Finding a venue is the first step to bringing a show to the Fringe - it's a big task, but we are here to help.
Remember, you must have a venue contract in place before you can register your show with us.
- Download The Fringe Handbook for Choosing a Venue for technical information and contact details for a large number of venues who are looking to programme work for the Fringe.
- Check out the 2019 programme to get a feel for participating venues and the shows they hosted.
The Participant Services team are here to help. Our policy of impartiality means we can't recommend one venue over another but we can help you work out what will be best for your show and how to approach venue managers.
Choosing a venue for your online show
Most venues that operate in the Fringe do a lot for the companies they work with, beyond just providing a physical space. For example, having your show be part of a programme of work, at a venue with an existing audience, media connections and marketing strategy, can be advantageous in getting your work seen.
With that in mind, if you are bringing an online show in 2021, we’d still recommend researching whether any existing Fringe venues that hosts online work could be a good fit for your show, even if you don’t need a physical space to perform in.
We aim to host a resource here soon that will specifically help online shows find suitable venue operators in 2021. In the meantime, using 2019’s Fringe programme, the Fringe Guide to Choosing a Venue pdf and researching venue activity directly by checking websites and social media is the best approach. Check back here in the coming weeks for a more dedicated resource and let us know if you have any questions in the meantime – or alternatively, sign up to our participants’ mailing list to be kept up to date with new developments as we have them.
Once you know what kind of venue you are looking for, use our online venue search tool to filter a directory of all Fringe venues, including contact information.
Gather a selection of venues to approach, then get in touch with them.
Once you have chosen some venues to approach, work through our checklist to ensure you're dealing with a venue that meets your show’s requirements. If you have any doubts about your venue agreement, contact us and we can talk it through.
- Check which performance dates and times are available and in what spaces.
- Is rehearsal time included as part of your rental?
- Can the venue manager change your performance slot (including showtime and location) without consent?
- What is the timeframe for daily get-ins and get-outs?
- Will you be penalised if you overrun your performance time?
- Will you be told about penalties as you go or will they be added to your final costs at the end of the run?
- What equipment and facilities (for lighting, sound) are available onsite? Are they included in the rental cost?
- Get all the details of the space, including photos if available. Ask for a seating chart and make sure sightlines are appropriate for your show.
- Are technical staff on hand for sound and lighting during performances or is it up to your company to arrange? Check the experience levels of any staff provided.
- What is the venue's insurance coverage?
- Does your show need to hold public liability insurance (see insurance & legal)?
- Is it worth adding an indemnity clause that allocates the risk to each party? While it is common for the venue to be indemnified against claims or losses arising out of your use of the space, take care that only those costs directly related to a claim or loss can be deducted from your box office takings.
- Make sure your venue has an appropriate licence from the City of Edinburgh Council – if not, who will administer it and when? Is the venue complying with all health and safety, insurance and legal regulations?
- Your contract should state the venue’s name and registered address as well as a jurisdictional statement (e.g. this agreement shall be governed under Scottish Law).
- What are you (the company) responsible for? Usually the venue will have a list of requirements for you to meet. These may include:
- Assurances that you have the correct copyright permissions to perform your work.
- That all company members (including children) are legally allowed to perform in the UK.
- That you will acquire all the rights for your music use and pay any applicable fees.
- That you have adequate insurance.
- That your set and props are fireproof and your electrical equipment is safe.
- That you will not damage the property.
- That you will take all your belongings with you at the end of the run.
- Check if the venue has any policies or procedures that you need to agree to and make sure you obtain and read all documentation.
Financial and ticketing
- Does the venue run its own box office and what are the associated costs (e.g. if there is an additional charge for printing tickets)?
- If there is a commission taken on ticket sales or a fee for credit cards, when and how is this incorporated into the fee structure?
- What is the date of box office payout and is this included in the contract?
- Verify your right to have all financial records and accounts audited to check the accuracy of income and expenditure figures.
- Where, when and to whom is the money from the Fringe Box Office takings being transferred?
- Are there other revenues that performers will receive, such as a cut of bar sales, proceeds from the sale of a programme, etc?
- Are there additional venue services, like telephone, internet or bar, available for your company’s use? Is the cost of these added into your rental fee in a fair and transparent manner?
- Are there any other hidden costs such as utility charges, use of administrative facilities, etc?
- Find out what charges are liable to VAT (20%).
- What happens in the event of a cancellation - either on your own part or the venue’s?
- What is the timeline for advance notice and any monetary penalties?
- Scrutinise the conditions for cancellation closely and make sure that the venue can’t cancel a performance without reimbursement of box office monies.
- Some venues run press offices of varying sizes. Find out about the scope of services on offer and ask whether there is a cost.
- What, if anything, does the venue provide in the way of marketing services?
- Does it produce its own programme and is there an additional fee for your show to be included?
- Who has editorial control?