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Edinburgh Fringe productions up 3.8%

Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society chief executive Kath M Mainland Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society chief executive Kath M Mainland
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This year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe features 3,314 productions, up 3.8% on 2014.

Comedy and theatre continue to dominate the programme, although the number of shows in each category has dropped half a percentage year on year. There are 1,113 comedy shows (34%) and 879 theatre shows, 27% of the total number of productions.

The number of free shows has dropped by 2% to 807 on last year’s figures.

Speaking of the continued increase in productions, Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society chief executive Kath M Mainland told The Stage: “This is still a valuable place for people to bring their work. If you are looking to get your work in front of a public audience, a media audience or an industry audience this is still the place to be.”

The number of venues has also increased, rising to 313, which is 14 more than last year. Asked about the continued concentration of venues in the centre of the city, Mainland revealed that the fringe society would be working with North Edinburgh Arts on a pilot scheme for performers to rehearse.

She said: “Rehearsal space is at a premium in Edinburgh. We can’t encourage fringe companies to perform there – because it is not for us to tell them where to perform – but if they need space to rehearse then they can go there.”

The major innovation from the fringe society at this year’s event will be in its offering to disabled audiences, in a programme of improvements which Mainland says is expected to go on for the next five years.

She said: “We know from research that the most important thing which people with specific access needs require is accurate information about what facilities are available. Our ambitious project to improve access to the fringe can only be delivered over time through collaboration with partners with a range of different skills and experiences.”

The fringe society is working with the likes of access website Euan’s Guide to provide online accessible festival training for all its staff. This will be also offered to staff for all venues and, Mainland said, is expected to become a resource for the whole of the city’s cultural sector.

Among the wealth of productions on offer, the programme sees the premiere of a new adaptation by David Byrne of George Orwell’s memoir: Down and Out in Paris and London. This will run at the Pleasance Courtyard from August 5 to 30.

Edinburgh’s Village Pub Theatre makes its fringe debut, taking the festival to its home, the Village in Leith, with a series of script-in-hand performances.

Producers Space UK provide one of the new venues with SpaceTriplex in the Prince Philip Building in Hill Place. The Ross Bandstand in West Princes Street Gardens is being used for the first time in several years, hosting a programme of open air concerts.

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