Fringe Central provides a series of free seminars and workshops for fringe participants looking to learn more about the industry and further their skills. In Conversation with... Comedy was a panel discussion for people who wanted to pursue a career in comedy.

The events for fringe participants run by Fringe Central are a very worthwhile scheme.

On the panel were four comedians with a wide and impressive range of experiences to describe and share; Tom Shillue and Eddie Pepitone, from the US, Hannah Gadsby of Australia, and Stuart Goldsmith, who rather exotically hails from Bristol. They were chaired by Barry Church-Woods, the Venue & Companies Manager for the Fringe Society, who had brought them together because of their diverse range of experiences in the industry, in addition to their success as stand-up comedians. Barry knowledgeably led the lively discussion, coming across as well-prepped yet open to wherever the talk might organically lead.

The comics were all very honest and generous with their advice; there was a real sense that they were here to advise rather than entertain. Tom's strongest recommendation was to "just do things" every day instead of merely thinking about them. Stuart, who runs a website called comedianscomedian.com with lots of usual information for new comics, agreed that starting a podcast series gave him a regular creative output, which has helped him feel focused and productive. They all spoke about the benefits of learning to network without making it feel like networking; take pride in your work and accept opportunities without getting in the way of yourself. Eddie remembered how he had been antagonistic to people who could have helped him early on in his career because he thought that he was rebelling, although it was probably due to nerves. Hannah, on how she chooses to work, said she has to "remove yourself from life and just watch". Surround yourself with people you like and people who you can do things for. Competition in the industry is, mostly a myth. Immerse yourself in what you want to do, "hold onto your peers and then you will all rise together - like balloons!".

The events for fringe participants run by Fringe Central are a very worthwhile scheme and, most importantly, all the panellists give their time freely to inform the next generation of comics, making it an even greater initiative.

Tom Shillue is performing Impossible at the Assembly Rooms, Eddie Repitone is performing RIP America: It's Been Fun and Stuart Goldsmith is performing Extra Life at the Pleasance, and Hannah Gadsby is performing The Exhibitionist at Assembly Studios.

Reviews by Cara Ballingall

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Since you’re here…

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You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
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Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
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Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
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The Blurb

The Fringe Society chats with comedians at the top of their game. Hear how they started out, what they consider their career highs and lows and what they would do differently. Previous guests include Ed Byrne, Sean Hughes, Caroline Rhea and Greg Proops. Guests will be announced on Twitter through @fringecentral.

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