Eight Steps Q&A

Eight Steps Q&A: Susan Harrison

Published on Thursday 8 August 2019

Actress, character comedian and improviser Susan Harrison – appearing in ‘Showstoppers’ this Fringe – 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?
Chatting to people in queues can be a good way to hear about which shows are capturing people’s imaginations, as word of mouth really does count for a lot at the Fringe. I also like the randomness of going to see the first thing you get flyered for – whatever it is! – as that way you are pretty much guaranteed to see something unexpected.

2: What tips have you got for people trying to see as many shows as possible in one day – how can you power through?
Spreadsheet, raincoat, caffeine! The holy trinity of serious Fringe go-ers!

3: When people are reaching peak Fringe, what tips do you have for chilling out during the Festival?
Go for a walk up Arthur’s seat and turn your phone off. Or go for a swim and turn your phone off. Basically, turn your phone off.

4: What things do you think should be on every Fringe-goers Edinburgh Festival bucket list?
Going to see a Free Fringe show, having breakfast at City Cafe, dodging flyerers on the Meadows and sitting under some kind of awning in the pouring rain nursing a pint and thinking about that experimental disturbing piece of theatre you just saw.

5: Beyond the flyer, what tips have you got for performers trying to get people into their shows?
Going to see other people’s shows and chatting to them online, or in real life, can be a nice way to swap bums on seats.

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?
I’d say make full use of social media. Stay engaged and keep putting stuff out there so that people don’t forget who you are!

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?
Be nice, go and see other people’s work, attend workshops if you’re interested in what’s being shared, and if you enjoyed someone else’s show then help them spread the word. What goes around comes around.

8: How would you recommend performers stay healthy during all the Fringe madness?
Switch off and have downtime as much as possible. Go for tea and cake with a friend, but don’t talk about your shows. Don’t read reviews – unless you have to! – and where possible get out of town: a little day or afternoon trip to Musselborough can do wonders for the soul. There’s a sentence I never thought I’d say!

Susan Harrison and the rest of the Showstoppers team (pictured above) performed ‘Showstopper! The Improvised Musical’  and ‘The Showstoppers’ Kids Show’ at the Pleasance at Edinburgh Festival 2019.