The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society and the Citadel Youth Centre in Leith jointly hosted Fringe at the Citadel, a free family fun day, on Saturday 20 July 2019. The event was a great success, with local families able to experience a taste of the Fringe that included circus and music workshops, face-painting, a raffle, badge-making, a street performance and delicious street food. The event was programmed with the help of the Citadel Parent Group.

More than 120 people attended the event, with many shared their experience:

‘We wanted to have a fun day out and it’s been brilliant. It’s great for young people as it gets them active and gives them things to do.’

‘We like the street events because some of those guys are really putting their lives on the line! The kids definitely like it too, especially the kid activities at the Fringe; there’s something for them to do as they usually get stuck doing the same things so seeing different shows is good.’

‘Days like this give the kids a good chance to interact with other kids and meet with their friends.’

Christina McKelvie MSP, Minister for Older People and Equalities, also attended the event. She said:

‘This is a great opportunity for local families to get a taste of what the Edinburgh Fringe has to offer. Summer holidays can be an expensive time and it’s good to see events like this helping to break down some of the barriers people face when it comes to the performing arts.

‘Funding from the Scottish Government and the City of Edinburgh Council’s Platform for Creative Excellence (PLACE) is helping our festivals to take a more inclusive approach to cultural events.’

Deidre Brock, MP for Edinburgh North and Leith, said:

‘I’m always impressed by the work that the Citadel does so I was delighted to see the link-up between the Fringe Society and the Citadel bringing the Fringe closer to the people who live here all year round. The benefits of engaging with the arts are huge and this initiative should make sure that those benefits are available to more people.

'It’s aimed at children who usually find some difficulty in engaging with the Fringe and other performing arts, and it aims to make sure that they and their families can get involved in whatever way they like best, and it’s reaching out to other organisations in and around Leith. I’m excited by this and excited by the idea that the benefits of hosting the world’s biggest arts festival in Edinburgh can be shared out with some residents. I’m delighted to see the Fringe Society taking this step and I’m going to be cheering them on as they develop it all year round.’

Shona McCarthy, Chief Executive of the Fringe Society, said:

‘The Edinburgh Festival Fringe belongs to Edinburgh’s communities as much as it belongs to anyone. I’m absolutely thrilled to be able to show off a flavour of the festival’s positive presence beyond the city centre.

‘It’s not just a matter of geography. We’re working closely with organisations – like the Citadel, and like Sikh Sanjong – 31 different groups spanning the city, that do great work in our communities. Through events like Fringe at the Citadel – and through wider projects like our Fringe Days Out scheme – we’re showing that the benefits of the Fringe can be felt by everyone.’

The Society would like to thank Mackie’s, Tunnock’s and Bross Bagels for donating snacks throughout the day, and extend a special thanks to Sikh Sanjong – one of our Fringe Days Out partner organisations – for providing an incredible curry.

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Photography: Stewart Attwood