Save the Fringe

Aug 24 2021 | By More

Year-round Fringe centre part of £7.5 million campaign

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society is to include a year-round fringe centre in Edinburgh as part of a £7.5 million “Save the Fringe” fundraising campaign to secure its long-term revival after Covid.

The funding campaign is expected to take three to five years and the exact criteria for distributing the fund will be announced following a series of consultations, hosted by the Fringe Society in autumn/winter 2021, to “better understand the individual needs of various stakeholders”.

The Fringe Shop could be joined by a year-round Fringe centre.

Save the Fringe will be just the starting point for a wider Fringe revival following the devastating impact of covid-19 according to the society, which has published a set of seven guiding principles for the campaign.

The Society says that Edinburgh’s residents, artists, venues, producers and local businesses will be among those invited to explore ways the festival can develop and improve.

It adds that the funding will then “support a renaissance for the Fringe in the future”, led by the Society’s findings. More details on the consultations will be announced in the coming weeks.

“Recovery isn’t about going back to how things were. It’s about reimagining the Fringe as the best version of itself and using this moment of pause to reflect and change,” according to Shona McCarthy, the Society’s chief executive.

“We want everyone – from residents and local business owners to artists, operators and audience members – to have their say on what that looks like. And we’ll need support to make that vision a reality.”

The seven principles of the Save the Fringe campaign

Support artists and venues who bring work to the Fringe
Break down barriers to participation in the Fringe
Build and support sustainable practices across the festival
Deepen engagement with Edinburgh residents
Extend engagement with young people – particularly from underrepresented areas of our city
Create opportunities for network building and professional development for artists and arts industry across Fringe platforms
Secure a new home for the Fringe Society to provide a year-round space for artists, community groups and schools.

Describing the last 18 months as “the most challenging in the Fringe’s history”, McCarthy recognised that everyone concerned – from artists and venues up to the fringe society itself, has experienced huge losses.

She said: “I’m so proud of what’s been achieved in 2021, and in so many ways, this year’s festival was a success. Over 940 shows were brought to life, incredible new venues were created in the most imaginative of spaces, and audiences flocked back to experience the magic of the Fringe.

“But it can’t be stressed enough: this does not mean the Fringe is back to health. 2021’s scaled-back event only happened because of emergency grants, and in many cases, loans that now need to be repaid.

“We want to ensure the Fringe that returns reflects the world we live in – not just those who can afford to keep going.”


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