The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society’s 2017 Annual Review was published this week, celebrating the charity’s achievements in 2017.

The review reflects on the success of the 70th anniversary edition of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe as well as providing updates on the ongoing work the Society is doing to ensure the Fringe is as accessible as possible for everyone who wishes to attend and participate; support the artists, producers and venues that make the Fringe happen; and promote the Fringe as the world’s greatest platform for creative freedom.

Download the full annual review

The review was launched on Thursday 15 February, at a reception in Edinburgh. Chief Executive Shona McCarthy provided an overview of the Society’s programme of work in 2017 and outlined some of the key priorities the organisation will focus on in the coming years.

Launching the review, Shona McCarthy said:

2017 was a special year for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. You only had to be in the city in August to feel the excitement and energy in the air.

“In its 70th anniversary year, we took time to look back on and celebrate the journey of this extraordinary festival. The Fringe isn’t about numbers or size, it’s about ideas, experiences and creativity. We are proud that, in an unstable global political landscape, 62 countries participated in the 2017 Fringe. We also reached out to schools and communities across Scotland, so that people of all abilities, ages and backgrounds could experience and enjoy the Fringe. Inclusion and open access were the founding principles of the Fringe, and they remain integral. 

“Thank you to everyone who made 2017 a success – the cultural innovators, the venues, the audiences, our funders, partners and supporters. Thanks to you, the Fringe continues to be a place that supports and nurtures local, national and international creativity.

“We are braced for another brilliant year in 2018 and have a committed and excellent Board and team who have the clarity of purpose and vision to ensure this extraordinary festival is even more vital, relevant and representative of local and global creativity by its 75th birthday.”

The Society’s accomplishments in 2017 included launching the inaugural World Fringe Day. World Fringe Day events were held across the globe on the 11 July, in an international celebration of all things fringe, with millions of people taking to social media to share stories and memories of their favourite fringe experiences. In Edinburgh, the Fringe Society gifted £50,000 of Fringe Box Office vouchers to 26 city-based charities, along with travel vouchers provided by Lothian Buses, giving free Fringe Days Out to individuals and families across the city, as a thank you to the people of Edinburgh for their continued support.

The Fringe Schools Poster Competition gave Schoolchildren across Scotland the opportunity to design the front cover of the 2017 Fringe Programme. An astounding 5,514 entries from 187 schools across Scotland were received, with three winning designs selected to create three stunning programme covers.

Improving access at the Fringe also remained a priority for the Society in 2017. Through the Society’s Children and Young People programme, 1,502 tickets were given to children and young people in the Edinburgh care system. The Venue Access Toolkit enabled venues to take practical and achievable measures, where required, to improve access for D/deaf and disabled audiences, and for the first time a Mobiloo Changing Place, a fully accessible facility designed for the 250,000 people in the UK who cannot use standard accessible toilets, was available at the Fringe.

Download the full annual review