Working-class Scots will get more help to perform at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Shona McCarthy, executive director of the Fringe Society. Photo: Lisa Ferguson

Year-round support will be offered to five producers under a new pilot scheme to make it easier to create work for working-class Scots at Fringe 2023.

The program, which targets new Fringe producers, will launch during the final week of this year’s festival.

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Successful applicants will receive funding of £500 to help new and emerging producers attend the shows and to cover travel, accommodation and other expenses.

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society is creating a new scheme offering working-class Scots financial support and mentorship to work at next year’s event.

A three-day introductory program at the festival’s Fringe Central hub will include workshops, talks and networking events with artists, producers, venues and industry representatives.

A year-long mentorship program involving Fringe Society staff, venues and producers will offer advice on everything from budgets, fundraising, marketing and professional development to finding venues and accommodation.

However, the program is not intended to cover the production costs of Fringe shows in 2023.

The program is open to applications from producers over the age of 18 who have never presented work at the Fringe before, are based in Scotland year-round and identify as working class.

The Fringe will celebrate its 75th anniversary in August. Photo: David Monteith-Hodge

Applicants are asked to indicate the occupation of the main income earner in their household when they were 14 years old and if they were entitled to free school meals.

The Fringe Society has also revived a program for emerging producers across the UK, launched in 2012, which will also give priority to working-class creatives.

Both programs were launched months after the Fringe Society pledged to “dismantle” barriers preventing people from attending the event.

Writing in the Fringe Society’s annual review, new president Benny Higgins said the “hard reset” imposed on the event by the pandemic had created a unique opportunity for the festival to become “more sustainable, more diverse, more inclusive and more affordable.

A full-scale Edinburgh Festival Fringe is set to be staged in August. Photo: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

Last month, Fringe Society CEO Shona McCarthy announced that a new blueprint for the future of the event would be released over the summer, after months of discussions with artists, producers and venue managers, who she said would set clear goals and promise to improve the “accessibility, diversity and sustainability” of the event.

Ms McCarthy said today: ‘The Fringe prides itself on being open to artists of all backgrounds, whether you are just starting out or at the peak of your career.

“There are many ways for low-income artists to access the festival, including participating in the free models, being part of the street artist community, exploring the ‘Pay What You Can’ models, and examining artists’ collectives or divisions of places.

“Our team is here to help you find the option that’s right for you.

“An important part of our work is to identify areas where additional support is needed for creatives and to help overcome additional barriers.

“We have worked closely with our strategic partner, Common Theater, to produce the Working Class Producer Mentorship, to provide a year-round support program for creatives who identify with working class and whose main role is that of self-production producer. producer artist.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing the great work this will create at the Fringe in 2023.”


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