Organisers of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe have said they are optimistic the event will run as planned in August, but have outlined measures they are taking should the situation change.
These include working with the event’s insurers, government stakeholders and participants to “limit the financial impact” in the event of it being cancelled completely.
The update is one of many issued by the theatre sector as the industry tackles coronavirus.
Fringe Society boss Shona McCarthy said: “The Fringe Society continues with optimism to work towards the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2020. We are living through strange and unprecedented times and trying to find our way, keep people safe and do the right thing with the resources we have on a daily basis. Amid it all, it gives heart and hope to see companies and artists and venues continue to register their shows and plan for another joyous creative gathering in August.”
She said the organisation was “monitoring the coronavirus outbreak closely” and taking guidance from both the UK and Scottish governments.
“Our current position is to plan for the fringe in August as normal, but with an eye to an ever-changing environment. The health and safety of fringe participants, audiences and staff is – and always will be – our top priority and we will update participants and stakeholders of any changes,” she said.
McCarthy added: “So much is still unknown, but with the fringe still five months away, we remain optimistic that the festival will continue as usual in August. Over the next few weeks, we will be continuing our planning and day-to-day operations in line with the latest advice and recommendations. This includes limiting travel and digitising events where possible.”
She said that, if the situation were to “dramatically change”, resulting in the event being cancelled, the society would “work with our insurers, government stakeholders and – most importantly – our participants to limit the financial impact across the whole fringe as much as we possibly can”.
“We would also offer participants who have already paid the opportunity to roll their show registration forward to the 2021 fringe to cover an equivalent show listing,” she said.