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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 August 2006, 09:47 GMT 10:47 UK
Odd jobs at the Edinburgh Fringe
By Charles Pamment
BBC News

With the annual launch of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe comes a bizarre array of short-term job opportunities attracting theatre lovers eager to experience the world's biggest arts festival.

The traditional festival job involves long hours, poor accommodation and very little money, and this year is no exception.

THE RICKSHAW DRIVER

Will Roper, at the Fringe
It is Will's first visit to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Will Roper's job is not easy. He drives a cycle rickshaw - and Edinburgh's relentless hills do not make life easy.

"This is my fourth day and I'm shattered. Cycling up The Mound is an absolute nightmare," says Will, from Lyme Regis.

The average rickshaw driver cycles up to 30 miles per day in and around the city.

Fares depend on the length of journey, how many hills and, more interestingly, the weight of the person taking the ride.

Will can charge as little as 1 for a downhill trip, but if you want a city tour then the fare is more likely to be about 25.

Will rents his bike from the council at a cost of 120 for the day shift. He is keen to do the more lucrative night shift, but he can't get access to a rickshaw at the moment.

"The more experienced guys seem to get the nights. Maybe later in the festival I'll get something".

THE SHOW ANNOUNCER

May Cox
I'm not here for the money; I just love the social experience of the Fringe
May Cox

Standing in a busy courtyard outside one of the key Fringe venues, May Cox shouts details of the impending show and tells the audience when it is time to take their seats.

"It's a fun job, but it does have its moments," says May.

"I announced the children's show Silly Billy Bum Breath the other day and got some very strange looks!"

"The worst scenario is when you announce a show and there isn't a single audience member - now that can be embarrassing."

May gets food vouchers, accommodation and small amount of money for her 12-hour daily shifts.

"I'm not here for the money - I just love the social experience of the Fringe."

THE BANNER MAN

Wayne Garnett, at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Wayne's job unites his profession with his favourite hobby

This is Wayne Garnett's third festival - he treats it as a working holiday.

A theatre technician by trade and a keen rock climber, Wayne has found a way of making some extra cash by combining his skills.

On any given day, he can be found scaling the varied heights of the Edinburgh skyline, mounting advertising banners on the side of city buildings.

"They call it the windy city - and they're not wrong," says Wayne, precariously balanced midway up a building on the Royal Mile.

THE LEAFLETEER

Jane Gourlay, at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Jane tries to find spectators for Edinburgh's many shows

Jane Gourlay works for a leafleting agency; she hands out about 500 flyers each day for some 25 different shows.

She gets paid 6.50 per hour, and works up to 12 hours each day.

"I tend to chat to the person about the show, so it's more of a marketing service really," explains Jane.

"Some people just hand them out and say nothing".

THE COLLECTOR

Kim Harfitt, at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe
A job helps supplement the cost of visiting the Fringe

Kim Harfitt picks up the flyers which other people throw away.

The 20-year-old student spends her day wandering around the festival courtyards collecting up hundreds of flyers and disposing of them in recycling bins.

She is paid 5.35 per hour and has a discount card for drinks and food.

"I quite often just follow the person handing out the flyers and collect the flyer when they are discarded - often just a few seconds later!"

THE PRESS OFFICER

Tracey Fisher, Fringe press office
We guide people through the process of trying to get an audience
Tracey Fisher

Tracey Fisher works at the Fringe press office and expects to spend up to 14 hours a day in the office during the three week festival.

The job has plenty of variety. One minute she'll be on the phone to the New York Times, and the next dealing with disgruntled students desperate to sell tickets for their show.

"I suppose we guide people through the process of trying to get an audience," says Tracey.

Like most Fringe workers, Tracey is on a short-term contract. She certainly isn't in Edinburgh for the money.

Her advice to fellow Fringe job seekers: "Just don't work out what you get paid an hour!"


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