London tries to stage its own Fringe
EDINBURGH's famous Fringe Festival faces competition from a budget version to be staged in London.
Promoter Greg Tallent hopes to have more than 100 venues on offer for his fledgling London Festival Fringe next August after staging a pilot this summer.
He plans to persuade dozens of London venues to stage new productions and ask existing shows to allow themselves to be promoted under one banner.
Mr Tallent said his event, which goes head to head on the same dates as next year's Fringe, would have the same ethos as the Edinburgh extravaganza, which dates back to 1947, and be "open to all". Any company can be included in the Edinburgh Fringe programme as long as it pays an administration fee.
The London Festival Fringe is expected to embrace music, theatre, film, comedy, street theatre and poetry.
Mr Tallent, director of the new event, was behind the London Bridge Festival, which featured more than 200 events in 30 venues over 15 days. He held a summit of theatre operators in London yesterday as he unveiled plans for the 2010 festival.
Mr Tallent, a former stand-up comic, said: "The main reason for having the event in August is that it is the best time to do something like this in London. There are so many events on at the time and ideally we would like to have them on under our banner.
"It's also the busiest time of the year in the city, although accommodation isn't full and there are a lot of student halls available.
"We want to see London established as the arts capital of the world. So many artists are living and working in the city. I don't see a problem with having the same dates as Edinburgh and it may be that people will be able to perform at both festivals.
"However, it will be much cheaper to put on a show in London than take it up to Edinburgh because of all the transport and accommodation costs that are involved."
Industry experts have long warned of growing threats to Edinburgh's status as a global festivals destination and a major study resulted in a new body, Festivals Edinburgh, which promotes all of the capital's major events around the world and helps co-ordinate joint programming and fundraising initiatives.
The Scotsman also revealed fears earlier this month that Edinburgh's festivals – worth more than 200 million to the city's economy – were facing a major funding crisis due to problems attracting new sponsors and expected cuts in public funding.
But despite concerns over the impact of the economic downturn, this year's Fringe saw record ticket sales of more than 1.8million, notching up a 21 per cent rise on its previous record, set in 2007.
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Tuesday 18 June 2013
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