Fringe names new hub

Apr 19 2023 | By More

Infirmary Street venue preferred for Community Hub

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society has named the South Bridge Resource Centre on Infirmary Street as its preferred site for a new Community Hub, using the £7 million allocated to it in the UK Government’s spring budget.

The Society has now approached the City of Edinburgh Council to take on a long term lease of the building. The request will be considered by the finance and resources committee this Tuesday 25 April 2023.

The Fringe Society emphasises that the funding from the Spring Budget is fully ring-fenced against capital investment to meet the Levelling Up agenda. The Society will continue to use its convening power to lobby for additional financial support for artists and venues.

The South Bridge Resource Centre, sandwiched between the Dovecot Studio and Cafe Nero on Infirmary Street. Pic: Thom Dibdin

EdFringe Chief Executive Shona McCarthy said: “The conversion of this space into a year-round Fringe community hub will allow local cultural organisation, artists and our community partners, the opportunity to utilise this space too.

“In the long-term it will allow a permanent home for our August participants hub, known as Fringe Central, for whom artists, arts industry, media and international delegates access each summer for a range of workshops, networking and industry events.

“We look forward to working with colleagues at the Council as plans for this space evolve as well as deepening existing and building new relationships with community groups in the City.”

Sandwiched between Cafe Nero and the Dovecot Studios, the one-time school building is currently the year-round home of the Canongate Youth community group and is used by Greenside Venues during the Fringe. Previously known as the South Bridge Centre it was the home of the SCDA’s script library until 2013.

a vibrant, mixed use community space

The Society says it has proposed that Canongate Youth remain a tenant of the building. It adds: “Other small arts and cultural organisations may also be offered the opportunity to co-exist, creating a vibrant, mixed use community space for all and a hub for the Fringe Society’s services and team during August and year-round.”

The Society says that the building’s proximity to the existing footprint of the Fringe is a key consideration for choosing the building and that Canongate Youth have been receptive to the idea of the Fringe Society working to improve the building and make it more accessible; by securing and maintaining the space for community and cultural use.


Greenside Venues will not be effected for Fringe 2023, although Greenside directors, Tara and Darren, say that use of the venue was never a permanent option since it took it on seven years ago. This year it will have five performance spaces and almost 100 shows in the building.

Tara and Darren said: “While its reality is undeniably bittersweet, we find solace in knowing that this beautiful, historic building will remain an integral part of the Fringe landscape for many years to come.

“We have been meticulously planning for this moment, ensuring a seamless transition to ensure we can continue to provide a welcoming Fringe home for almost 200 shows every year across our venues. We have ambitious and exciting plans for Fringe 2024 and beyond, and we eagerly anticipate sharing more details with you in the near future.”

huge potential

Clare Jamieson, Canongate Youth Manager added: “We are delighted to be involved in early-stage conversations around the future of South Bridge Resource Centre with the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society.

“The building has huge potential, and we welcome the opportunity to explore this further, and most importantly how future developments could benefit children and young people who use CY services and the wider local community.”

The UK Government allocated £8.6 million to the Edinburgh festivals in this year’s Spring budget. £1.6 million of that was to the EIF and the remainder to the Fringe.


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