What is the Edinburgh Festival Fringe?
The Fringe is an open access arts festival, which means that anyone who has a story to tell and a venue to perform in can put on a show here.
There is no centralised selection process and the festival as a whole is not programmed or curated (though individual venues choose which shows they want to programme). The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society does not produce or select any shows, does not invite anybody to perform and does not cover costs. We are here to provide you with the support, guidance and resources necessary to tell your story.
Why performers come to the Fringe
There are hundreds of reasons why artists and performers come to the Fringe. Many are looking for exposure, to try out and develop new material in front of a live audience, or to get reviews and media coverage. Many aim to connect with people in the arts industry with the hope to find touring opportunities, to earn money and to network with fellow performers. Coming to the Fringe is often part of performers’ longer-term career plan, but it can just as easily be about working on stagecraft and having fun.
The Fringe is a proven training ground where some of today’s most popular entertainers got their start. It’s also home to one of the most adventurous audiences in the world – an audience that, along with the paying public, includes producers, promoters, journalists and fellow artists.
Ready to begin?
Before you set about bringing your show to the Fringe, it’s important to ask yourself: why? What would be the value of the Fringe to you? All of the outcomes we mentioned above are possible, though usually not at the same time.
Remember that the Fringe is a competitive environment – there are thousands of shows, all vying for the same audience. We recommend you make a list of clear, achievable goals you want to work towards. This will not only help you direct your energy during the festival – it will inform every decision you make, from choosing a venue to planning your marketing campaign. Define what Fringe success would look like to you.
For example, you might want to aim at filling a smaller, less conventional venue than you’re accustomed to, or making initial contacts in the industry rather than immediately attracting tour bookings. Misjudging your goals could prove financially costly and make for a negative experience during August.
What to do and when
Everything you need to know is on this website, but if you want to browse offline or at your own pace, the handbooks below can be downloaded in PDF format.
- The Fringe Handbook for Doing a Show
- The Fringe Handbook for Choosing a Venue
- The Fringe Handbook for Registering a Show
- The Fringe Handbook for Promoting your Show
- The Fringe Sustainability Toolkit
- The Fringe Programme Production Style Guide
- The Fringe Fundraising Handbook
There are many terms specific to the Fringe, such as jargon and colloquialisms, that can be difficult to understand if you’re unfamiliar with the Fringe landscape. The list we’ve provided here is not exhaustive, but it should hopefully get you off to the right start. If you discover a term you are unsure of, or anything else you’d like clarified, please email [email protected].