We're delighted to announce that Eddie Izzard has been appointed as the first alumni Patron of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society.

As our first Patron, Eddie will represent the idea that the Fringe Society is the charity that underpins the Fringe and supports the Fringe to fulfil its vision – to give anyone a stage and everyone a seat.  

In 1981, while studying Accounting and Financial Management at Sheffield University, Eddie first came to Edinburgh, and the Fringe, with a vision of emulating her Monty Python heroes who had all played there, but it took her 10 years to get shortlisted for the Perrier Comedy Award in 1991 (now the Edinburgh Comedy Awards). Eddie performed at the Fringe twelve times over thirteen years to get her career to take off – in sketch comedy, street performing, and finally in stand-up comedy. 

Eddie is now recognised around the world, having played in forty-five countries, in four languages, and in venues like Madison Square Garden and the Hollywood Bowl. She has also acted in such diverse Hollywood films as Ocean’s Twelve and Thirteen, Mintes to Midnight, Vaklyrie, Victoria & Abdul, Whisky Galore and the Lego Movie, as well as Sky’s hit drama Stay Close.

Winner of both Primetime Emmy and International Emmy awards, and nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actor, Eddie is a global champion for creativity, and a vocal supporter for those starting out.

Speaking about the appointment, Eddie Izzard said: "The Edinburgh Fringe gives people from all around the world – a wonderful, open door opportunity to perform and be seen. But it is also physically and mentally as tough as hell. It took me eight Fringe festivals to start breaking through, and ten festivals to finally arrive!  

"But the Fringe Festival taking place in the dramatic and historic capital city of Edinburgh gives it something else. It gives it grandeur. It is this grandeur, coupled with young people’s intense creative struggle, that has made the Edinburgh Fringe what it is today. A legend."

Shona McCarthy, Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society Chief Executive, said: "Eddie’s enthusiasm and passion for what the Fringe represents is inspiring, and she speaks from the heart and personal experience of its challenges. We are delighted to welcome her as a Patron of the Fringe Society.  As someone who has performed at the Fringe since the 80s, she has experienced the festival as an emerging artist, as a street performer, and as a returning performer at the top of her game.

"As an organisation created to support artists in navigating, and maximising their time at the Festival, Eddie’s involvement, through her role as Patron, will resonate with many looking to develop their careers. It is a privilege to have Eddie on board, supporting the work of the Society and working with us to achieve our Fringe development goals and commitments."

Today’s announcement follows the 2021 appointment of Phoebe-Waller Bridge as the Society’s first honorary President. In the coming months we will recruit a range of patrons from our Fringe alumni to join Phoebe and Eddie in championing the Fringe vision and development goals. We want the Edinburgh Fringe to be the best festival in the world for artists and audiences alike, and it is both welcome and necessary to have the support of brilliant Fringe alumni to help make that happen. 


Thumbnail photo credit: David Monteith-Hodge, 2022.