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Biggest ever Edinburgh Fringe programme announced as support for performers is boosted

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2019 programme includes 3,841 shows – with 1,059 listed in the theatre section. Photo: Laurence Winram
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Support for performers at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe is to be boosted, as the organisation behind it announces its biggest programme yet.

The event, running from August 2 to 26, will welcome a total of 3,841 shows – 300 more than last year – with 1,059 listed in the theatre section and 1,410 in comedy.

Measures to support performers include continuing partnerships with Parents and Carers in the Performing Arts and a new initiative with crowdfunding platform Kickstarter.

The site has agreed to refund its 5% commission to any artist using its platform specifically to bring a show to the Edinburgh Fringe. The website is also working with the fringe on measures to aid performers with their mental health.

Fringe Society chief executive Shona McCarthy said: “Kickstarter is working with us on a whole mental health and well-being strand at the fringe. This includes everything from a respite centre to a chill out space where people can have massages and a counselling service online – specifically to support artists who find it all too much or are struggling to sustain themselves to the end of the run.

“This is a response to what some artists were telling us last year – that it is a big stretch, a big commitment and, particularly if you are new to the fringe, it can be wearing on your well-being by the end of it.”

McCarthy also said it would work with PIPA to provide childcare services, changing and breast-feeding facilities, and Common, the organisation representing working-class artists.

Speaking of the Edinburgh Fringe as a place where people come to do business, McCarthy revealed that 1,420 curators and programmers registered with the society at last year’s event and that in analysing their impact, a random sample of 63 of these had booked 388 shows between them.

She said: “It tells us that this festival is a place where work can be seen, it can be booked and it can have a lifespan and a legacy way beyond the festival. We know that this festival is the source for so much of the programming and content for theatres across Scotland and the UK.”

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