A major review of how the organisation that underpins the Edinburgh Festival Fringe is governed has concluded this weekend with members of the Festival Fringe Society agreeing to adopt a new constitution.

The changes have been shaped by the findings of the biggest ever consultation carried out by the Fringe Society. Over the last year 2,000 people have completed online surveys or attended special meetings to discuss ideas for updating structures that have remained largely untouched for forty years.

With a diverse range of views expressed by performers, producers, venue operators and audience members it fell to a working group of board members to pull it altogether into a single proposal.

Amongst the key changes agreed today are:

  • The establishment of a Participants’ Council designed to give performers, producers and venue operators a right to be consulted by the board for the first time ever.
  • Reserved places on the Fringe Society board for performers and venue operators.
  • Appointing additional members of the board to ensure the highest possible levels of expertise.

Speaking after the Extraordinary General Meeting that adopted the new constitution, Tommy Sheppard, a member of the Fringe Society board and the working group that has led the review process, said:

"I am very pleased that the work carried out over the last year has received the endorsement of Society members.

"When the board decided to carry out the first root-and-branch review of the Fringe Society’s constitution in forty years we agreed that building a consensus on what changes should be made was important. That is why over the last year we have held the most extensive consultation ever in the Fringe’s sixty four year history.

"In the last year over 2,000 people have either responded to one of our online surveys or attended one of our special meetings. Through this process participants in the consultation have listened to each other, recognised the validity of each other’s views and strived to find common ground. There are many people within the Fringe community who have changed their initial position to take account of the views and opinions that they have heard expressed as the discussions have progressed.

"The new constitution includes a different approach to how we form the Society’s Board so that it will always have within it the voices of performers and venues. This is to ensure that the Board will know the impact of its every decision on the venues and performers who are integral to the Fringe’s success and was one of the key things that came out of the consultation.

"Another new initiative is the Participants’ Council. The council is designed to make sure that the views and opinions of those people whose creativity and drive makes the Fringe happen each year are heard. This was an idea that was raised during the consultation process by a range of different people. Our hope is that the Participants’ Council will flourish and grow into a strong voice setting out ideas and initiatives that will contribute to the growth and development of the Fringe in years to come.

"Reforming the governance structures of any charity is never the most exciting work done by an organisation but it is the foundation of any future growth and development and in the case of the Festival Fringe Society, after forty years, much overdue."

Notes to editors:

To apply for membership of the Fringe Society please email membership@edfringe.com.

The Festival Fringe Society was established in 1957 and is the company that organises the structure that underpins the Edinburgh Festival Fringe through advice and support to participants; providing comprehensive information, including ticketing and publishing a programme and promoting the Fringe as a festival in the context of Edinburgh and its other festivals.

The former constitution of the Festival Fringe Society was written in 1969 at which point the Society was registered as a charitable company.

The Society is still a charitable company and is therefore regulated both by OSCR (Scottish Charities Regulator) and the Companies Acts passed by the UK Parliament.