Confessions of an Edinburgh festival avoider


“What do you mean you’ve never been to the Edinburgh Festival? You must go, you’d love it”

Yeap, it’s that time of year where I hear variations of the above ad nauseam. Normal, sane members of the theatre-going public see theatre at a pace that exceeds even my idea of a busy theatre week. As a functioning theatre addict this opportunity for frenzied theatre-going on an epic scale must sing to my blood, right? Wrong.

The idea of going to the Edinburgh Festival makes me queasy.


Well I’m self aware enough to realise that a lot of my compulsive theatre-going is fuelled by FOMO (“Fear of missing out” for those of you lucky enough to be living in a world not jam packed with advertising acronyms).

As it is I can’t see everything in London I’d like to. Shows with short runs that happen to fall on my more booked up weeks often escape me, much to my chagrin (unless, of course, I can juggle around my work day projects to free up time for a cheeky mid week matinee, that’s been known to happen but isn’t always possible).

Now put me in a place where, even with the most creative advance planning, it would be an impossibility for me to see everything I wanted to. What’d happen? Choice paralysis at best. The constant haunting distraction that I’d made the wrong choices at worst.  The fear of a post festival conversation with a trusted theatre friend where their personal stand-out show was one that didn’t make it out of my slush pile.  Worse still if the show I picked instead turned out to be a mere OK (pile of crap would at least be memorable, oh the tedium of average).  What if the shows I picked all stalk me in London afterwards in multiple incarnations, while the ones I missed disappear into the mists of regret.

Now you may well be reading this thinking, this woman is building a mountain out of a mole hill. Well yes, you’d be right. I’ve a gift for catastrophising, it’s one of the dubious joys of being blessed with both depression and anxiety (let’s hear a “yay” for my brain). You don’t ever want to see me after I’ve had to battle my way through a crowd, that brings out all my demons in one massive, sweaty flash-mob.

So knowing this about myself I stay in London. Someone’s got to keep the seats warm until the Edinburgh faithful return. And I’ll wait, like a spider, to pounce on the Edinburgh goodies that make it to London eventually (strangely my FOMO has never been time sensitive, I’m not bothered about seeing things first).

With my recent theatre outings including Mosquitoes, Adrian Mole the Musical, Apologia, Committee and a second indulgent trip to Ink, I’m not feeling hard-done-by. Far from it. The noise and creative excitement of Edinburgh is happening over there *waves in the vague direction of North* and it’s a wonderful thing, but I’ve quite enough excitement to satisfy me right here.

Now what time is it? It must almost be time for me to head to the Royal Court for road.

PS the totally unrelated photo at the top is of Pip, a three legged kitten I’ve been fostering for my local branch of the RSPCA.  Possibly inevitable (not sure I’m wired for fostering), but I’m now adopting the sweet little creature. Another reason not to want to stray too far from home.


One thought on “Confessions of an Edinburgh festival avoider

  1. But she’s a beautiful city and if the sun shines, well she is beautifuller… and the streets are a-buzzing… and there’s not just theatre (book festival and film festival and art festival etc). And yes, you could not see it all… but she’s a beautiful city and fizzing at this time of year and its like carnival day and night. 🙂


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