This year New Zealand will be taking its largest contingent to Edinburgh to-date. Around 200 artists from New Zealand will converge upon Scotland’s capital city to perform in an array of festivals which include; Edinburgh Fringe, The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival, plus there’s also the prestigious Edinburgh International Book Festival in which Witi Ihimaera will be attending, and for the visual arts – The Edinburgh Art Festival.
Those who have been to Edinburgh during festival season describe the atmosphere as ‘electric'. There is a lot on offer for audiences who travel there in search of world-class entertainment, theatre and music, plus there’s the addition of festival buyers from around the globe who are on the hunt to book those hot ticket shows that will bring audiences in their hometowns to their venues.
But planning to take a show over to Edinburgh requires a huge amount of investment in time and money and Creative New Zealand has focussed on building strong marketing for the event- having created a package; no less with a designated Kiwi bar selling NZ food and wine which will be set up at one of the Fringe venues.
“There’s plenty of skin in the game for artists [going over] as CNZ will not be covering all the costs.” She hopes that the shows will also make money for themselves, especially if they’re performing in The Fringe. Being picked up by buyers is significant in helping the artists to develop their work and build their profiles and is probably the ultimate outcome, but at the very least, having New Zealand artists collaborate with others they’ve met through the festival is also of benefit.
Charlie McDermott, Creative Producer for zombie apocalypse show The Generation of Z, cites research as having been an essential ingredient to preparedness for ‘the marathon that is Edinburgh.’ This will be his third time attending the festival, “… it’s important to know the lay of the land.” Their show is a cinematic experience with high production values, which takes theatre outside of the traditional venue into the city scape or an allocated public space. Having been to Edinburgh previously meant he had more of an idea what types of locations would be suitable for the show. The Generation of Z allows its audience members to be part of the outcome of the story – they make decisions and become ‘players’ in what is akin to immersive gaming.
Tipped as the hot ticket at the Edinburgh Fringe, Charlie maintains that they’re all about building new audiences – attracting the masses who would ordinarily think that theatre is a tired, staid institution. The Generation of Z also engages it’s audience through the use of digital media which means that people can interact with a live show from anywhere around the world and be part of affecting the outcome of story.