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Fair Pley

Established in 2003, Fair Pley is a Glasgow-based arts production company that produces, develops and promotes a range of events including theatre, comedy, music, spoken word and special events.

Fair Pley works collaboratively with a range of actors, musicians, performers, playwrights, and poets on projects that include commissioning and touring original drama, publishing and music production, as well as producing the “Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas” (CODI), an ongoing public engagement project delivered in collaboration with Edinburgh’s universities.

Amy Andrada, Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas

Now in its tenth year, CODI takes academics out from their traditional university settings to debate and discuss their cutting-edge research with paying audiences at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and monthly throughout the year at the Stand Comedy Club. All CODI shows are hosted by a professional comedian.

Established at the Fringe in 2003 by all four of Edinburgh’s universities, CODI has performed over 300 shows, mainly in Edinburgh, but also at the Belfast Imagine Festival, Leeds Literary Festival and Glasgow International Comedy Festival, as well as at other academic institutions in Scotland.

The Challenge

Fair Pley regularly undertakes evaluation of CODI, both of audience members (at the end of each show) and performers (by survey). However, evaluating the audience experience at live events is always challenging. This is particularly true at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe where most CODI shows currently take place. Fringe shows rarely enjoy exclusive use of venues and consequently, there are almost always tight time constraints, especially in terms of show start times, duration, and turnaround – get-in and get-out arrangements.

Dr Ross Donaldson, Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas.

It is important for CODI to understand how effective the shows have been in improving public understanding of research for attendees. Fair Pley currently collect some quantitative data from audiences, but they do not have a quick and effective way to capture qualitative information and assess the audience experience.

Fair Pley’s challenge is to develop a new evaluation mechanism or tool for CODI to collect feedback from audiences at the end of a show in a fun and engaging way, creating opportunities for increased levels of post-show interaction between the audience and the individual CODI performers.

Collecting more qualitative data would enable Fair Pley to demonstrate CODI’s effectiveness to current and future funders and partners as a mechanism for public engagement and assist in the development of new market opportunities. It would also inform the CODI training programme for researchers taking part as performers and provide feedback to help researchers improve their own public engagement work.

Applications for this Challenge Project are now closed. If you have any questions about this challenge, contact us at creativeinformatics@ed.ac.uk.


If you are interested in responding to this challenge please contact the Creative Informatics team.

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