It’s Fringe season, y’all. You’ve spent months — or at least hours — writing and rehearsing your masterpiece. A dance interpretation of the House Hippo PSA told from the hippo’s perspective. A two hander that is definitely not a thinly veiled rehashing of your last break up. An immersive one man musical/storytelling hybrid about the joy of Canadian wheat production and also — somehow — your absentee father!
Now that you’ve put together your show, it’s time to guilt friends, family members, and co-workers into buying some tickets. How else will you convince that freelance blogger to write a 75-word blurb for your local alt-weekly (before the alt weekly guts all arts coverage in favour of exclusively publishing “news” about tech startups/condos for sale)? If you don’t pack that audience for opening night (which per the Fringe schedule technically occurs on a Thursday afternoon), how will you convince an artistic director that you’ve made the next Kim’s Convenience?
1. Pretend it’s a date: Put those creepy DMs to work! Every time a rando responds to your Insta story with flame emojis, hit them with a ticket link. While this isn’t technically guilting someone into a ticket, your half thought out sketch show isn’t technically theatre, so who’s counting?
2. Get them involved: Do you need a three second voice over for your show? Corner Brendon in the break room and have him record it on your phone! If he’s “in the play” then he’ll have to come.
3. Bring up sad stuff that has happened in your life: Got a dead parent? Recently dumped? Have near crippling anxiety? Time to use it! Constantly mention how difficult things have felt and imply your emotional state is intrinsically tied to your Fringe show doing well. It’s a great strategy because technically it’s true.
4. Suggest it’s a team building exercise: If HR can make everyone go to an escape room, they can make them go to your stupid play.
5. Literally beg: Think you’re too good to beg? Not in Fringe season you’re not! You’ve somehow sunk three grand of your own cash into this play and if you don’t sell out nearly every show you’re never seeing that money again. Producing indie theatre is a worse investment than purchasing an NFT.
That’s all! Enjoy your Fringe! Remember theatre is a labor of love that just so happens to feel terrible most of the time.