Charles Pamment expects more than 9,000 to visit his Fringe venue
Every year, the BBC News website's Charles Pamment managers several theatre venues at the Edinburgh Fringe.
This year, one of these, Venue 45 hosts 23 production companies who will put on plays, musicals and children's entertainment, expecting thousands of people to pass through its doors.
Here Charles keeps us updated on how he and his colleagues try to keep things running smoothly.
SUN GOES DOWN ON FRINGE, 28 August
The curtain has fallen on Venue 45's fringe festival for another year, the last show finished at 0115 on Sunday morning and the production team spent the remainder of the night and most of Sunday dismantling the theatre.
Weary performers have been popping in all day to say goodbye and to collect props.
The sun has set on this year's Fringe Festival
It's been an interesting year; I'm not sure the Fringe as a whole has been a huge success for some.
I've had several conversations with artistes, venue managers and audience members who all seem to think it's been a little quieter than last year.
The press coverage also seems to be a little lighter than previous years.
The Scotsman; the premier national newspaper covering the Fringe certainly seems to of offered fewer inches to reviews and more to features about high-profile performers. We, however, have been fortunate with good levels of coverage and several healthy reviews.
Three Weeks, the specialist festival newspaper offering daily listings of show reviews, has been a little cumbersome in its coverage, often not printing reviews until after shows have finished their run.
They do, however, seem to have been swamped by demand, perhaps there is an opening here for another publication, after all, many shows rely on reviews to get an audience.
It's always a little strange when the festival ends, the empty echo of the church hall today, is such a contrast to the sounds of voice and song, applause and laughter that have filled this modest space for the last few weeks.
Although it's now time to go home, the experiences that accompany a month on the Fringe tend to linger in the memory, most are contrary to one's regular life and as I drive back to London tomorrow I'll have plenty to reflect on, until next year at least.
END IN SIGHT, EDINBURGH, 26 AUGUST
The end is almost upon us for this year's Fringe, tomorrow (Saturday) is our last day of shows before we take the theatre down and pack up for another year.
The final week has had its fair share of events at Venue 45, the odd performance has been cancelled due to cast issues and illness, but others are enjoying full houses and critical acclaim.
Care Shangton, the group of actors with learning disabilities from Leicestershire, have taken the experience of the Fringe in their stride, I'm not sure I've seen such a happy bunch of performers in the 11 years I've been doing this.
These guys are not bothered about receiving rave reviews or affected by tantrums or cast fall outs. They are just happy to be involved. It's a refreshing experience.
One of our headlines shows Piaf had to cancel their show last night after the lead lost her voice, a little unfortunate considering they had just received a four-star review in Metro. However, I've been told this morning that all is well and the remaining two shows will go ahead as planned.
I always feel the same with a few days left of the festival: could I have seen more shows, written more reviews, visited the book, jazz, film or politics festival at least once or at least ventured a little further from the confines of Venue 45?
The answer is probably, yes. It would be interesting to come to the festival one day free of these confines, just to explore a little further as to what is really going on out there. But my priorities for now are here in this theatre, and if I was honest, I probably wouldn't want it any other way.
THE LAST LEG, EDINBURGH, 24 AUGUST
Only a few days of the fringe left now. As always, time has passed quickly, and the first days and even weeks do now seem to be an age ago.
Events at Venue 45 are still as colourful as ever, two of the box office staff jumped ship this week, fortunately only a few days early and for no particular reason. They'd just had enough.
It's a regular event at the Fringe, on a general scale most staff up here are students, few get paid but receive free accommodation, food and drink in return for their labour.
For years this system worked well, students would do their job and then spend the rest of the time seeing shows, attending events or just simply getting involved.
Sadly recent years have brought commercial change, the massive price hike in the average fringe ticket, from £5/£6 a few years ago to £10/£11 this year has meant that most students are simply just priced out of the market, hence, once they run out of money they run out of town.
As there's only four days left, the remaining box office person, Sarah, is prepared, thankfully, to run the Venue 45 box office alone.
Giles the techie has volunteered his help if required. Sarah did a 15-hour day yesterday without leaving the confines of the venue, and so I've promised to give her some time off today.
I feel remarkably healthy for this late in the festival.
I don't think I've been in bed much before 3am since the beginning of the month, my diet has been one long serving of fried and battered food, and I can't deny I've had the odd beer or two.
Yes, I'm looking forward to our final curtain on Sunday.
COMEDY AND COMPASSION. EDINBURGH, 22 AUGUST
The carnival of shows continues at Venue 45. This week, we start the 16-hour-a-day slog with three children's shows between 1000 and 1400 BST. It's an exhausting start to the day.
As I write, the 1400 show is just getting into full swing with another audience participation rendition of "I love something or another..." I've just made a mental note to take mornings off next year.
It has been an eventful weekend - firstly, the same show received a five-star review from one publication, only to receive a one-star review from another. It seems the critics are perhaps as fickle as some of the performers.
Last night, I went to a comedy show with seven friends who had come up from London for the weekend. The show was billed as being voted the "best late night show" by the Scotsman newspaper.
It turned out we were the only paying audience and after 90 minutes of unprepared tripe from five very average jobbing comedians, it also became apparent that everyone in the room - bar staff, audience and performers were actually all from London.
The irony of travelling 400 miles to pay to watch comedians who were quite possibly on the same train does make this all seem a little tedious, but thus is the Edinburgh Fringe.
On a touching side, a show started at Venue 45 yesterday called Don't Be Afraid To Try, consisting of 10 adults aged between 19 and 75, all with learning, physical disabilities - some more severe than others.
Compered by veteran comedian Charlie Chuck, the characters all take the stage to sing a rendition of a favourite song.
It is a show that defines the fringe in its most compassionate form as a platform for anyone to get on that stage and do it - and believe me, these guys do.
LUXURY. EDINBURGH, 20 AUGUST 2005
The last week of the Fringe is almost upon us; although the last few weeks have flown by, I can't but crave just a little for the routine of life away from Edinburgh.
Late nights and early mornings are taking their toll on both staff and casts. Short tempers accompany the regular hangovers.
We now have two five star shows at Venue 45, and three are selling out on a regular basis. When two of the box office staff depart early next week, things could get a little stretched to say the least.
I managed to blag into the Assembly Rooms' Green Room on Thursday night.
Not hugely exciting I have to say - a few comedians and the odd showbiz agent - the rest seemed to be young female acolytes roaming the room hunting for celebrities.
I'm not sure Jamie Theakston or Bullseye guru Jim Bowen were quite what they were after.
Our accommodation is also very busy. The staff share a house located at the bottom of the Royal Mile.
Last night, friends, boyfriends and girlfriends seemed to arrive in force.
With sleep a premium, I counted 15 bodies wandering around this morning; after four hours sleep I had my fourth cold shower of the festival.
All is not lost though - I've managed to book into the Carlton Hotel on Sunday at a very special weekend rate.
I'm looking forward to a few hours of luxury to refresh the batteries before the 16 hour a day haul starts again on Monday.
FRINGE SPIRIT. EDINBURGH, 18 AUGUST 2005
Over half way through the festival now and after a manic start to the week the venue has settled down.
We have several sell-out shows and the children's show in the morning has just been awarded five stars (the highest accolade for a show at the fringe).
I've had a couple of friends in Edinburgh this week. They seem to have entered into the spirit of the Fringe.
Neither had been before so couldn't quite believe that the pubs are open until the early hours and shows go on throughout the night.
The busiest weekend of the festival is almost upon us
Last night they went to a show at midnight called Spank. It apparently goes on for four hours. I haven't seen them yet today.
The staff at Venue 45 are coping with the late nights - the theatre is now active from 9am until 2am daily.
It's a long day and a perfect environment for tempers to fray. Fortunately at the moment all is well, but the busiest weekend of the festival is almost upon us. Time will tell.
I'm getting out of Edinburgh today, going to find some solace away from the madding crowd at one of the tiny beaches just south east of the city.
If I don't do that at least once during the month then I could quite possibly lose the plot.
COLLAPSING WARDROBES. EDINBURGH, 16 AUGUST 2005
It's been a hectic couple of days and just when I thought things would start to settle down. First, the staff in the box office issued tickets for Piaf with the wrong date - a little confusing for the audience as it's one of our headline shows.
During another show Two - a show about two friends drinking in a pub - an audience member decided he would instigate a little audience participation, not only did he open a can of lager but also lit up a cigarette. The drink was okay, but the cigarette is a definite no no.
If the fire brigade had arrived for one of their spot checks we could have had our licence rebuked. The culprit, a little worse for wear, was escorted from the theatre by our two trusty door man.
Last night, another hiccup: a show arrived on Sunday with wardrobes as props, sadly they were painted in highly flammable oil-based gloss so our stage manager referred them to the fire brigade and under the strict health and safety rules they were rejected.
The company managed to buy a couple of replacement wardrobes and all seemed fine until during their first performance last night one of the wardrobes literally fell apart on stage.
Away from the circus at Venue 45, the festival has entered its busiest week. But I popped into the Pleasance yesterday, one of the festival's profile venues, and it was very quiet. There seems to be a lack of top comedians here this year, there are far fewer well-known faces (Paul Merton apart) and the major push seems to be the likes of Lucy Porter, Simon Amstell and Nicholas Parsons. Tickets aren't cheap either.
I'm hoping things will calm down a little in the venue now; Charlie Chuck, a Fringe comedy veteran, has arrived. His show begins next week, with a cast of disabled actors. He's also hoping to do an impromptu show about his good friend and comedy guru Malcolm Hardee who died earlier this year; I'm trying to schedule this for the weekend. Hopefully we will find a slot.
ROUTINE & RUBBISH. EDINBURGH, 14 AUGUST 2005
It's "Fringe Sunday" today, a one-day festival in the big park in Edinburgh known as the Meadows.
Hundreds of theatre companies are given the opportunity to show off their shows on little stages.
Sadly, the curse of the weather has put paid to that. Rumour has it that the Meadows are currently a Glastonbury-like quagmire!
Venue 45 enters the second week of the festival in good shape, casts and staff are relaxed, if a little tired. I feel remarkably refreshed considering the late nights and early mornings.
The venue party on Friday night gave most the opportunity to meet each other, swap notes and in the odd case become very good friends indeed!
One problem we do have is a rubbish problem! Since last Tuesday a pile of refuge sacks has been growing yards from the theatre's entrance. The council has promised to collect it but nearly a week later the pile is still growing.
It's one thing you become accustomed to in Edinburgh - it's a beautiful city, but incredibly grubby.
Almost everywhere you walk you skip over empty bottles or piles of open refuge sacks and many of the "closes" or "alleys" that run off the Royal Mile are piled head high with rusty cans and rotting paper.
I'm hoping to get out the venue a little more this week; the staff are settled into a daily routine now and with the book and film festivals starting on Monday I'm looking forward to checking them out.
SOMBRE MOOD. EDINBURGH, 12 AUGUST 2005
It's almost the end of the first week of the festival, and I've been here two weeks already.
Time takes on a different dimension here, as anyone who's spent any time at the festival will understand.
Mornings are non-existent, 4pm feels like midday and midnight like 7pm. Edinburgh doesn't sleep.
On the theatre front, shows are already finishing their runs. Some of our staff are also going home.
Wayne, one of the techies, returns to Manchester in preparation for City's first game. "I couldn't miss that," he told me.
Robin Cook's funeral has cast a sombre pall over Edinburgh
Personally, I'm looking forward to Monday when Piaf starts its run. Houses for this show are already looking busy and the theatre company performing it are a venue manager's dream.
The usual mixed bag of reviews are filtering through. For some this can lead to a depressing month.
I'm very conscious of how reviews affect a show. On Wednesday I saw a big-budget show with professional actors and an extensive production team.
The show was okay, but reviews in the Scotsman were poor and I could see the actors were simply going through the motions.
I feel for them. They have another 18 shows to go and audience numbers won't increase.
The mood was sombre on the Royal Mile today, with Robin Cook's funeral taking place at St Giles cathedral, just up the road from our venue.
The Fringe Society has asked street performers to refrain from performing and handing out flyers has been banned as a mark of respect.
It's a strange experience during a time when high spirits and festive banter are the norm.
MAKE OR BREAK. EDINBURGH, 10 AUGUST 2005
The festival is well underway now and after a hectic week the staff and casts at Venue 45 have settled into a routine. The carnival of shows is performing smoothly back to back, confidence is high, and audiences are generally growing by the day.
Shows at the Fringe rely on press reviews to get them in the limelight and ultimately to gain an audience. These are beginning to appear now in the Scotsman newspaper and other less high profile publications.
A review can be the make or break of a show, so tension is high as companies put all their hopes and aspirations in the hands of a stressed and demanding reviewer.
Away from the venue, the staff went out for a few drinks after work on Monday, we ended up in a venue called the Famous Spiegel tent - it's apparently famous for its cabaret acts; to me it was a tent, in a field, with a bar. It was however, absolutely packed, and at 3am on a Tuesday morning that's quite an achievement, even at the Fringe.
The constant moan of this festival so far has been how to understand the Fringe guide - this is the free booklet that lists all the shows performing at the Fringe. I've given up using it, we did watch one elderly gentleman browsing through it in the cafe the other day, he turned it round a couple of times trying to work out how to use one of the several indexes before sighing loudly and tossing it gently in the dustbin.
The venue is getting busier, a procession of audiences, passers-by and generally curious types wander in for a coffee or a cake. I've found myself pretty much tied to the place, washing up, mopping and sweeping floors, and even looking after a guide dog in the cafe during a show. I'd forgotten just how much fun all this was!
THE SHOW GETS GOING. Edinburgh, 8 August 2005
The festival officially starts today. The royal mile has become a hub of activity as thousands of actors, producers and directors compete to get an audience for their show.
The shows at Venue 45 are no different; whilst classic well-known shows are selling well with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe enjoying a sell out, others play to a handful of punters, with one in particular getting a solitary audience member.
Edinburgh's streets are alive with colour and a sense of fun
I wonder if I would make my excuses and leave if I found myself as the only audience member for a show. I mean, when is one supposed to applaud?
One thing I've noticed this year is that the number of venues has markedly increased. When I first came in 1995, the number of venues was around 60 or 70, with most doing some kind of performance art.
Now, there are upwards of 300 venues - quite an expansion in just over a decade. Perhaps, but not quite: on closer inspection of the Fringe programme, which boasts this to be the biggest festival ever, I notice that almost anywhere is a venue now. With hotels, shops, pubs the library and even Lloyds bank listed in the programme.
The Fringe launch party was last night (Sunday), with some of our box office team going along. I've not seen any of them around the theatre yet today, but the grapevine has it that on their return to our accommodation, Arthur's seat, (the sleeping volcano that towers over Edinburgh) looked beautiful as it basked in the early morning sunshine.
Oh yes! Sunshine, it's finally stopped raining.
I run a theatre at the Edinburgh Fringe. During the festival the theatre will host a total of 230 shows.
Eight different shows will perform daily, the first beginning at 10am and the last finishing 16 hours later at 2am.
Since arriving last Saturday the week has been spent turning a church hall buried in the side of the famous Royal Mile into a theatre that will host more than 9,000 theatre-goers over the next three weeks.
The city is moving into "festival mode" - the streets are filling up, bars and restaurants are beginning to buzz with the anticipation of a city that never sleeps.
Edinburgh is gently waking from its year-long snooze.
I popped into the Fringe Society office yesterday - the organisation that administrates the festival. I was hoping to pick up a venue sign, these are generic signs all the theatres receive with their venue number on.
Ours is number 45 and we usually stick it on the front wall of the theatre.
I couldn't believe it when they tried to charge me £20 for the sign. Not only is it supplied by the society's sponsor but it's also covered in the logo of the sponsors beer. The cheek of it!
So much for a festival on a shoestring, clearly someone's making money.
Back at Venue 45 we've finally finished the theatre build, the health, fire and safety inspections have been passed and the box office girls are busy taking ticket reservations.
Elmer the Elephant begins our festival with a sell-out preview show on Friday morning, hopefully the first of many.
P.S. Last August, post-festival, when I left Edinburgh it was and had been raining for weeks. It still is.