Karen Koren: What it’s like to book shows for Edinburgh Festival Fringe

We already have 175 shows booked in for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this year. The programming is taking up my every waking minute and has become intense.

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe programme is taking shape (Picture: Lisa Ferguson)

The amount of applications we get is incredible. I read through applications, watch videos and read scripts.

There are some weird and wonderful people that want to come to Edinburgh. It’s hard to decipher the good from the not so good.

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All of them think they are going to become stars and be successful, but the reality is that many just will not make it.

About 80% of the actors, stand-up comedians or performers want to be booked into 50 or 60-seater venues. We have only seven of that size, there’s never enough small spaces.

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Every one or two-person show want to perform at around 4pm. It used to be that no one would perform in the afternoon but it’s become more and more popular. They don’t want to go up against the big comedians and bigger shows that are on at 8 or 9 pm.

The most difficult times to programme are from 10pm onwards, because many of the shows are worried that the audiences will be inebriated and will not pay attention.

They have a point; however, the show to be programmed then should be a bit more loud and outrageous rather than quiet and sensitive.

I will not be happy or satisfied with the programme until the deadline comes which is 10 April. I have a little time left to get it right. It’s looking better every day.

We already have booked a few different magic shows, improv shows, sketch shows, theatre from funny to serious, stand-up comedians galore, Scottish ones, American ones, Indian ones, English ones even.

There’s children’s shows, bubble shows, circus shows and aerialists. Every kind of entertainment you can imagine, but I’m not finished yet – we need the crowd pleasers, the TV names, the ones that everyone knows and loves.

That is what we need to bring the public into our shows and once they are there they see all the other great entertainment that there is to see and we get them to come and try other shows.

It’s exhilarating and exciting once it’s all done – won’t be long now!