Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society announces 2020 digital programme

Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society announces 2020 digital programme

Edinburgh Fringe 2020 artwork by Butcher Billy / credit: Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society

Virtual events and activities planned to support venues and artists in place of a physical festival

While it was announced in April that this year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe would not be going ahead, numerous Fringe venues and performers have been busy organising their own activities to keep some of the city's festival spirit alive in August. But to complement some of these recently revealed programmes, the Fringe Society have just announced a series of alternative digital plans, which will see creatives from across the Fringe landscape bringing versions of their work to life digitally.

Through a central listings service on edfringe.com, the Fringe Society will present everything from live streamed performances to community-focused events, and will also be running its own series of digital activities. Launching on Mon 13 Jul, the Fringe Society has teamed up with Crowdfunder for FringeMakers, a new crowdfunding platform which aims help raise funds for Fringe artists and venues, who can register for free and offer rewards for donations, such as access to their own live streamed shows, custom merchandise, exclusive content and more. Furthermore, 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 60-minute live streamed variety show, titled Fringe on a Friday.

Elsewhere, the Fringe Society will be repurposing technology from last year's Inspiration Machine for Fringe Pick n Mix, giving artists the chance to upload 60-second films of themselves in action. Audiences can watch a mixed stream of entertainment or choose individual clips, with the ability to interact and comment on the videos as they play out. Artists can also still enjoy a Virtual Fringe Central, as over 30 digital events will be delivered by the Fringe Society including panel discussions, workshops and networking sessions.

Other highlights include Comedy Central International's plans to spotlight 10 rising comedians in 10 seven-minute stand-up episodes, which will be broadcast across Comedy Central International's Facebook, YouTube and Instagram platforms, starting on 17 August. And on 6 Aug, Penguin Random House Audio will be releasing Edinburgh Unlocked, an exclusive comedy festival in audiobook format showcasing a range of well-known Fringe comedians, such as Ivo Graham, Lou Sanders, Dane Baptiste and more.

Sadly, and for the first time in the Fringe's history, a programme has not been published this year, but instead a range of limited-edition Fringe merchandise has been created in collaboration with pop culture illustrator and visual artist Butcher Billy, including t-shirts, hoodies, magnets, notebooks, a Fringe jigsaw and more. 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.

Commenting on the launch of this year's digital Fringe activities, Shona McCarthy, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society's Chief Executive, said: 'It's hard to imagine a summer without the Fringe. The explosion of creativity and community that the festival brings every year is unparalleled, and whilst we may not be able to provide a stage in Edinburgh in quite the same way this year, it feels hugely important that the spirit of this brilliant festival is kept alive.

'Little did we know way back in autumn, when we first started talking about this year's programme artwork, how prescient the superhero theme would be today. We're happy to be able to shine a spotlight on some of our Fringe heroes now, as we rally round to support the people that make your Fringe. On the other side of this, we'll need them more than ever.

'The impact of Covid-19 has been devastating for the countless artists, audiences, venues, workers and small businesses that make this festival happen every year. The FringeMakers crowdfunding campaign is designed to support them, while the Fringe on a Friday live show and the Fringe Pick n Mix website aim to bring some much-needed joy to our devoted audiences both here in Scotland and all over the world.'

Find out more about the full programme now on edfringe.com.

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