When competing with 150 other shows in a Fringe Festival, you need to stand out any way you can. Some shows do it by being so unique that word of mouth does it for them. Some will be trying to leverage their network of friends and fans to get people through the door. Others do publicity stunts or free performances.
We used a mermaid.
Or technically, a merman. Jon Madd, one of the four Manipulations production team members, was working in the mermaid tank at Treasury Gardens, one of the Fringe hubs in Perth. An area of the Treasury building was converted into a garden of mildly earthly delights, with a bar, several eateries, a story telling booth, a basement full of Mexican wrestlers, and the now-famous-throughout-Perth mermaid tank.
During our initial briefing to discuss producing and promoting the show, he suggested that if I could get him a waterproof version of the poster, he could promote it underwater along with all the other mermaid shenanigans. Unsurprisingly, I decided to get him a waterproof version of the poster.
It’s worth noting that in order to promote the show we were still doing all the other things mentioned above, as well as flyering like maniacs. Promoting a show is an intense and involved process, often involving a lot of hard work.
But every now and then, life hands you the opportunity to have a merman promote your show under water to a garden full of drunken Fringe revellers.
I highly recommend jumping on that opportunity whenever it comes up.
(And thank you very much to Vince Haines for the photos!)