May 27, 2022
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society believes that this year’s event will see a ‘renaissance’. Photo: Jeff J. Mitchell / Getty Images

A change in the way the world’s largest arts festival is overseen is being called upon to help address long-standing concerns, calling it a “performance landscape to play”. Has been stated.

Independent research into the future of Fringe – led by grassroots companies, organizations and producers – recommends official standards or, for the first time, “best practice” guidelines for all shows registered for the program. Is applied. The “Edge of the Future” research, published ahead of the event’s 75th anniversary season, found that having a clear set of rules for the first time would help ensure it becomes “better, better and more sustainable”. ۔

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The research, promoted by the French Society, found a lack of “accountability” on key aspects of the event, as well as a lack of clarity on who should lead efforts to improve it.

A University of Edinburgh-funded study found that the event was damaged by a “development mindset” that exacerbated the problems and recommended that stakeholders, including the Frank Society, the City Council, the University of Edinburgh and venues , Pledge to make changes next year.

The 2019 franchise presented a record 3841 shows at 323 locations, and for the first time attracted an audience of over three million.

However, Future Franz’s research claims that “no matter what the cost” has been the pressure to keep the event going, while its open access ethics have led to a lack of code.

Research shows that it has become more financially difficult to participate in programs than anywhere else in the UK – which has historically been open to anyone who can secure a place.

This raises concerns that despite overseeing the festival, the French society’s tendency to “disassociate itself from decision-making”, as well as its insistence on maintaining a “neutral position”, was contributing to the high cost of participation. ۔

The groups and companies that led the research included Staging Change, Greenhouse Theater, Fringe of Color, Birds of Paradise and Powerplay.

The research states: “Fringe has a developmental mindset. Bigger is not always better, and the emphasis on development exacerbates existing problems in the fringe environment.

“The idea of ​​an ‘open access’ festival sounds great on paper. In practice, it limits the reach of the festival, creating a ‘pre-perform’ scenario that is taxing financially and emotionally. Is.

“A common set of standards can help ensure it’s better, fairer and more sustainable.

“This moment is a unique opportunity to set a precedent for the fringe described and created by stakeholders at every level.”

Shona McCarthy, chief executive of the French Society, said: “The epidemic has had a devastating effect on France and the thousands of artists and organizations that bring it to life. Kind of want to build a future together.

The Fringe Society is launching an extensive research project with ScotInform to find out what it looks like, talking to a wide range of people and organizations about what kind of festival they want to see. The report will definitely add to that.

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