The founding principle at the heart of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe - to be an open access arts event that accommodates anyone with a story to tell and a venue willing to host them still regulates the work of the Society today.

It is our policy that no single individual or committee determines who can or cannot perform at the Fringe.

Constituted in 1958 to formalise the presence of more and more performers who came to Edinburgh despite not being included in the programme of the Edinburgh International Festival, upon its creation, the Society took on the role of providing information to artists, publishing the Fringe Programme and creating a central box office. In 1969 the Society was incorporated as a limited company and its constitution published.

Unlike many other festivals our constitution celebrates the fact that the Society shall do no vetting of the Fringe programme. That means we have no artistic director and that the programme is shaped by the very initiative and vision of performers willing to showcase their work here.

The Fringe Society exists to

  • Support, advise and encourage everyone who wants to participate in the Fringe.
  • Provide information and assistance to help audiences curate their own Fringe experience.
  • Promote the Fringe and what it stands for all over the world.
  • Ensure the Fringe Society is sustainable, utilising its resource to the greatest benefit of the Fringe and its constituents

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society is a membership organisation and is open to all. As a member you can play a part in the shaping of the largest arts festival in the world.

Members have the responsibility of electing the Board of Directors, adopting the accounts and appointing the auditors each year. Membership costs £10 per annum to cover administration costs.

Membership sign-up and renewal form

Login to the members area


Following the 2018 Annual General Meeting of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, Stephen Allison and Toby Mitchell have been elected to the Board of Directors. They will each serve a four-year term. Click here for full details on the outcome of the 2018 Board Elections. For a full breakdown of results, Fringe Society members can log into the Fringe Society members area.


The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society has a Board of Directors who oversee our core Fringe Society staff in their year-round work, and who make sure everything is in place to support those who produce and present the world’s biggest explosion of culture every August.

The Board of Directors is elected by members of the Fringe Society and are legally responsible for ensuring that the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society fulfils its charitable objectives. This includes setting the annual budget and ensuring high standards of governance are observed at all times.

Professor Sir Timothy O’Shea (chair)
Anthony Alderson (vice-chair)
Stephen Allison
Sharon Burgess
Fiona Davis
Judith Doherty
Luke Meredith
Toby Mitchell
Susan Morrison
Matt Panesh
Kate Smurthwaite
Richard Wiseman
Tari Lang
John Colin Adams
Gillian Harkness

Board of Directors FAQs

Participants’ Council FAQs

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society has open-access at its core and we aim to make sure that this philosophy runs through everything we do as an organisation. 

The Society is proud to be signed-up to a number of voluntary pledges which support our access, outreach and sustainability ambitions. This includes the Scottish Business Pledge, a voluntary commitment to uphold standards of business practise and to embrace principles of fairness, equality, opportunity and innovation. Our commitments include: paying all employees at least the Living Wage; promoting staff development and training; supporting local businesses and investment in research and innovation.

The Society also works closely with Festivals Edinburgh and Creative Carbon Scotland to reduce our negative environmental impacts. We are proud to be working towards a more sustainable Scotland through participation in the Green Arts Initiative, a project designed to support festivals, venues, companies and audiences in reducing their carbon footprint while participating in the arts.