Fleabag star Phoebe Waller-Bridge set to visit Edinburgh to help Fringe revival

Fleabag star Phoebe Waller-Bridge is set to visit Edinburgh to help the Fringe bounce back from the impact of the pandemic.

Organisers of the festival has revealed the star will be in the city as part of her commitment to help secure the future of the event after being appointed to a figurehead role earlier this year.

The actor, writer and producer, who was unveiled as the first president of the Fringe Society in February, was largely unknown when she launched Fleabag as a stage production at Underbelly’s Cowgate venue in 2013.

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She has been spotted in Scotland recently filming scenes for the new Indiana Jones movie.

Her role with the Fringe Society is said to include a commitment to regularly champion the festival and speak on behalf of the charity overseeing the event.

Fringe Society chief executive Shona McCarthy said: “Phoebe is filming at the moment at the UK, so she has a full-on schedule at the moment, so I can’t say if she for definite is going to be here during the Fringe.

"But I can say that she will definitely be in Edinburgh before the year is through. She is going to be supporting us, meeting the team at the Fringe Society and talking through her role and how she can be supportive of the whole recovery of the Fringe in the coming years.

“She thinks the Fringe is an extraordinary, exceptional thing, which has had a direct impact on her career and her show. It was the Fringe that propelled Fleabag to another level.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge won a Scotsman Fringe First Award with the stage production of Fleabag in 2014. Picture: Esme Allen

"She has asked us what she can do to support the Fringe as she recognises how much the cultural sector as a whole has been deeply affected by the pandemic, but in particular a festival like the Fringe that isn’t publicly funded and an organisation like the Fringe Society that’s had to depend on a loan for our survival.

"She sees her role as being to help, advocate for and champion the Fringe.”

Waller-Bridge said: “In an act of pure artistic heroism, the Fringe Society and thousands of artists, writers, dancers, actors, designers, comedians, musicians and creatives have fought to bring this festival back to the streets of glorious, glittering Edinburgh.

"We have a lot of time to make up for and this festival is more than ready for you.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge was appointed the first honorary president of the Fringe Society earlier this year. Picture: Faye Thomas

“With hundreds of live and online events you can see as many shows in a week than you would have in the whole of last year and we are finally able to reconnect, inspire, surprise and entertain each other like we used to. I’ve never wanted to have a leaflet thrusted at me more.

"We’re being offered a giant cultural sprinkler after a year of drought and I can’t wait to jump through it, shrieking, with you all.”

When Waller-Bridge was appointed the First Society’s first president earlier this year, she said: "From leaking caves to cobbled streets to the glamour of the Traverse Theatre up to Arthur’s Seat, this festival is a beating heart of an industry that has been all but crushed by the pandemic, and I’m proud to be a part of the fight with the Fringe Society for its much needed survival and glorious return.”

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