Looking beyond this Fringe for signs of a brighter future – Karen Koren

It remains to be seen what share of arts funding will find its way to comedy clubs – Karen Koren

Thursday, 3rd September 2020, 7:30 am
Leonardo DiCaprio in Romeo + Juliet, which was screened at the Film Festivial drive-in at Edinburgh Airport (Picture: Getty Images)

The strangest Edinburgh Festival Fringe ever has just come to an end and we are looking forward with optimism and some trepidation as to what will happen next in the reopening of live entertainment.

The Scottish Government announced last week a new £15 million Culture Organisations and Venues Recovery Fund which will provide critical support to a range of businesses such as art galleries, studio facilities, comedy venues, large music venues, commercial theatres, orchestras, dance companies and nightclubs offering live music.

It will help to reduce the threat of insolvency, protect jobs and create conditions for a more viable and sustainable future for the culture sector.

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This is all great news and I have to say that it is a revelation that comedy venues have actually been included. Does this mean that we will actually get funding? I’m not so sure. I do hope that it’s possible and we will apply as soon as we have been advised to do so. The Gilded Balloon Basement in Rose Street will not be able to open again without this support. As it stands with social distancing we would only be able to have 40 audience members in the venue, which is not financially viable.

Though we are a few weeks behind England we are allowed to put on entertainment outdoors in Scotland. Katy (my daughter and business partner) and I are planning to do some outdoor comedy for Freshers Week up at Teviot Garden, beside Teviot Row House.

Outdoor entertainment does work. We went to Edinburgh’s Drive-in on Saturday night out at the airport, organised by our friends at Unique Events and the Edinburgh Film Festival. There were firm favourite films on from morning until night time from Thursday to Sunday. We went to see Katy’s all time favourite film, Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet, which I had never seen, and I really enjoyed it. There will be more at the end of every month going forward, with a big Halloween programme, to scare us all and a great Christmas selection.

We will certainly be going back – there is good pre-film quiz with drinks and food delivered to your car. Just like in Grease, it’s definitely worth a visit.

Our Crowdfunder (www.crowdfunder.co.uk/support-team-gilded-balloon#start) closes tomorrow, if any of you can afford to donate, we would be extremely grateful. If not, live entertainment will be back from the Gilded Balloon as soon as we possibly can! Watch this space!