Ever come across one of those “What band/pet/decade are you?” posts on Facebook? If you have – even if you haven’t – do you wonder what Edinburgh theatre you might be?
Most of our theatres have clear characteristics that, in many ways, depict the audiences they attract. In my view, the Playhouse often attracts a hen party-type crowd with their camp musicals, while the Traverse often appeals to arty folk with their contemporary, high-brow approach.
The King’s is a more family-orientated theatre, whereas the Festival Theatre regularly sees both the hoity-toity and working-classes pour through its doors. The Lyceum, meanwhile, appears to be the middle-ground, alluring to sophisticates, the informed, as well as the curious and the average Joe and Jane on a budget. And therein lays the beauty of theatre: it’s for everyone. Or at least it should be.
A common myth is that theatre-goers are ‘luvvies’ – flush liberals who like to read the broadsheets – and yes, they most definitely exist. However, I’ve noticed a distinct surge in more of us ‘regular’ folks attending theatre in recent years, despite being in what feels like a perennial recession.
Even more positive was hearing the recent news about Edinburgh’s professional theatre companies coming together under the banner Home Turf, as a means to support and promote each other’s work during the Fringe. As a theatre city, companies are often hamstrung by the council’s expensive theatre licenses, never mind the crippling costs of the Fringe. Yet it’s a testament to their dedication that they continue to function. Hopefully this will extend to all year round and include amateur companies.
So get involved yourself. Whether you want to be an actor, a stagehand, a director or just to build your confidence, the new Edinburgh Stage School is open to everyone, of all ages, abilities and backgrounds. There’s no hierarchy, no egos, and everyone gets the chance to appear at one of their end-of-season shows.