THIS morning I had a meeting with Christabel Anderson, head of participant services, and Louise Oliver, participant development coordinator, at the Fringe Office. We discussed the possibility of me doing some kind of event at Fringe Central during the 2012 Fringe.
I wanted to know why Fringe Central tended not to run any given event more than one or two times. If the reason was there wasn't a market for more than that, I would need to take that into account in programming my own event.
Christabel's initial response was the number of events was mainly a reflection of the available resources in the Fringe Office. There's only so much the staff can do and it can be difficult getting speakers at such a busy time of year. She also felt that the more performances you have of any given event at Fringe Central, the more you dilute your audience.
The same need not apply if I do this kind of show in another venue, but I should keep it in mind.
I also wanted to know why Fringe Central events were free. Was that because people wouldn't pay? Again, if this were the case, I'd need to take it into account for anything I do.
Here, things are different. The Fringe Central programme is part of the service to Fringe participants who have already paid to be there. They are not public events, so it wouldn't be appropriate to charge. In other words, being free tells you nothing about whether people would be prepared to pay in other circumstances.
As for me doing something at Fringe Central, she thought it would be best to consider doing one, two or maybe three events and promoting them accordingly.
Because it would be free, I'd have to regard it purely as a way of promoting The Edinburgh Fringe Survival Guide. If we were to do a jointly promoted event, I would have to cover the cost of room hire from the university, which is relatively cheap. One advantage is it wouldn't require an additional entry into the Fringe Programme because it would be promoted as part of the events at Fringe Central, which in itself would be good publicity for the book.
My next task, then, is to come up with a specific proposal for an event.