EdFringe has 2020 contingency plan

Apr 3 2020 | By More

EdFringe prepared if Covid-19 restrictions lifted

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society has announced that it has contingency plans to support venues and artists in the unlikely occurrence that restrictions due to Covid-19 are lifted in time for an event to take place in August 2020.

An email message from the Society’s Participant Services team on Thursday 2 April says there are plans to support venues and artists who wanted to stage work, “should restrictions be lifted” and “public health officials deem it safe to do so”.

The EdFringe 2020 Logo

The email says: “We could offer all our usual ticketing and show listings information online at tickets.edfringe.com as quickly and easily as possible. If budget considerations allow, we could undertake a local concentrated digital marketing campaign for audiences.”

The tone of the email echoes one from the Assembly, Gilded Balloon, Pleasance and Underbelly venues to their companies and performers, quoted in the Scotsman.

The message says: “Whilst we are suspending our activity for the foreseeable future, if there is any chance that we might rekindle the spark of a Festival Fringe at our venues in August 2020 and rebuild an event for this summer, we will certainly try – for all those artists who want to show their work and for the whole festival community who depend on the Fringe, as well as for Edinburgh as it seeks to rebuild after the lockdown.

“Obviously, any potential to rebuild our festival would have to have the sanction of national and local authorities, the health service, the emergency services and our landlords; and, most importantly, it would need the wholehearted support of the public and our artists.”

Edinburgh-based companies

Such an event would not doubt be of most interest to Edinburgh-based companies. However, the message coming through from local amateur companies is that they have either cancelled their plans for EdFringe 2020 and are looking to resume performances in the Autumn, or have postponed the productions to 2021.

The other option is to create some kind of online presence. Some companies are examining other options. Grid Iron, for example, says in its latest email that they are “re-grouping to see how we can still have a creative presence this August to ensure that the spirit of the Fringe carries on.”

The main thrust of the email from the Society’s Participant Services team is to thank the Fringe community for its support and outline the ways in which the Society is hoping to continue its own support for the fringe community during the Covid-19 crisis.

Here is the full text of the email from the Society’s Participant Services team:

Fringe 2020: what we’re doing now

Following on from our announcement yesterday, we wanted to reaffirm what the Fringe Society is all about and how the next few months might look for all of us. We’d also like to offer our heartfelt thanks for the massive show of support and affection that greeted the announcement – that strong sense of community and shared values will be what drives us forward in the immediate future.

As you may already know, the Fringe Society is the charity which underpins the framework of the festival. We take the lead on helping all parties – including audiences, shows and venues – navigate the Fringe, providing advice, guidance and support to everyone who wishes to take part. Yesterday’s announcement does not change who we are and what we do – we remain very much here to continue to support the festival as much and in as many ways as we can.

You may also know the Fringe Society receives very little public funding, so to ensure we can continue to provide this service in the coming months and beyond, we’ve been in extensive talks with the City of Edinburgh Council, Scottish Government, our sponsors, donors and friends. In the coming days, we’ll be applying for all the current government support available, including the job retention scheme which will see us furloughing some of our operating staff. These measures will provide some stability in the short term. But we have more work to do in order to ensure continuity a few months down the road, so that the Fringe Society will be there to support whatever activity may take place on the Fringe.

Should restrictions be lifted, public health officials deem it safe to do so, and venues and artists emerge in August with stages for work needing to be performed, we have plans in place to ensure we can support that as quickly and as much as we can. We could offer all our usual ticketing and show listings information online at tickets.edfringe.com as quickly and easily as possible. If budget considerations allow, we could undertake a local concentrated digital marketing campaign for audiences.

Right now, our core team will continue to support companies and venues by providing impartial, fact-based information and signposting to any advice and guidance which sit beyond our abilities and remit. We’ll also stay in touch with the media and arts industry as necessary to ensure your work remains as visible as possible.

We’ll continue our commitment to supporting the ecology of the Fringe by evolving our artist development service and advancing work we’ve already begun with partners to find ways to reduce barriers to participation – a bolstering which feels perhaps more vital now and in the coming months. Further to this, we hope to develop online presentations like our FringeCasts to update you all with new information.

In short, the Fringe Society will remain here to continue the work we do and to support those artists and all the other stakeholders which make up the festival. We will also continue to update our artist advice pages.

If you need to get in touch with us, please email participants@edfringe.com and bear with us as we navigate this new terrain.


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