How to take a show to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and keep working when you’re 80 by Lynn Ruth Miller


Are you taking a show to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival? What’s it like to perform at the Fringe? What are the benefits? Can you make money at the Fringe? Should you employ a publicist? Is it worth standing in the streets handing out flyers? Is it worth performing at open mics? How important is networking?

In this Cabaret Secrets Podcast Lynn Ruth Miller shares truly valuable advice and how to make your Fringe show a success. “What’s going to make you famous in Edinburgh,” she says, “is a great show”. Word of mouth is the key to success in Edinburgh. Lynn Ruth has never lost money in Edinburgh and is happy for anyone to reach out to her for more advice. Here’s her email address:

We talk about a lot of stuff so if you want to get right to the Edinburgh bit, it’s around 35 mins in.

Lynn Ruth has been delighting audiences on both sides of the Atlantic with her critically acclaimed shows, book readings and handicraft classes. At 71 she launched her singing career, appeared on Britain’s Got Talent and then embarked on a short tour of Russia.

Despite the thousands of no’s and millions of “call me later’s”, she’s won accolades and awards across the United States and here in the UK including the Time Out and Soho Theatre Award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The Scotsman described her as “a poster girl for growing old disgracefully.”

Lynn Ruth cares passionately about her work, rehearses and prepares tirelessly and if something goes wrong she wants to find out why. Paraphrasing Henry David Thoreau, Ruth told me, “Build your castles in the air and then build the steps to get there,” she adds, “The important thing is you have to enjoy the steps. If you don’t enjoy the steps, throw out the castle and get another one. It takes work, but the work isn’t slavery, it’s a joy. The trick when doing a show,” she says, “is to get a bunch of strangers to come to the same conclusion that you do.”

What keeps driving Lynn Ruth to keep working so hard? “Because,” she tells me, “if I put my mind to it and I work hard enough, I KNOW I CAN! We need to ask ourselves, what is it about this that people should take their time to see? The audience is the most precious thing we’ve got and we owe them. Steve Martin said, ‘Always remember to dress better than they do,’ you’re showing them that you care about being there. The audience is why you’re there. For years I wrote books and every sentence I wrote was selling them to read the next sentence. I want to keep people interesting.

We talk about dealing with tough audiences and performances that don’t really work, the need to be loved and dealing with fear, insecurity and anger. Lynn Ruth philosophy on life, “Being human is a marvellous adventure… if you let it.”

Recorded in London 20th June 2014.

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