Edinburgh comedy festival launches without sponsor

The fledgling Edinburgh Comedy Festival on the Fringe had yet to find a sponsor for this year’s event as it launched its first programme on Thursday.

Formed by four of the major venues at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and controversially launching its programme in London at the same time as the Fringe programme was launched in Edinburgh, organisers of the new venture are still in talks with three potential sponsors.

Speaking on behalf of the comedy festival, Pleasance director Anthony Alderson told the Stage: “There is still time for one of those parties to come on board and maybe do something. Whether they do or not, we will have to wait and see.”

Alderson said that the new venture would be open to all venues on the Fringe staging comedy, not just the Pleasance, Underbelly, Assembly and Gilded Balloon, which have set it up.

He denied that it would be difficult for small venues which stage only one or two comedy shows to join.

“If we provide another place for people to put listings, then surely that is a good thing,” he added. “It is a bigger advertising space.

“The cost of doing this exercise [The Edinburgh Fringe] goes up 15% year-on-year, way above inflation, but we get criticised when we put 10p on a ticket price. If we are going to support the platforms that present a lot of this work, then we have got to find commercial partners.”

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The Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond, London. Photo: Noel Foster