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As registration opens...

Fringe admits shape of event still unknown


Organisers have opened for registration (pic: Terry Murden)

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society is preparing for the return of performances this year with show registration opening on 5 May – but admits it still does not know how this year’s event will look.

Artists and venues will be able to register Fringe shows until the end of the festival. Tickets will go on sale for audiences in early summer.

“As Scotland navigates its roadmap out of lockdown, much is still unknown about what the Fringe will look like this August. However, a range of scenarios are being prepared for, from socially distanced live events to digital offerings,” the Society said in a statement.

It is supporting artists and audiences to find and book work online across a range of platforms, including the brand-new Fringe Player. This online platform aims to bring some festival magic into homes across the world, while providing a secure platform for artists, companies and venues to host their shows. The platform is available to any registered 2021 Fringe show or venue to use.

The Edinburgh International Festival yesterday announced that it would see the return of live events outdoors, using large pavilions.

Any live performance registered as part of the 2021 Fringe will be expected to adhere to public health guidance from the Scottish Government. 

Audiences can search, browse and buy tickets to both online and in-person work through More details on individual shows and Fringe 2021 will be available in early summer.

Shona McCarthy, chief executive, Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society said: “We’re delighted to be able to open registration for 2021. Of course, we’re still very much in planning mode as we await further updates from the Scottish Government, but this feels like a hugely positive step in the right direction.

“Through the work being created across the various digital platforms, including the Fringe Player, artists have a brilliant opportunity to reach audiences and communities all over the world. I look forward to seeing how our Fringe creatives use these platforms in 2021 and beyond.”

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe will take place from 6 -30 August. 

Film Festival returns to August

The Edinburgh International Film Festival is expected to move back to August from this summer 13 years after it was decided to stage it in June to avoid clashing with the other festivals.

The decision to return to an August event is also due to ongoing uncertainty about the progress of Covid easing.

Richard E Grant

Richard E Grant at the launch of the 2017 EIFF (pic: Terry Murden)

Cinemas are scheduled to reopen in May with socially-distanced audiences, but no programme has been announced for the EIFF.

It is believed that holding it in August will give organisers more time to explore different options.

It is also part of an overhaul overseen by Ken Hay, chief executive of the Centre for the Moving Image, which also runs the Filmhouse cinema.

The festival has not had an artistic director since Mark Adams stood down in 2019.

Ken Hay: reviewing the EIFF (pic: Terry Murden)

Industry website Screen Daily has reported that Nick Varley, co-founder of Glasgow-based film distribution company Park Circus, has been charged with programming this year’s event.

it is not known whether there will be any red carpet premieres.

An online-only festival is under consideration for this summer, similar to the format used by the Glasgow Film Festival earlier this year.

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