What is the future of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe?
The Fringe has grown to a mammoth event – indeed the world’s largest of its kind. But do we really understand the impact of the size on the quality of the Festival? Could it be that the stem is too weak to support the bloom?
My first encounter with the Edinburgh Fringe was in 1983, when I brought my production of Dialogue with a Dying Man by Michael Almaz. We performed in the Little Lyceum, located in a “hole in the ground”, more or less where The Traverse Theatre now stands. Despite being a serious drama in a midnight slot we got great audiences and very good reviews. I fell in love with the city and above all with this intoxicating Festival.
In 1990 I returned with my Ab Ovo Theatre Company. We hired Hill Street Theatre, produced four of our own productions and hosted 21 others. We broke even and I decided to continue as an Edinburgh Festival Fringe venue producer.
This year could have been my 27th Festival as a venue producer, but it isn’t. I am stopping, not because I am bored of it but because it has changed into something I can’t support anymore. For me it has lost its artistic purpose and is shifting to a structure that is profitable for some shareholders and ruinous for artists. I really don’t like the direction the Festival is going with its unscrupulous and often unlawful cut-throat competition. Continue reading “What is the future of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe?”