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Edinburgh Fringe opens nominations for new Participants’ Council

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The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society has opened nominations for its new Participants’ Council, implementing the final part of the constitutional review which followed the box office disaster of fringe 2008.

The announcement comes as the society has confirmed that it has completed its business recovery plan and has returned to financial stability following the 2008 fiasco, when the planned introduction of a new ticketing system failed, leaving the society with a serious drain on its resources.

According to the society’s constitution, the primary purpose of the twelve-strong Participants’ Council is to “promote and protect the interests of those members who actively participate in the Festival Fringe.”

It will advise the board of directors.

Any member of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society is eligible to stand for the council if they fall into one of three categories – performers, producers and those nominated by a registered venue.

Four members from each category will be elected. Fringe membership is open to all, and new members will be eligible for nominations, which close on May 6.

Alister O’Loughlin, the society’s board member responsible for liaison with the new council, said that the council “is one of the key aspects to the new constitution”.

“It is a very exciting moment for us as this continues to make the organisation more open to participants who wish to have their say on how the society is run. All it takes is passion, awareness and an involvement in the world’s largest arts festival to stand for this council – and I would implore anyone with an interest in the running of the Fringe to put their name forward,” he added.

News of the society’s return to financial stability came at an Edinburgh Council Culture and Leisure Committee this week, which was told that a third and final emergency short-term loan, arranged for 2010/11, had not been required. The society’s seasonal cash-flow means that it has to maintain a surplus to see it through the winter months when it has no income, the surplus was knocked out by events in 2008.

Commenting on the news, Kath M Mainland, chief executive of the Festival Fringe Society, told The Stage: “We are delighted that in January 2011 we were able to confirm that a loan from the City of Edinburgh Council was not required. We are extremely grateful to the City of Edinburgh Council and our other funders for their continued support of the Fringe Society. This support is invaluable to the society, enabling us to ensure that the participants fully realise the benefits of taking part in this great festival, and that audiences from around the world continue to enjoy the world’s largest arts festival here in Edinburgh, every year.”

Details of how to join the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society and be nominated for the Participants’ Council are available on the fringe website: www.edfringe.com.

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