The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society launched the first Fringe Central virtual hub yesterday.
Designed to capture the welcoming, collaborative atmosphere of the physical Fringe Central space run by the Fringe Society in August, this new digital platform will feature over 30 free online events from Friday 07 – Monday 31 August.
Events are being delivered alongside 20 partner organisations and aim to provide participants with the opportunity to explore important issues in the arts sector, from greater diversity to mental health, as well as focusing on skills building and industry knowledge.
All events in the programme are free to access and will be BSL interpreted.
Participants will also get the chance to network with other industry professionals in a relaxed and creative way, and each day will kick off with joy-filled Daily Dancing sessions hosted by Cultured Mongrel Dance Theatre.
The Fringe Society’s Artist Development Manager Katie Queen and Programme Manager Alan Gordon will launch the hub on 07 August with an introductory session. Events can be found at https://eventmobi.com/fringecentral, with more events due to be added throughout the month.
Key events so far include the Artist of Colour Meetup, running at Fringe Central for a sixth year. This event aims to create a network for artists of colour participating in the Fringe.
Birds of Paradise will be hosting a Disabled Artists networking event, highlighting the work of artists and creatives, and facilitating space to connect and collaborate with other disabled artists and allies.
The Sick of the Fringe will present Building a mentally well Fringe, an open forum where artists can share strategies and suggestions they have for better supporting wellbeing and care of artists at the Fringe, supported by clinical psychologists from NHS Lothian and the British Psychological Society.
COMMON will discuss the effect of Covid-19 on working-class artists and share tools for self-care and personal wellbeing in their event Working-class artists: how to keep going when the going’s always tough.
Parents and Carers in the Performing Arts (PiPA) invite artists and producers to share their experiences of performing at the Fringe when dealing with caring responsibilities in A family friendly Fringe: Exploring opportunities in making Edinburgh Fringe more supportive of parents and carers.
topics that will be covered in the programme include touring, international working, live music, comedy and digital streaming.
After every event, there will be the opportunity to keep the conversation going in chat rooms, where attendees can continue to discuss any topics covered – further replicating the dialogue and fellowship which naturally springs up in the lobby spaces of the physical Fringe Central space.
The events programme was curated in response to survey feedback from 380+ Fringe participants, who identified digital skill building, industry knowledge, networking and Fringe-specific information to be their top learning priorities for this non-Fringe year
Katie Queen, Artist Development Manager, Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, said: “Fringe Central is such an important part of what we deliver every year, providing a space for performers, producers, company members, arts industry or members of the media to come together and collaborate, while accessing support from Society staff.
“It was important to us that, in the absence of a physical festival, we still created a platform to serve these needs.
“While the events are the main focus of this platform, we wanted it to also be a space where artists could connect and build networks and communities, which is such an integral part of the Fringe experience.
“We are very lucky to have strong relationships with regular partners such as Birds of Paradise, COMMON, Parents and Carers in the Performing Arts, Shaina Lynn and The Sick of the Fringe, who have been integral in creating these spaces for groups to come together in timely conversations.”
A spokesperson from The Sick of the Fringe said: “Our partnership with the Fringe Society enhances our ability to support the wellbeing of artists by tackling the financial and emotional costs of coming to the Fringe.
“For the Virtual Fringe Central programme, TSOTF are offering out a series of moments for communities of artists and audiences to connect virtually, sustaining the meet-ups and conversations that would otherwise happen in person in August.”