBPBLUBBPBLUBBP!!’ and ‘Terrible Wonderful Adaptions’ at Assembly George Square at Edinburgh Festival 2019.

Photo: Natasha Pszenicki