The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society has announced alternative digital plans in place of the 2020 edition of the festival, complementing a variety of activities planned by Fringe artists and venues.
Creatives from across the Fringe community will bring versions of their work to digital outlets, many for the first time. From livestreamed performances to nostalgic throwbacks and community-focused events and support sessions, the Fringe will be represented in the work of thousands of Fringe artists and venues.
The Fringe Society will also broadcast virtual shows, launch a festival-wide crowdfunding campaign, put on artist-facing workshops, implement a new online arts industry platform and a virtual Fringe Central, so there are still plenty of ways to #MakeYourFringe in 2020.
Highlights of the full online programme and accompanying initiatives include:
- The Fringe Society and Crowdfunder have teamed up to launch a new crowdfunding platform, FringeMakers, which will support Fringe artists and venues to raise vital funds in the absence of a Fringe this year. Through the FringeMakers platform, venues and artists can register as part of a central Fringe campaign, paying no fees and keeping 100% of funds donated for their own cause. Participants can offer rewards for donation, such as access to their own livestreamed shows, custom merchandise, exclusive content and much more.
- As part of the FringeMakers campaign, every registered venue and artist will have the opportunity to raise money for their project by selling tickets to a weekly livestreamed variety show – Fringe on a Friday. Artists and venues will keep 100% of the money they raise from these sales. Fringe on a Friday is a 60-minute Fringe variety show, produced and curated by an independent production company, which will be streamed every Friday evening during the Fringe (7, 14, 21 and 28 August). This will showcase the best of the festival across a range of genres, including comedy, music, dance and cabaret.
- Fringe Pick n Mix will see artists and audiences stage "anything goes" snippets in the spirit of the Fringe in living rooms across the world this August. Viewers can pick clips or watch a mixed stream of continuous entertainment, with donations and venue survival funds open while watching.
- Fringe Central, usually a home from home for the Fringe community during August and hosting an unparalleled programme of creative and professional development events for artists, will be a virtual space this year. The online hub will allow artists to come together to connect and collaborate with each other, or simply drop by and talk to a member of the Fringe Society team in real time.
- In partnership with industry experts, the Society will deliver a series of over 30 digital events including panel discussions, workshops and networking sessions, exploring pertinent topics such as digital skills development and touring post-pandemic, and wider industry themes such as the under-representation of creators of colour and how to make performances more accessible. The events and resources are open and completely free to all artists.
- A digital Fringe Marketplace will be opened, a dedicated showcase platform to connect arts industry delegates all over the world with tour-ready artists who were programmed as part of this year’s Fringe. This platform, which will launch later this summer, is aimed at creating vital opportunities and aims to connect industry and artists while creating opportunities for peer review and future commissioning. There will also be a series of events for industry to engage with, including morning sessions with international showcases from around the world.
- Comedy Central International, in association with the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, will spotlight 10 rising comedians in a series of seven-minute stand-up episodes across Comedy Central International’s Facebook, YouTube and Instagram platforms, starting on 17 August. Highlights from the digital episodes will air in a 22-minute TV special on Comedy Central UK on 28 August and also be made available internationally. The comedy special will feature live virtual audience reactions, with an inside look into audience households across the UK.
- Working with communities across Edinburgh, the Fringe Days Out programme connects the Fringe Society to over 30 community organisations, to build year-round relationships and help community members take advantage of opportunities presented by the festival on their doorstep. Due to COVID-19, the Society plans to work with its Fringe Day Out partners and connect Fringe artists with local communities through digital interactive workshops and performances, as well as offering creative resources through targeted partnership projects.
- The Society will also be selling merchandise. Funds generated through the sale of merchandise will provide vital support for the Fringe Society’s charitable activities in helping artists and audiences at the Fringe.