The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society is delighted to announce the 2014 Fringe Central Welcome Address will be delivered by multiple award winning director Rachel Chavkin and four time Fringe First writer Chris Thorpe.

This is the second year of The Fringe Central Opening Address which is designed to welcome participants to the Fringe and introduce them to Fringe Central and the extensive range of events on offer to them throughout August.

With eight Fringe First awards between them, both Rachel and Chris will share their expertise and experience about their individual Fringe journeys with this year’s participants. They’ll be discussing each of their own Fringe experiences as well as talking about how they started working together and why they are still presenting new work at the Fringe.

The Fringe Central Opening Address was created last year to inspire participants to make the best use of the Fringe by getting them to think about the wider perspective and how their experience at the Fringe will impact on them and their work in the future.

Announcing this year’s speakers, Kath M. Mainland, Chief Executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, said:

“I am immensely pleased that two such distinguished and clever artists have agreed to deliver this year’s Welcome Address to Fringe Participants.

“The purpose of this address is to make participants feel at home in Fringe Central and to inspire them in preparation for the month ahead as well as introducing them to all the free events which take place here designed to help them make the absolute most of their time In August. It’s fantastic that two such important and long serving Fringe artists have agreed to share their wisdom with us.”

Rachel Chavkin, part of the New York based TEAM ensemble, said:

"I can trace nearly every step of my company's and my professional life to our first year at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. I am delighted to be back once again, and to help welcome participants to this year's Festival."

Chris Thorpe said:

“I’m really touched to be involved in this year’s Welcome Address at Fringe Central. It'll be a privilege to say hello to everyone am to talk about how vital the organisation can be."

Rachel and Chris are collaborating on the show Confirmation which is part of the Northern Stage line-up at the 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Notes for Editors:

Rachel Chavkin is an Obie Award-winning, Drama Desk and Lucille Lortel nominated director, and the Artistic Director of Brooklyn-based ensemble, the TEAM (, whose work was recently ranked Best of 2013 on three continents.

Selected freelance: Dave Malloy’s Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 (World Premiere - Ars Nova; Kazino – commercial transfer, New York Times, Time Out New York and New York Post Critics’ Picks); Chris Thorpe's Confirmation (Warwick Arts Centre and Battersea Arts Centre); Joseph Heller's Catch-22 (Northern Stage, UK national tour); Meg Miroshnik's The Fairytale Lives of Russian Girls (Yale Rep); and multiple collaborations with Taylor Mac, including his extravaganza The Lily’s Revenge (World Premiere (Act II) - HERE). NYTW Usual Suspect, Artistic Associate at London's Gate Theatre and Classic Stage Company, alum of Soho Rep’s Writer/Director Lab, Drama League Directors Project, Women’s Project Director’s Lab, and New Georges Affiliate Artist. Upcoming collaborations include Hadestown (with folksinger Anais Mitchell) and Annie Salem (with songstress Heather Christian, adapt. from the novel by Mac Wellman). She has also taught extensively at NYU, Pace, and other colleges. B.F.A. NYU, M.F.A. Columbia.

The TEAM was awarded the 2011 Edinburgh International Festival Prize for their Fringe production Mission Drift. Part of the prize was to present a work in progress (Primer for a Failed Superpower) at the 2012 Edinburgh International Festival.

Chris Thorpe was a founder member of Unlimited Theatre and still works and tours with the company. He is also an Artistic Associate of live art/theatre company Third Angel as well as working closely with, among others, Forest Fringe, Slung Low, Chris Goode, RashDash, Belarus Free Theatre, Portuguese company mala, Northern Stage, and the Manchester Royal Exchange. He has an ongoing collaboration with poet Hannah Jane Walker, and their shows The Oh Fuck Moment and I Wish I Was Lonely are published by Oberon Books.

As a playwright Chris has written radio and stage drama, as well as translating the work of Ugljesa Sajtinac, Belarus Free Theatre, and Ze Maria Mendes. He also writes and performs solo work, plays guitar in the political noise/performance project #TORYCORE and works as a selector for the National Student Drama Festival.

Fringe Central is operated by the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society and is exclusively for participants, media and arts industry professionals taking part in the Fringe. Centrally located at George Square, the centre provides internet access, a cafe and bar, meeting rooms, rehearsal space and staff to give support and advice on all issues about taking part in the Fringe including marketing and media campaigns and how to make the best use of the development opportunities on offer. It also houses a programme of over 83 professional and career development events designed to help Fringe participants get the most out of the Fringe. All events are free for registered Fringe participants.