House in Edinburgh

5 days, 35 programmers and over 2000 shows to choose from; the conundrum faced by us as house, on taking the lead of the organisation of the Edinburgh Trip 2013. As marketing support officer for house, I was blessed with slightly less responsibility pre-trip, enabling me to think about what the legacy of the week could look like, and more pressing, exactly where we should meet the programmers for drinks each day.

Having been to Edinburgh just once before, on arrival I was thrown into the depths of confusion and flyer-to-the-eye moments. The vibe on the mile was an odd concoction of desperation, jubilation and general annoyance now that week 3 was in full swing and the leading shows had begun to float to the top of the pile. That evening, the house programmers were invited to a first night meal.  The presence of so many arts industry around one table was fantastic to witness; venue programmers from opposite parts of the South East region striking up conversation and sharing their excitement of the week to come.

The programmers were given a loose schedule of evening meeting places and a list of recommended productions to watch during their visit. Other than that, it was just a joyful coincidence when two or three turned up to the same performance. Every programmer had their own schedule, some more ambitious than others (I think that one attendee actually watched nine shows in one day).

Each morning the house team attended a local café for breakfast and extended an open invitation to all attending venues. It was during these morning discussions that programmers could share feedback on productions and tips for other shows to catch that day.

During my week of a modest of twenty-five shows, I bumped (at times literally) into many a house programmer; sometimes as fleeting hellos, and in other instances as show companions. As one venue programmer described it, this year’s Edinburgh felt like having house guardian angels all over the city, ready with a helping hand to direct and discuss. Next year could be the third time we bring programmers to the festival, and judging from some of the feedback below it would be well worth all of our hard work.