Selection by venue

Selection by venue is another strategy for the selection of shows and offers the advantage of fewer logistical issues. The recommendation is to film 50 shows each year. Examples may be taken from the 2009 and 2010 Fringe.

As a first attempt at venue selection, some priority may be given to sites that emerge primarily during the August festival period and offer a diversity of genres. The recommendation is to initially exclude exhibitions and venues that only house exhibitions. Lower priority may also be assigned to “continuous venues” where both the spaces and performances are part of the normal year around operation of the establishment.

While this has the advantage of excluding such ‘non-Fringe’ sites as the Scotch Malt Whisky Society (offering tastings during the Fringe), it has the disadvantage of excluding such traditional Fringe venues as the Traverse Theatre, one of the signature venues in Edinburgh and clearly one of the best expressions of theatre in Scotland and the British Isles. However, the Traverse Theatre does film their own shows. Although they would not be accessible within the archive, they are more likely to be available through these means. In sum, a “continuity exclusion” suggests that if a venue at the fringe is not changing a pattern of activity, but simply conducts “business as usual” during the fringe then it would be assigned a lower priority, at least in the first years of the archive. A whisky tasting is a noble affair in Edinburgh. Whether it should form part of an archive is another matter.

The 2009 Fringe used genre categorization that had been in place for more than ten years. So long as the archive focuses on performance art, exhibitions and “events only” may be excluded (56 venues). The following sites may also be considered as lower priority:
13 churches with musical programs
12 venues offering music in year round music establishments (often pub & club venues)
20 venues that are primarily teaching or service business with related events
16 sites that are primarily music (slightly expanded programs when they have music outside the fringe)
4 venues that are children’s only

This leaves:
41 venues that could be categorized as “smaller” (no more than 3 shows). These are important venues. Approximately five dozen shows (n=63) appeared in such small venues at the 2009 fringe.

29 venues that are “medium-sized” (4-10 shows). There were an estimated 150 shows that appeared in such medium venues in 2009, an average of 5.2 show per venue.

The remainder of the shows–indeed, the vast majority of performances at the 2009 Fringe–occurred in 33 large venues, with more than ten shows.

Among these are Very Large venues such as the Assembly Rooms with multiple sites and more than one venue number in the program.
Up to 12 venues are in this category: Assembly, C, Dance Base, Gilded Balloon, Laughing Horse, Pleasance, The Space, The Stand, Sweet Venues, Traverse, Underbelly, The Zoo
(Note that ten of the twelve remain in 2010 (some dropped to 10 shows or fall to a single listing).)

Finally, narrowing the group of large venues still further, are what are sometimes called “supervenues”:
Assembly, C, Gilded Balloon, Pleasance, Traverse, and Underbelly. However, Laughing Horse, The Space, The Stand, and Zoo also have a strong claim for inclusion in this same category.

The majority of large venues in 2009 (more than 10 shows) remained as large venues in 2010. (Note that there are six large venues that are almost entirely musical performances and are lower priority: Acoustic Music Centre, Jazz Bar, Queen’s Hall, St. Andrew’s and St. George’s West; St. Mark’s ArtSpace; St. Mary’s Cathedral.)

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