Edinburgh Fringe organisers to find new HQ under five-year manifesto

The current headquarters is situated on the Royal Mile. Picture: Ian Rutherford
The current headquarters is situated on the Royal Mile. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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Fringe organisers have unveiled plans to find a new permanent headquarters for the Fringe under a five-year “manifesto of big goals” to will take the event to its 75th anniversary in 2022.

The Fringe Society has had a long-time base in the heart of the High Street section of the Royal Mile.

But it has now launched a trawl of the city centre for an alternative home.

Securing the new base is tied in with another key manifesto aim of ensuring the Fringe is the “most accessible festival in the world for participants and audiences”.

Shona McCarthy, chief excutive of the Fringe Society, said the new base would be accessible year-round to participants and audiences.

Other key aims in the manifesto include ensuring that the Fringe stages “the world’s greatest street festival” in future by overhauling where it allows performers to stage free shows.

It emerged last month that new arrangements for street entertainment would be put in place this summer to 
cope with the growing number of festival-goers descending on parts of the Old Town.

Ms McCarthy said the Fringe also wanted to expand its work with schools in the city, starting with initiatives to coincide with the Scottish Government’s Year of Young People in 2018.

She also announced that the Fringe would be expanding a scheme launched last year which saw thousands of tickets and travel passes given away via 26 charities.

Ms McCarthy said: “We used the 70th anniversary to listen to many voices, people from Fringe present, and the insights and ideas of people who have helped make this festival over the past 70 years. We listened to positives and negatives and where concerns are raised we will act to find constructive ways forward.

“We also used the 70th as an opportunity to invite conversations about what the future of the Fringe might look like and from that we have developed a manifesto of big goals to take us to the 75th anniversary.

“We aim to secure a new home for all our services and provide a public-facing home to welcome our local and global Fringe constituency, participants and audience members year round.

“We will create a new look and orientation of our free Fringe street events, now the biggest street festival in the world.

“The streetscape should better reflect that status, better showcase performers, provide a quality introduction to the whole world of the Fringe and easier navigation and access for audiences.

“We will strive to make the Fringe the most accessible festival in the world for participants and audiences. We will lead in removing barriers to access and create new models of best practice.”