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Yianni Agisilaou thinks big for Fringe finale

By | Published on Wednesday 21 August 2013

Yianni Agisilaou

It seems pretty clear now – in case there had ever been any doubt – that the free-show strands at Edinburgh’s Fringe boast shows of all kinds: newcomers trying out their first full hours, big-name stand-ups who enjoy the informality of a free show venue, and Edinburgh favourites who have simply worked out they are financially better off going that route. And across all that there is no shortage of ambition.

Though the Free Fringe act perhaps showing the most ambition this year is Yianni Agisilaou who, having opted to call his show ‘Think Big’, decided to practice what he preaches, and book the Fringe’s biggest venue for his final night, Venue 150 at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre. “I felt my show last year – ‘Numb And Number’ – was good, but I felt that I had stayed inside my comfort zone artistically”, Agisilaou told ThreeWeeks, explaining the background to the ‘Think Big’ venture.

“So this year I wanted to do a show about comfort zones, self belief and what’s possible if we can push outside our self imposed limits. That was where the idea for the Free Fringe show came from. Doing a night at the EICC came out of a desire to not just talk about these things, but to actually DO something to illustrate them. Living my lyrics so to speak”.

Agisilaou, who has performed ‘Think Big’ at The Dram House for the duration of the Festival, will take to the stage at the EICC at 6pm on Sunday 25 Aug. He was able to secure a slot at Venue 150 via a chance conversation. He had originally thought of trying to book the biggest spaces operated by Pleasance or Underbelly, but then took part in one of the roadshow events organised by the Fringe Society earlier this year and mentioned the project to Fringe producer James Seabright.

“We went for a drink after the roadshow, and James told me I should ask Richard from the EICC for a slot, because he was turning up for a beer too. I ran it by him, he told me to send him some information about it, and a week later they’d sent me a contract. They’ve been so supportive of the idea”.

Despite the supportive venue partner for that big final show, it’s still a risky venture for Agisilaou. “Of course there’s a financial risk”, he admits. “I have to pay a guarantee like at any venue, so yes, if I don’t sell enough seats I will lose money. And there’s also the risk of egg on my face if no-one turns up, but I’m not so worried about that. And inside my own mind and heart this is already a success. Though my accountant MAY disagree, the double entry ledger system lacking, as it does, columns for ‘mind’ and ‘heart’”.

If you’d like to prove an accountant wrong – and who wouldn’t? – you can join Yianni for ‘Think Big (The Big One)’ at the EICC on 25 Aug. Tickets are £10 (£8 concession).

And if you help make this the big Fringe finale hit it deserves to be, don’t worry, that won’t result in Agisilaou turning his back on PBH’s Free Fringe. “Performing at the Free Fringe is a choice for me, not something I’m doing because I can’t perform at a paid venue”, he adds. The economics of paid venues are really difficult when you’re under a certain level of fame. I never say never with regard to performing at a paid venue, but if I did that it would be in addition to performing at the Free Fringe”.

LINKS: www.ycomedian.com

Photo: Holli Dillon