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Edinburgh Fringe companies urge organisations to avoid requesting comp tickets

Pleasance Dome during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2018. Photo: Lou Armor/Shutterstock
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Theatre companies taking work to this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe have joined together to encourage funded organisations to pay to see their shows instead of asking for complimentary tickets.

Forty independent theatremakers from companies including Breach, Barrel Organ, Lung and Poltergeist have created the #PayIfYouCan initiative ahead of next month’s fringe, asking that organisations refrain from asking for free tickets as a way of making the fringe more sustainable and affordable. It is aimed at larger theatre companies and those in receipt of regular Arts Council funding.

A statement posted on social media, addressed to arts organisations attending the fringe and signed by an initial group of supporters, said: “Something small companies and individuals have not been upfront about before now is our limited allocation at the fringe. When we get you a ticket to see our shows, this is, more often than not, coming out of our personal pocket.”

“If you are an organisation that has an allocation for tickets, we encourage you to buy tickets to see shows,” it said.

Fringe Society chief Shona McCarthy has previously warned that the festival risks becoming unaffordable for artists due to the rising costs of venue rents, accommodation, licensing and subsistence.

The companies’ statement described #PayIfYouCan as being “about openness and honesty”, adding: “If you can pay, do. If you can’t pay, please ask for a comp and know that we completely understand, and would love to get you a ticket.”

Other companies putting their name to the call are Burnt Lemon Theatre, Jake Orr Productions, the Herd, Walrus, Trip Hazards, YesYesNoNo, Powder Keg, Emergency Chorus, the Queen House, Lagahoo Productions, the Roaring Girls and Antler.

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