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Edinburgh Fringe participants programme expands events on inclusion, equality and mental health for 2018

Deborah Frances-White, who will deliver this year's opening address Deborah Frances-White, who will deliver this year's opening address
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The programme of free professional development events for participants at the 2018 Edinburgh Fringe has been announced, including sessions on mental health, parenting in the performing arts and harassment in the industry.

The full line-up of 125 events will begin on August 1, ahead of the fringe’s official opening on August 3. The opening address will this year be delivered by comedian and writer Deborah Frances-White, host of The Guilty Feminist podcast.

The events – which are free for registered fringe participants – take place at Fringe Central in Appleton Tower, home to the Fringe Society’s participants services. They are aimed at performers, venues and arts industry professionals and the main emphasis is on training, onward touring, industry and technical issues.

This year’s programme features an increased number of events concerning issues of inclusion, equality and mental health.

These include a session on performance anxiety and a series of workshops from NHS Lothian offering fringe participants the opportunity to sample some experiences commonly used in psychological therapy practice, which are aimed at improving mental well-being.

A free creche will be offered alongside coffee mornings hosted by campaign group Parents in Performing Arts, which will take place on three dates throughout August. They will be delivered by Fringe Central with the Federation of Scottish Theatre, Stellar Quines and National Theatre Scotland.

Equality issues are addressed in 12 events called Breaking Down Barriers. These includes Dignity in the Workplace, a discussion about the arts industry’s response to bullying and harassment and events on black, Asian and minority ethnic artists, gender balance and the practical aspects of making shows accessible.

Among events examining theatre criticism, The State of Arts Criticism will reflect on how criticism at the fringe has changed in recent years, while Make It As an Arts Journalist is one of 20 Building Blocks events aimed at those developing a career in the profession.

Australian drag performer Courtney Act will be providing a provocation for Dragging You Into the Mainstream – an event exploring how the drag scene is increasingly informing cultural discussions surrounding social issues including gender, race and sexual orientation.

There are also events designed to help participants get the most out of the fringe and to provide support and information on the business side of performing.

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe runs from August 3 to 27 and Fringe Central will open from July 30.

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