I am about to take a trip to New Zealand tomorrow. I have been invited by Creative New Zealand, the equivalent to our Creative Scotland.
In March last year I was lucky enough to be part of an arts delegation that went to Auckland and Wellington. I was incredibly impressed with New Zealand, how lovely, warm and welcoming the people were.
I picked up a few shows that I presented in Edinburgh last year and consequently I was invited again. This year I will be going to Auckland for five days - not enough time to fully enjoy such a beautiful country. It is an exhausting programme they have set up from the moment I arrive. There is just enough time to get to the hotel change and off to a welcome reception and then two productions one after another as part of the Auckland Fringe Festival.
Creative New Zealand organise meetings with producers and promoters who are interested in coming to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. I also have to be part of a panel at PANNZ, Performing Arts Network of New Zealand Arts Market, which is just like it sounds, lots of shows trying to sell their shows. They have stalls and they pitch to you.
There are various sessions with a panel of experts on various subject such as music festivals, theatre and arts festivals. The panel I am on is called A Rough Guide To the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. There will be others on the panel such as Sam Gough, general manager of Summerhall, PR Anna Arthur, Scotsman journalist Tim Cornwell and other New Zealand performers who have been to the Fringe.
It’s daunting being on a panel; however, it is good to know the fellow panelists and that they feel the same. Also, I am confident, as I know the product very well after working within the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for over 32 years.
I fly from Auckland to Adelaide where I will be part of a judging panel at the Adelaide Fringe and also part of their Honeypot Programme where again new performers pitch their shows. Katy, my daughter, is already there as we are producing three shows at the Fringe.
Looking forward to seeing her and some heat, but not the jetlag!
Karen Koren is artistic director of the Gilded Balloon