Coming to Edinburgh as a solo artiste is hard. The festival can be daunting, scary, exhausting and lonely when one is travelling with a team, but to be in the middle of the chaos of Edinburgh as one person...And not just one person who needs to perform one (or in my case, two) shows a day, but who also is in charge of media, postering, outreach, promotion...

It is a tough task. And I achieved it - and successfully, too - but this is because even though I came to Edinburgh alone, the staff at theSpaceUK quickly became my team. And I am so incredibly grateful to each and every one of them.

I had an incredibly successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe. My children's show, "Opera Mouse", received four 4-star reviews, and a 'Hidden Gem' listing. My adult show, "Piaf and Brel: The Impossible Concert", also received four stars, and sold out the entire run. In addition, I received performance offers in New York, Dubai, Kuwait, as well as throughout the UK. In so many ways, theSpaceUK was the perfect fit for me, and I could not have been nearly as successful without Charles' advice in advance of the festival about what theatre would be the best fit for me, and the wonderful, supportive staff at all of theSpaceUK venues.

Most venues in Edinburgh are rented with a guarantee v % model, which puts an artist at significant financial risk.
They are large businesses, with their own financial gain as their main focus.

And theSpaceUK is the complete opposite:

Flat fee rental: This allows an artist to budget for their run, and takes away the pressure of needing to satisfy a guarantee. It is a fair, artist-friendly way of running a venue. Also, with 100% of the ticket sales being given to the artist (and not a percentage, as at many other venues), the ticket sales that one achieves from flyering or promotional events directly benefits the artist.

I could not say enough about the staff at theSpaceUK. Throughout the run of my shows, they became my team and my support system. When I sold out, they cheered along with me. When I was having a rough day (and it happens, when one is exhausted and completely hits the wall mid-festival), they were supportive and cheery. The staff at the ticket desk always had a smile and a friendly greeting. They all knew that I was alone at the festival for most of the run, and several times I sat in the courtyard with staffers, chatting over a G&T or a haloumi burger. I have performed in over a hundred theatres around the world, and the ticketing and front-of-house staff at The Space was probably the best I have ever encountered. Rory in particular was incredibly helpful.

The technical staff was excellent. My operator Wayne was fully committed to both of my shows - he did not just show up and do a job, he seemed genuinely delighted to be there, and always took a few minutes after to say something nice. He was professional, enthusiastic and attentive to my needs as an artist. The other tech (and other) staff members went above and beyond their job descriptions, coming into the theatre to help set the lights before the show, helping with front-of-house, and setting my microphone as I rushed around getting things ready for the show.

Some of my most memorable moments at the Edinburgh Fringe were with these wonderful, supportive, caring staff.

Without exception, the other artists I met at theSpaceUK were friendly, good-natured and solicitous. All of the friends I made at the festival were either staff members or other artists at my venue. The venue policy of allowing rush tickets to other shows allows artists to see each others' work, which was just so nice. This also allowed for personal recommendations of other shows at the venue, which is an invaluable way of spreading word-of-mouth about lesser-known shows.

theSpace also have a dedicated press office and when I was chosen for a feature in ThreeWeeks magazine (one of the major EdFringe publications), the office supported and tweeted about the feature to their extensive following.
Melanie Gall, Producer, Director, Actor, theSpace @ Surgeons Hall