Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Make Me a Star, Karen; A Single Mum Turned Festival Grand Dame

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Make Me a Star, Karen; A Single Mum Turned Festival Grand Dame

Article excerpt

Byline: DIANA PLATER

EDINBURGH Festival Fringe grand dame Karen Koren (pictured, left) has a reputation for making Australians famous.

And she's just added some new names to her batch, with the 2009 Fringe attracting sell-out audiences to a record-breaking number of shows.

As Artistic Director of Gilded Balloon, one of the Fringe's main venues, Koren has been responsible for discovering a long list of Aussie comedians and performers including Tim Minchin, Wil Anderson, Adam Hills and Wendy Harmer.

Koren, a former dancer, founded the Gilded Balloon on Cowgate in Edinburgh in 1986, which was a little studio theatre. She says she got into the game as a single parent, working with friends in the theatre.

"Some of my friends started doing stand-up comedy. I put them on ... it snowballed; it was a hobby and a laugh.

"... I just needed a laugh and then it became more serious, they became so big."

The club helped launch the careers of a range of international acts including Bill Bailey, Rhona Cameron, Eddie Izzard, Peter Kay, Dylan Moran and Sean Hughes. …

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