Fleabag creator first EdFringe Pres

Feb 19 2021 | By More

EdFringe creates new President role

Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the creator of Fleabag, has been announced as the first honorary President of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society today, Friday 19 February 2021.

Describing EdFringe as “an annual cultural revolution” and “the beating heart of an industry that has been all but crushed by the pandemic,” she says she is proud to be a part of the fight for the fringe’s “survival and glorious return”.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Pic: Faye Thomas

The new position will see Waller-Bridge act as a representative and advocate for the Edinburgh fringe, attending select events and speaking on behalf of the Society where appropriate. The appointment was unanimously confirmed earlier this month (February 2021) by the Society’s Board of Directors.

The role of President is an honorary position and does not hold any legal responsibility or liability. They may attend general meetings of the society but not vote at them, and they can not be a director of the Society.

According to the Fringe Society’s constitution: “The President shall be an individual who is committed to the aims of the Society and who wishes to be associated with the Society and who in the opinion of the Directors should be appointed as the President.”

an annual cultural revolution

Speaking about her appointment, Waller-Bridge said: “The Edinburgh Fringe has staged an annual cultural revolution for decades. It’s where thousands of writers, comedians, performers and artists cut their teeth and put their most raw work out into the world.

“Whether it’s a two hander in a shoebox, a gig in a van, a promenade through the streets or a mammoth musical epic, this festival is a global symbol of artistic freedom and experimentation. It relies on its audiences and it relies on its artists.

“It’s where the relationship between the two is feverishly consummated, sometimes with great success, sometimes with awkward fumbles behind an inflatable cow, but always with unbridled passion and creativity.

“From leaking caves to cobbled streets to the glamour of the Traverse Theatre up to Arthur’s seat, this festival is a beating heart of an industry that has been all but crushed by the pandemic, and I’m proud to be a part of the fight with the Fringe Society for its much needed survival and glorious return.”

serious work to do

Shona McCarthy, the Society’s Chief Executive, expressed her delight at Waller-Bridge’s appointment saying: “Her work, her legacy and her passion for the Fringe is truly inspiring, and her journey since bringing Fleabag to the Fringe in 2013 has been nothing short of remarkable.

“We know we’ve got serious work to do to overcome the challenges that Covid has brought to our sector. The Fringe Society is here to keep advocating for the Fringe and the thousands of amazing creatives who make it happen every year. I am absolutely thrilled to have the fantastic Phoebe in our corner, championing those calls.”

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe will take place from Friday 6 to Monday 30 August 2021, either digitally, or live, or both. Further information on planning for the 2021 festival in light of the Coronavirus pandemic can be found at edfringe.com.

Waller-Bridge came to prominence at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2013 with her one-woman play Fleabag at Underbelly. The show earned an Olivier Award nomination and a Special Commendation from the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, and was subsequently adapted for TV.


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