Surviving the Edinburgh Festival Fringe: How to Stay Healthy
Last year I wrote a blogpost for Producers on how to survive the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, but after a tweet and thread from Ava Davies, it got me thinking further about how to keep healthy during the largest arts festival in the world. Here are some suggestions for keeping on top of things. By no means an exhaustive list:
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe has a natural flow to it. During the the opening days of August most venues will be buzzing with companies as they tech their shows and venue staff get to grips on how systems will work. This is the time to be slow and concentrated. Once previews begin its important to establish a routine that can flow into the first week. Routines are important to the body so remember that you’ll be working everyday for a month, getting up, eating and pacing your day is vital. During the third week you’ll hit a massive slump, but a bizarre energy begins to form as more people join the Fringe as new shows open. Have the odd late night, but remember the Fringe is a marathon, and spiriting all the time is only going to lead to poor performance.
During Snuff Box Theatre’s BLUSH actors Charlotte Josephine and Dan Foxsmith booked themselves in for a Thai Massage. It might seem like a big expense at first, but your body will benefit from your stresses being worked out. End of week two and you’ll need that pick-me-up. Treating yourself is important, just as much as being kind to yourself. If that means taking a spa day on your day off, do it. Don’t worry about that show you can only see on that one day. You can’t see everything
Take A Night Off
One of the best things at the Fringe is when you listen to your body and remind yourself of some home comforts. For me that has involved some pyjamas, Netflix and some ice cream. If you’re an introvert such as myself you might need your own quiet time more than your company members. Don’t feel guilty. Equally, spending a night in your apartment with the rest of your team can be a great way to connect outside of theatre. Play a board game, have an alcohol free night and gossip about the Love Island contestants.
Connect with the City
Edinburgh is a beautiful city. Make sure you climb Arthur’s Seat for spectacular views of the city. Calton Hill just on the other side of Princess Street has brilliant views out across to the sea. There’ll be a fair amount of tourists but you’ll also find the locals who need a rest from all the chaos of the city. I’d also suggest going to some of the coffee shops in Bruntsfield, which is a short walk from The Meadows. Chat to the staff in the local shops and you’ll soon start to feel like a local yourself
Yes I’m starting to sound like your mum now, so let’s keep this brief. Take tupperware, cook some bulk (healthy) meals, box ’em up and have across the week. Make sure you come back to your accommodation and sit at a table and eat with proper cutlery. It does make a difference. FRUIT! WATER! Got it?
Don’t See Theatre
Head to the cinema or visit the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. Seeing shows all day everyday can easily become the routine but it can also be draining. Black box spaces suck the life out of you. So ensure you see art in another medium. Art galleries I found to be a great palette cleanser.
Talk About Mental Health
Your mental health is important. If you’re struggling talk to someone. The Fringe can bring on all sorts of triggers for people who suffer from mental health related problems. Its good to identify early who can be your goto, or the parts of the city where you can properly get away from a few hours. Be kind to yourself, talk to others and remember that mental health affects all of us.
Most of all though is to remember that none of it matters. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is a brilliant experience, so treat it as that.
Photo by Andrew Farr, used under a Creative Commons Licence.