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Forest Fringe to quit Edinburgh

Ira Brand performing at Forest Fringe: the transition from artist to co-director is a logical extension of Forest Fringe’s ethos. Photo: Jemima Yong
From autumn 2017, Forest Fringe will hold a regular monthly arts club at London’s Somerset House. Photo: Jemima Yong
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Experimental arts organisation Forest Fringe has announced that it will no longer run a venue at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Forest Fringe has been connected with the festival since it was founded in 2007, but now organisers say they want to move on to a “new, large-scale project”.

A statement published online says the new project could be a film, a new venue or the creation of a new political party.

From autumn 2017, Forest Fringe will hold a regular monthly arts club at London’s Somerset House, where it will become associate artist, to help it decide on a future project to pursue.

A statement on the Forest Fringe website from co-director Ira Brand said: “We have made the decision that Forest Fringe will not be running a venue at the Edinburgh Festival for the foreseeable future.

“We want to explore what else we might do with the collective energy that we have previously dedicated to our presence at the festival.”

She added: “As was always the case in Edinburgh from our earliest years, [our new project] will involve artists, volunteers, audiences and ourselves working together to make something remarkable that none of us could achieve individually.

“And once we’ve finished one special project, we’ll decide what the next one will be.”

The arts club, called The Amateurs Club, will be free and open to anyone to participate.

Brand said: “It will be a factory where none of us knows how to operate the machinery, where we may make hats out of the moving parts, but where, with any luck, nobody will be injured.”

Forest Fringe will also continue to run microfestivals, residencies, parties and other projects, across the UK and internationally.

Brand added: “We appreciate that people might miss us during the festival, and we remain invested in the city and the festival that has been our home for 10 years.

“For this reason we want to ensure that there continues to be space at the Edinburgh Festival for generosity, expansiveness and experimentation, but nurtured by a different set of artists with their own ideas about where and how that can be done.”

Forest Fringe will hold a goodbye party at the fringe on August 11 at Edinburgh’s Cameo Cinema, with any money raised during the event to be donated to a new group of artists for a fringe festival project.

The organisation will also be writing a handbook of all the things it has learned in 10 years of making Forest Fringe, which it says will be a “toolkit of good ideas, accidental successes, practical advice, horrible arguments and hard-won lessons”.

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