Fringe Society: Review of the year 2022
Shona McCarthy stands next to a window.

Shona McCarthy Photo: Colin Hattersley (2021)

Shona McCarthy Photo: Colin Hattersley (2021)

Chief Executive's introduction

What a difference a year makes.

Twelve months ago, we were busy evaluating the first post-covid festival, Fringe 2021 – a much-reduced affair compared to the last full Fringe in 2019. Of course, the phrase “post-covid” was premature optimism; the omicron variants would gain prominence in early 2022, making the likelihood of this year’s Fringe feel even more remote.

Yet somehow, against what felt like impossible odds, a small miracle took place: a full-scale, physical Fringe actually happened.

It felt joyous and healing to have the Fringe back at scale, to see creatives from across Scotland joined by artists from all parts of the UK and around the world. We had no idea if anyone would show up, but they did and it felt more important than ever for catharsis, perspective and collective assembly. This year’s festival was miraculous, pulled off by the sheer determination and effort of the Fringe creative community.

The festival’s 75th anniversary took place in a radically changed world, and set the context to re-evaluate what the Fringe is, what it was, and what it needs to be. In June we published a new, collective vision for the festival – a rallying cry for the Fringe’s many varied participants and supporters to collaborate on reinventing a festival true to our shared values of openness, care for each other and love for the performing arts, rooted in a desire to give anyone a stage and everyone a seat.

We are set on delivering this shared vision – but the challenges are unrelenting. If artists can’t afford to be part of it – if the availability and cost of accommodation is untenable, on top of the cost-of-living crisis – then it is impossible to be inclusive, open, welcoming to all. The Fringe and our sister festivals can certainly be part of the national recovery that is needed, but miracles are one-offs. We can only keep bringing the magic if we have the belief and support.

The Fringe can’t happen without the collective passion and effort of a cast of thousands, including artists, audiences, venues, media, staff, crew, sponsors, elected officials and the city of Edinburgh itself. On behalf of myself and the Fringe Society I want to say a massive thank you to everyone who had a hand in making this year’s festival possible, in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. If the last few years (or indeed, the last few months) have taught us anything, it’s that nothing should be taken for granted – just because something’s happened for three quarters of a century, that doesn’t mean it can continue to do so without the sustained effort and support of everyone involved.

This review outlines the work done by the Fringe Society to ensure this festival can continue year after year. The Fringe needs this work to carry on if it is to continue offering anyone a stage and everyone a seat. It needs you too.

Shona McCarthy 
Chief Executive

Our vision and values

There are many contributors to the Fringe, and when we all come together, we help put the performing arts on the map. To mark our 75th anniversary year and ensure the Fringe can evolve to meet future changes and challenges, we consulted with stakeholders from across the festival – from artists to venues, residents to government bodies – to create a shared vision and set of values. 

The vision is “to give anyone a stage and everyone a seat”. Rooted in equality and inclusiveness, this will inspire us all to pull in the same direction. 

Our three values will guide the behaviours and decisions of everyone involved with the Fringe, giving us a shared focus and enabling the festival to be the best version of itself: 

  • Celebrate performing arts  
  • Be open to all  
  • Look out for each other

This vision is accompanied by six Fringe development goals. Each sets ambitious targets designed to ensure the long-term survival and renewal of the festival. 

  1. Thriving artists      
    Be the best place in the world for emerging artists to perform and the best platform for talent to emerge.  
  2. Fair work    
    Eradicate any remaining unfair or exploitative work conditions at the Fringe.  
  3. Climate action      
    Become a carbon net zero event by 2030.  
  4. Equitable Fringe      
    Ensure that who you are and where you are from is not a barrier to attending or performing at the Edinburgh Fringe.  
  5. Good citizenship      
    The Fringe, a force for good in and for the city of Edinburgh.  
  6. Digital evolution    
    Enhance the live Fringe experience by ensuring a world-class digital experience.  

Giving anyone a stage

A performer dressed in bright colours with flowers in their hair waves material in the air.

Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World (2022), Pleasance, Photo: David Monteith-Hodge

Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World (2022), Pleasance, Photo: David Monteith-Hodge

Prior to the pandemic, registration for Fringe artists opened in early January, with the first shows available to book towards the end of that month. Early 2022 was still a time of uncertainty: the previous year’s Fringe had gone ahead at a much-reduced scale, with just under 1,000 shows taking part (roughly half of them online).

We approached Fringe 2022 cautiously, foregrounding the needs and safety of artists and audiences and paying close attention to the latest government guidance on Covid-19. Registration opened in February, with the first shows available to book in early March. In consultation with venues, we extended show registration by four weeks, pushing back the printed programme launch from June to July and giving artists more time to consider whether bringing a show was the right move for them. Despite rising costs associated with the festival, we froze registration fees at the same rate they have been since 2008.

Working with a reduced income from the previous year’s festival (with our income from registration fees and box office falling 40% short of the actual cost of our services), the Fringe Society prioritised the delivery of core services against what we could afford. With a smaller team than pre-pandemic, some difficult decisions had to be made very early in the planning cycle: we were unable to meet the costs of delivering a Fringe app for 2022, so prioritised website development to help audiences search and find shows. In addition, we moved the Fringe Central artists' hub to the newly opened St James Quarter, making a saving on the normal hire fee while giving us the opportunity to experiment with a new August space and dispersing our activity to another part of the city.

Access for artists

Ensuring the Fringe is as accessible as possible is important for both artists and audiences, and we continue to work with a range of partners to identify areas where we can improve. We strive to make the Fringe the world’s most inclusive festival, and while there is still much to do, we’re proud of the steps we’ve taken to make the festival more accessible this year.

Working with Drake Music Scotland – the country’s leading organisation creating music-making opportunities for children and adults with disabilities and additional support needs – we supported disabled artists to take over the St Andrew Square taster stage, alongside other schools and community groups, over three days during the Fringe.

We were delighted to support Deaf Action to stage its inaugural Edinburgh Deaf Festival during August. We also supported the provision of BSL interpretation at street performances in West Parliament Square on various dates throughout August.

We created opportunities for artists to work with a range of Edinburgh schools and community groups throughout the year, ensuring the application process was as accessible as possible by creating supporting materials in large print, captioned video and BSL-described video.

A large group of people stand in front of a DJ.

Deaf Rave (2022), Deaf Action @ St James Quarter, Photo: David Monteith-Hodge

Deaf Rave (2022), Deaf Action @ St James Quarter, Photo: David Monteith-Hodge

Find out more about our access work for Fringe audiences.

Fringe Central

Fringe Central is where artists and Fringe professionals can access in-person services from the Fringe Society during August. It’s where you can find our Arts Industry, Artist Development, Artist Support and Media offices, receive guidance on polishing your press release and network with peers. This year you could book a one-to-one mental health first aid appointment with Space to Breathe, one of our 2022 strategic partners.

Fringe Central also hosted a programme of 35 free events and discussions focusing on issues significant to the cultural sector, from representation and sustainability to the practicalities of making and touring work. These events featured provocations from industry figures such as newly announced Fringe patron Eddie Izzard, comedian and poet Rob Auton and Fleabag’s original stage producer Francesca Moody.

Fringe Connect

Fringe Connect is an online space where Fringe artists and arts industry can exchange ideas and information and create lasting working relationships. Users can also access year-round online events, archived recordings from past events, and resources and information relating to opportunities at the Fringe and in the wider sector (such as funding, performance, development and discount opportunities).

Over the past 12 months Fringe Connect has hosted 47 events for more than 5,000 users (and counting). It’s particularly useful for helping prepare artists in the run-up to the Fringe and beyond – some of our most well-attended events this year included:

  • How to do a show at the 2022 Fringe (an online session in January that attracted 260 attendees)
  • Making the most of the Fringe (June, 178 attendees)
  • International touring: Models to take your work abroad (August, 48 attendees)

Most events at Fringe Central this year were recorded so they could be uploaded to Fringe Connect as a resource for artists who were unable to attend in person. 

Fringe Marketplace

Fringe Marketplace is an online service that was conceived against a backdrop of lockdowns and travel restrictions, and which has progressed by leaps and bounds to become a useful tool for the arts industry. It’s aimed at creative sector professionals such as promoters, agents and programmers at arts festivals and venues around the world, providing them with essential information and contact details for tour-ready work at the Fringe.

This year we presented an upgraded version of Marketplace, with a curated selection of works nominated by their host venues sitting alongside a comprehensive directory of shows from artists with an expressed interest in further touring. 194 shows from this year’s Fringe will remain on Marketplace until June next year, giving industry members the chance to refresh their memory of shows they’ve seen or catch up with ones they missed.

Over 900 arts industry professionals had access to Fringe Marketplace in 2022, including more than 240 from overseas.

Three performers wearing bowler hats hold each other, making different expressions.

Godot is a Woman (2022), Pleasance, Photo: David Monteith-Hodge

Godot is a Woman (2022), Pleasance, Photo: David Monteith-Hodge

Screen Fringe

Among the many career pathways the Fringe offers for creatives, it provides a vital step for many writers, actors, comics and others looking to break into TV and film. Screen Fringe is a collaborative project we re-established this year with Screen Scotland, which aims to help Fringe artists engage with the national and international TV and film industry.

Screen Fringe was a great success in 2022, with engagement from high profile TV, digital content and film industry figures from the likes of Film4, Netflix, Universal and Big Talk.

Emerging Producers’ Development Programme

Our Emerging Producers' Development Programme is designed to help early-career producers get started at the Fringe. Places were prioritised for producers who identified as disabled, working class and / or part of the global majority; with the help of Something to Aim For, we selected 15 participants who received a tailored programme of professional development events that catered to their needs and interests.

International artists and industry

This year’s festival was the first full-scale Fringe since the UK exited the European Union, and as such we found ourselves providing a much greater level of support for international artists from EU countries – many visiting companies, for example, required welcome letters to enter the UK. The Fringe Society will continue to advocate for ongoing support of the festival’s permit-free status, making it easier and cheaper for international artists to perform in the UK.

Fringe Society staff were able to meet and share ideas with cultural organisations from around the world this year, including:

  • the 2022 Fringe World Congress in Orlando, Florida (USA)
  • arts markets in New Zealand and Australia
  • the Yokohama International Performing Arts Meeting (YPAM, Japan)
  • Chingay Parade Singapore
  • Mičinský Pitvor (Slovakia)
  • Polish Cultural Institute
  • Brussels Major Events (Belgium). 

Belgium (Wallonia), Denmark, England, Finland, France, Ireland, Korea, Northern Ireland, Québec, Taiwan, Scotland, Switzerland and Wales all presented showcases at the 2022 Fringe, while organisations from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Italy and Japan supported work from their respective nations. Our Arts Industry team also engaged with international delegations from Brazil, Canada, Finland, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Québec and Creative Europe during the Fringe.

Our Arts Industry Office accredited more than 1,300 producers, programmers, bookers, talent agencies, festivals and others from 45 countries, who come to Edinburgh to find work, tour it and support artists beyond the festival itself.

Supported by British Council Scotland, our Voices from the South project got underway following a period of research and development in 2021. The cross-continental initiative will feature 16 artistic projects from nations that would typically struggle to attend the Fringe; these projects will be staged digitally at Fringe 2023. This year we confirmed the projects:  

  • The Baxter Theatre (South Africa) 
  • Pickle Factory (India) 
  • La Teatreria and Teatrix (Mexico / Argentina) 
  • International Theatre Festival of São Paulo (Brazil) 
  • Magnetic North (Scotland).  

Made in Scotland

Made in Scotland is a showcase of Scotland’s brightest dance, music and theatrical talent that takes place every year at the Fringe. A partnership between the Fringe Society, Creative Scotland, the Federation of Scottish Theatre and Scottish Music Centre, this year’s Made in Scotland featured 27 shows, the biggest programme in its 14-year history.

New for 2022 was the Made in Scotland delegate programme, developed to foster deeper connections between arts industry professionals and Made in Scotland artists. Our Artist Development team also held regular online meetings and one-to-ones with the artists, plus a series of in-person events during August, to help develop their tour ambitions and build a sense of community among those included in the programme.

This work to bring together artists and industry provides robust opportunities for shows to tour internationally.

Scotland on Tour

Scotland on Tour, in partnership with BEMIS Scotland and the Fringe Society, launched a £60,000 funding pot as part of the Fringe’s 75th anniversary celebrations. The fund allowed eight multicultural community groups from around Scotland to stage exciting and diverse events in their local areas throughout September 2022, showcasing music, dance and storytelling.

The programme involved Scottish people from a range of cultural backgrounds including African, Bengali, Caribbean, Chinese, Indian, Middle Eastern, Pakistani, Polish, Romanian, Syrian and Ukrainian communities.

A performer speaks to a person who is sitting down. The performer is gesturing with their hands and looking enthusiastic.

Photo: David Monteith-Hodge (2022)

Photo: David Monteith-Hodge (2022)

Connecting artists with media

The Fringe Society’s Media Office connects Fringe artists with journalists and media outlets at the festival, helping artists to get coverage and reach wider audiences and assisting media to find and review work.

We hosted our traditional Meet the Media event on the first Saturday of the Fringe, inviting artists to pitch their shows to attending media in the Spiegeltent outside St James Quarter. More than 600 participants from 236 shows attended, pitching to 11 publications including the Stage, the Scotsman and Neurodiverse Review. Representatives from our 2022 digital partner TikTok were also on hand, offering advice to attendees on using the platform to their advantage, and Fringe Society President Phoebe Waller-Bridge spent time chatting with artists and hearing their pitches.

The in-person session was preceded by digital events, with more than 1,000 shows using the hashtag #TweetTheMedia on Twitter on 05 August, and shows on TikTok generating 78,000 views while using the hashtag #TikTokTheMedia.

As in 2021, we worked with venues to promote their artists by facilitating a series of Instagram Takeovers during August, in which 19 different venues took the reins of our Instagram Stories for 24 hours each.

A performer wears a tinsel wig, a shell bra and shiny material that looks like a tail. They are smiling with their arms outstretched as confetti floats in the air.

Rob Madge: My Son's A Queer (But What Can You Do?) (2022), Underbelly, Photo: David Monteith-Hodge

Rob Madge: My Son's A Queer (But What Can You Do?) (2022), Underbelly, Photo: David Monteith-Hodge

TikTok, the 'virtual stage of the Fringe'

In June we announced a partnership with TikTok, recognising its significance as a platform where Fringe artists (whether already Fringe-experienced or destined for future appearances) can create work and reach a burgeoning new audience.

The team at TikTok hosted a series of information sessions, both in person and online, in the weeks leading up to the festival, giving Fringe artists the tools to make the platform work best for them.

A jumbo TikTok screen in the Fringe Shop window showed posters for artists’ shows, increasing their visibility amid the hustle and bustle of the festival, and the taster stage in St Andrew Square was streamed live on the platform.

TikTok also focused on the Fringe as part of a high-profile UK-wide marketing campaign, spreading awareness of the festival among potential new audiences.

Street events

The Fringe street events are an essential and iconic part of the festival. This year we expanded them beyond the traditional Royal Mile and Mound sites and introduced taster stages to St Andrew Square and Cathedral Square where Fringe artists could perform a snippet of their show.

The street events programme featured more than 3,200 street performances during August 2022, including 650 on the taster stages. To ensure that our hometown is represented at the festival, we invited Edinburgh community groups and schools to take over these stages for the final weekend of the Fringe.  

Our street events plans were underpinned by a newly established Charter, created in collaboration between the Fringe Society and a representative Street Performing Council.

The street events would not be possible without the support of EventScotland and the City of Edinburgh Council. We would also like to thank TikTok, St James Quarter and Nuveen for their support.

An illustrated map of Edinburgh, highlighting where the 2022 street events were taking place.
A performer sits on top of a pole gesturing to a large crowd that has gathered below. They are outside on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh.

Malachi Frost (2022), Photo: David Monteith-Hodge

Malachi Frost (2022), Photo: David Monteith-Hodge

A saxophonist stands playing the saxophone in front of a multi-coloured background.

Sax Janet (2022), Photo: David Monteith-Hodge

Sax Janet (2022), Photo: David Monteith-Hodge

A street performer stands in a giant purple balloon with their head sticking out. They are making a happy surprised face.

Miss C Balloonologist (2022), Photo: David Monteith-Hodge

Miss C Balloonologist (2022), Photo: David Monteith-Hodge

A street performer high fives a child. The street performer is wearing a little top hat.

Photo: David Monteith-Hodge (2022)

Photo: David Monteith-Hodge (2022)

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A performer sits on top of a pole gesturing to a large crowd that has gathered below. They are outside on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh.

Malachi Frost (2022), Photo: David Monteith-Hodge

Malachi Frost (2022), Photo: David Monteith-Hodge

A saxophonist stands playing the saxophone in front of a multi-coloured background.

Sax Janet (2022), Photo: David Monteith-Hodge

Sax Janet (2022), Photo: David Monteith-Hodge

A street performer stands in a giant purple balloon with their head sticking out. They are making a happy surprised face.

Miss C Balloonologist (2022), Photo: David Monteith-Hodge

Miss C Balloonologist (2022), Photo: David Monteith-Hodge

A street performer high fives a child. The street performer is wearing a little top hat.

Photo: David Monteith-Hodge (2022)

Photo: David Monteith-Hodge (2022)


The Fringe Society uses its convening power to meet regularly with officials at local and national levels to advocate for the needs of Fringe artists and the festival as a whole. Our development goals set out clearly where investment and collaboration could bring about positive change, and we use evidence-based data to address areas of concern and seek solutions. One of the most pressing issues for artists is the depleted stock and rising cost of accommodation; the Society has prioritised this as a matter of urgency.

MP Tommy Sheppard hosted a Fringe programme launch event in Westminster on 20 July. This was hosted by Lindsay Hoyle, Speaker of the House of Commons, and attracted cross-party representation alongside our cultural stakeholders; it was also attended by Fringe Society President Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Fringe patron Eddie Izzard.

We work with strategic partners to bring about positive change and improvements; in 2022, our partners included:

  • The Edinburgh Climate Compact – a sustainability initiative comprising businesses and organisations in Edinburgh, of which we are a founding member.
  • Creative UK (formerly the Creative Industries Federation) – a campaign body lobbying UK Government to reduce visa restrictions and support the culture sector’s recovery over the next three to five years.
  • Birds of Paradise – a disabled-led Scottish theatre company advising on accessibility and collaborating on projects and work that engage disabled artists and audiences.
  • Something to Aim For – an organisation providing advocacy and capacity building for artists (primarily working in performance) from under-represented and marginalised communities.
  • Somewhere – an organisation working to improve the visibility and accessibility of LGTBQ+ Fringe work for artists and audiences.
  • Parents in the Performing Arts (PIPA) – an organisation addressing a lack of provision for parents and carers in the performing arts.
Three performers kick their legs into the air. One performer wears horns, the other wears a cape.

The Twenty-sided Tavern (2022), Pleasance, Photo: David Monteith-Hodge

The Twenty-sided Tavern (2022), Pleasance, Photo: David Monteith-Hodge


The cost of accommodation for Fringe performers and workers is a prevalent theme in the feedback we’ve received this year. The Fringe Society identified this issue in 2017 and has partnered since then with TheatreDigsBooker, an artist-only platform promoting affordable properties listed under £280 a week. We’ve also negotiated with university halls of residences in Edinburgh to offer around 1,000 rooms at the same rate or less.

Following this year’s Fringe we undertook a range of surveys and conversations to compile feedback on topics including accommodation. We’ve received hundreds of responses which we’re now using as an evidence base in conversations with council officials and policy-makers. We believe there is a willingness from all parties to find ways forward that would be a positive outcome for all who have raised concerns about the short-lets accommodation situation in Edinburgh, and the creative community that wants to be part of Edinburgh’s world-renowned festivals every August.

Giving everyone a seat

One of the Fringe Society’s key objectives is to help audiences navigate the Fringe with comprehensive and up-to-date information and ticketing. In a way, this is an extension of our commitment to supporting artists – it’s about ensuring they and their audiences can find each other.

We provide a centralised website and box office where audiences can browse and book tickets for every show on the Fringe. This year, between June and August alone, received more than 36 million pageviews from 2.5 million visitors. We invested heavily in our digital infrastructure, making payments more secure and helping people navigate the myriad shows on offer. Following a successful pilot at Fringe 2021, we rolled out e-ticketing across the entire festival, with physical tickets still available to anyone for whom e-tickets presented an access barrier. The Half Price Hut returned in August at a new location at 180 High Street, enabling audiences to take a chance on new discoveries by buying half-price tickets for participating shows taking place that day or the following morning.

The Fringe printed programme returned this year for the first time since 2019, with a new section listing enhanced performances that featured BSL interpretation, captioning, audio description and relaxed performances. The programme was available to pre-order for home delivery from the end of March, and to collect in person – from 800 outlets across the UK – from early July.

Following the Fringe, we conducted a survey with more than 9,000 ticket buyers to better understand our customers’ experiences and to identify ways we can refine and improve our services. This was part of a broader effort to gather feedback from across the Fringe landscape – including from artists, venues and workers – that will form the basis for our preparations for Fringe 2023 and beyond.

We'd like to thank Johnnie Walker Princes Street for their support of e-ticketing this year.

Access at the Fringe

A BSL interpreter stands in front of a Fringe background. They are signing.

Photo: David Monteith-Hodge (2022)

Photo: David Monteith-Hodge (2022)

In addition to the access work we do for Fringe artists, we’re also committed to making the Fringe more accessible for attendees.

Our access bookings service is our primary point of contact for anyone with an access requirement who’s interested in coming to the festival. It’s available by phone, in person and by email, and can assist with booking tickets (including free tickets for personal assistants), finding out venue access information and booking specific accessibility services, for example a hearing loop, audio description headsets, captioning units or seating in relation to the location of the BSL interpreter. We also lent audio description and captioning equipment to companies to enable them to offer more accessible performances.

Every year we ensure Fringe Society staff have the necessary training to provide excellent service to all customers, including those with access requirements; we also provide this training as an online resource for staff across the Fringe, so the whole festival can be as welcoming as possible to all.

To improve our accessible bookings services, we’ve put considerable development work into our ticketing system, enhancing how venue and performance access data is stored, searched and displayed, and streamlining communications to venues regarding booking requirements. We’ll be able to start rolling these out on over the coming years.

A person wears a backpack and some headphones in an outside area.

Photo: David Monteith-Hodge (2022)

Photo: David Monteith-Hodge (2022)

Since 2018 we’ve been providing free sensory backpacks for people who find the festival environment overwhelming, such as autistic children and adults. We re-evaluated the backpacks this year, stocking them with items such as wobble cushions and weighted neck pads to help people who need assistance positioning their bodies. In partnership with venues across the city centre (including Assembly George Square, the Scottish Storytelling Centre and Greenside Infirmary Street), we were able to provide 150 sensory backpacks to Fringe attendees this year.

In addition to our work with Deaf Action on the inaugural Edinburgh Deaf Festival, we worked with them to provide BSL interpretation of the street events at the West Parliament Square stage across five dates in August, our most yet. We also ensure all Fringe Society events – such as the launches of our vision and values in June and printed programme in July – have BSL interpretation.

We once again provided a dedicated Changing Places toilet beside George Square for the duration of the festival. Changing Places are accessible toilets with an adult-sized changing bench and hoist, for people who are unable to use a standard accessible toilet – we’d like to thank Assembly Festival and University of Edinburgh for their help with Changing Places this year.

Following the interruption of the past few years, we brought back the Venue Access Award in 2022, which highlights those Fringe venues with the strongest approach to meeting access requirements. Thirty-four venues continued in the scheme, with three more achieving the maximum rating.

We also distributed Fringe vouchers to Euan’s Guide, an outlet publishing disabled access reviews, so that their reviewers could report back independently on Fringe venues’ accessibility.

Working with local communities

Fringe Days Out provides Edinburgh-based charities, schools and community groups with Fringe ticket vouchers and bus day tickets, allowing them to experience the Fringe and make the most of the festival that takes place on their doorstep each year.

The project is specifically for people who are at risk of social exclusion – we work with a broad range of people, including refugees and asylum seekers, single parents, isolated elderly people, disabled people, ethnic minority communities, young people identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender and people from areas of multiple deprivation. This year we added another school as part of Fringe Days Out; we now work with 30 community groups and three schools across Edinburgh.

More than 3,300 people took part in Fringe Days Out in 2022. This brings the total number of attendees to over 12,500 since it launched in 2017, many of whom have visited the festival for the first time thanks to the project.

The number of vouchers redeemed this year was over 80%, one of the highest rates in the project’s history. We believe this is a testament to the hard work of our Community Engagement team in building and strengthening relationships with partner organisations. The project’s long-term nature gives participants the chance to build up confidence in visiting the festival over time.

A group of people smile and wave. They are standing outside and look happy.

Gig Buddies (2022), Photo: David Monteith-Hodge

Gig Buddies (2022), Photo: David Monteith-Hodge

Here’s a selection of feedback from Fringe Days Out partner organisations:

“We have had a ball and great experiences seeing shows and performers we wouldn’t otherwise have seen... Also the travel day tickets are great and remove financial barriers as transport is expensive.” Scott, SPACE and Broomhouse Hub

“I believe the vouchers were even more beneficial this year, due to the cost-of-living crisis – a lot of families we passed on vouchers to said they would otherwise not be able to afford to go.” Thomas, Dads Rock

“Since participating in Fringe Days Out, the number of young people who have seen a show during the festival has doubled – about 50% of this years’ bookings were for people who were seeing a show for the first time with us, or people who’ve only been to the Fringe before through us.” Julia, LGBTYS

We were able to provide additional support this year by:

  • providing opportunities for community groups to perform on our street events stage in St Andrew Square
  • arranging for Fringe performers to perform 20 pop-up shows in community spaces outside the city centre in summer, giving locals a Fringe experience in their own area
  • hosting a Fringe taster day in Wester Hailes.

We would like to thank Baillie Gifford for their generous support of Fringe Days Out.

A performer stands on an outside stage. They have pink hair, they are holding a guitar and singing into a microphone.

Drake Music Scotland (2022), Photo: David Monteith-Hodge

Drake Music Scotland (2022), Photo: David Monteith-Hodge

Children and Young People (CYP) ticketing scheme

The Children and Young People (CYP) ticketing scheme provides free Fringe tickets, generously donated by Fringe artists and companies, for children and young people in and around the city who may not otherwise be able to attend.

Tickets are distributed through social, family or youth workers in the council or through local community organisations and charities. This year we worked with our project partners to make sure the CYP tickets were available to refugees, asylum seekers and those with No Recourse to Public Funds living locally.

We are delighted that over 2,500 tickets were booked through CYP this summer.

"I often hear from the families we support that they’ve lived in Edinburgh their whole life, but never been to the Fringe. Besides cost being a barrier, they feel it is not for them – that it's a 'white person thing'. But CYP is like an ice breaker for them to explore the festival and become more independent in going. CYP transforms the Fringe into a friendly and welcoming space. A warm thank you to the artists taking part in making it so!" Mitra, Edinburgh & Lothians Regional Equality Council


We want to make sure that all children and young people across Edinburgh have the opportunity to engage with the Fringe, encouraging the next generation of artists and audiences.

With the generous support of an anonymous donor, we were able to work with three high schools this year – Gracemount, Tynecastle and St Augustine’s – offering them the opportunity to bring groups of young people to have a full Fringe experience. This included traveling into town, seeing shows and street theatre and indulging in some street food. Each school had flexibility to organise the project differently, with young people often playing a key role in selecting the shows they see, advocating for these to their peers, and booking tickets.

Liberton High School performed at Schools on the Street, our opportunity for Edinburgh schoolkids to take to the stage and be part of the world’s greatest celebration of arts and culture. Their music class performed on our street events taster stage in St Andrew Square; they were also treated to a tour from a street performer, who showed them around the High Street and talked them through what it takes to be a street performer.

A young performer in a school uniform plays the guitar and sings into a microphone.

Photo: David Monteith-Hodge (2022)

Photo: David Monteith-Hodge (2022)

Teachers' Theatre Club

Running since 2019 in collaboration with Imaginate, Teachers’ Theatre Club involves Fringe staff facilitating teachers from schools in Edinburgh and the Lothians to see and discuss work at the Fringe, Children’s Festival and various shows throughout the year. The project encourages teachers to engage more with performance, providing them with more knowledge and confidence to discuss it in the classroom.

The project was expanded in 2022 into National Teachers’ Theatre Club in collaboration with Imaginate and National Theatre of Scotland, opening the project up to teachers across Scotland. Teachers attended six Fringe shows in person and one online, all accompanied by post-show discussions with companies and artists. This was an opportunity for them to discover what it takes to bring a show to the Fringe and have in-depth discussions around themes of education, class, race and gender. At the teachers’ request, one company also offered their script to be taught in the classroom.

Since the inception of Teachers’ Theatre Club we have worked with 28 teachers from 24 schools across Edinburgh and the Lothians and 16 teachers from 15 schools around the rest of Scotland.

Celebrating the Fringe

Marketing the Fringe

One of the Fringe Society’s core charitable objectives is to celebrate the Fringe and all it stands for – and, with 2022 seeing the first fully live Fringe since 2019, as well as its 75th anniversary, this year’s marketing campaign had a lot to celebrate.

We wanted the campaign to capture a sense of nostalgia for the festival’s rich and storied history, so we took inspiration from the pop art movement, using Warhol-style layouts and a reprographic technique that created imagery from dots. Symbolically, the individual dots represented Fringe moments of the past 75 years, with each moment adding together to create the entirety of the Fringe; this also tied into our Fringe Moments project.

While it recognised the festival’s historic legacy, the campaign was also rooted firmly in the present. We worked with Edinburgh-based photographer Lou Mac to capture modern images representing the key ingredients of the Fringe: artists, audiences and the majestic city of Edinburgh.

The finished campaign was seen far and wide, used in digital advertising across the UK to generate excitement for the festival and on the cover of the Fringe programme. It adorned the streets of Edinburgh in August with posters sharing information around areas such as e-ticketing and our access services, as well as flags and stage backdrops around the street events and vinyls at Fringe Central. The dots even found their way into our Fringe trailer, a two-minute compilation of over 100 shows appearing at this year’s festival that was shared on social media by many of the featured artists:

Fringe Moments

Our Fringe Moments project comprised a collection of stories and pictures covering the breadth of the festival’s history, sourced from artists, audiences and venues, celebrating 75 years of the Fringe.

We asked audience members and artists on social media and our mailing lists to contribute their favourite Fringe memories; we also approached some well-known Fringe faces such as Arthur Smith and our newly announced Fringe patron Eddie Izzard to share their reminiscences. We collated these submissions before publishing them online on Wednesday 24 August, the anniversary of the first ever Fringe performance.

Four nurses perform on the stage. Next to it some text reads: "Back in 1980 or '81 we junior doctors from Glasgow Royal Infirmary took our Christmas show to the Fringe. Somehow we were sold out! The public's appetite for a medical anything is insatiable. All of us mad and tired but clearly supremely hardworking doctors. What fun we had." Mary Church.
Multiple people in large comedy glasses stand around Ronnie Corbett in an Edinburgh Street. They are all smiling and look excited. Text next to this reads: "Work's fun day out at the Fringe, 2013. The theme was to wear a moustache and fun shades. While having our photo taken, we spotted Ronnie Corbett at the bottom of the hill and ran, screeching and shouting his name. We really did freak him out but he was still kind enough to have his pic taken with us. It was the highlight of the day and we still talk about it to this day." Sandra Marshall

Media coverage

Our aim in celebrating the Fringe is ultimately to help artists – the more attention we draw to the Fringe, the more people will attend and book tickets. To that end, we’re delighted that 777 members of the media accredited with our Media Office this year, representing more than 340 individual outlets from 18 countries around the world (including Australia, Israel, Japan, Pakistan and the US). Our Chief Executive and senior staff were interviewed on a variety of topics by the likes of the Times, Telegraph, Guardian, BBC Scotland, STV and Global Radio.

The BBC produced a new feature-length documentary on the history of the Fringe this year. The Fringe, Fame and Me was structured around stories from some familiar Fringe faces, including Eddie Izzard, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Michael Palin, Stephen K Amos and Miriam Margolyes.

The documentary was broadcast on BBC Scotland on Monday 08 August, and is available to view on BBC iPlayer until summer 2023:

Eddie Izzard smiles in front of the Fringe shop. They are wearing a denim jacket and glasses.

Eddie Izzard (2022), Photo: David Monteith-Hodge

Eddie Izzard (2022), Photo: David Monteith-Hodge

Eddie Izzard

On Wednesday 27 July we announced Eddie Izzard as the first alumni Patron of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society.

Eddie first performed at the Fringe in 1981 and spent more than a decade practising her craft – in sketch comedy, street performance and finally stand-up – before her career took off. She’s now recognised around the world, having played in 45 countries, in four languages, and in venues like Madison Square Garden and the Hollywood Bowl, as well as appearing in a slew of Hollywood films and TV shows. Eddie is a global champion for creativity, and a vocal supporter for those starting out – in other words, an ideal ambassador for the Fringe.

Speaking about the appointment, Eddie said:

“The Edinburgh Fringe gives people from all around the world a wonderful, open-door opportunity to perform and be seen. But it is also physically and mentally as tough as hell. It took me eight Fringe festivals to start breaking through, and 10 festivals to finally arrive! 

“But the Fringe Festival taking place in the dramatic and historic capital city of Edinburgh gives it something else. It gives it grandeur. It is this grandeur, coupled with young people’s intense creative struggle, that has made the Edinburgh Fringe what it is today. A legend.”

Eddie joins our President, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, as a champion for the Fringe Society, the charity that supports the Fringe and helps work towards fulfilling its vision – to give anyone a stage and everyone a seat. 

Income and expenditure

While recovery of the Fringe in 2022 was strong, income from box office commission and fees, advertising and registration was reduced. We are enormously grateful to all of our sponsors for helping ensure the Fringe Society can continue to provide all of the necessary services to artists and audiences, and to the City of Edinburgh Council for their continued annual support.  

Delivery in 2022 would not have been possible without additional funding from Event Scotland, the Scottish Government and the City of Edinburgh Council, and we would also like to thank the Scottish Government for their support via the Platform for Creative Excellence Programme and their ongoing investment in Made in Scotland through the Edinburgh Festivals EXPO fund.  

Other income includes donations, rental income, Gift Aid and a management fee from our trading subsidiary. The majority of our expenditure goes on providing services and infrastructure, staffing the Society, our iconic street events, marketing the Fringe in its entirety and the range of services and support offered to artists, industry and media throughout the year.  

A pie chart showing the distribution of income. The Total income is £5,072,650.
A pie chart showing the distribution of expenditure. The Total expenditure is £5,379,912.
Benny Higgins sits smiling in front of a stack of cellos.

Benny Higgins

Benny Higgins

A closing note from the Chair

The 75th anniversary of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe was always going to be a monumental time for the performing arts and for the city of Edinburgh on the world stage. It was brought into even sharper focus with the backdrop of the disruption caused by the pandemic, and the recent economic and geopolitical challenges. These events also emphasised, however, the crucial role played by the cultural sector in supporting wellbeing, and in being a vital part of what Scotland stands for at home and abroad. At any point of inflection or crisis it is paramount that an organisation revisits its purpose, its values and its ways of working. 

The first step in doing so is to listen, and to do so carefully and comprehensively. That is what we did this autumn. We engaged with audiences, artists, venues, media, and with others across the arts industry. The perspectives drawn from this process lie at the heart of our plans for the future. Plans that will underpin the continuing journey of recovery and renaissance for the Fringe and the Society. Two specific issues that are worthy of mention are the development of the app and the focus on accommodation. The development of the app, for reasons set out clearly, was not achievable this year given unique pressures on our resources; but it is a key objective ahead of next year. Accommodation has emerged as perhaps the single biggest threat to our aspirations for the Fringe. 

It is, therefore, essential that the Society plays the central convening role of lobbying and advocating for affordable accommodation for artists. For many artists, the absence of interventions to tackle this issue would represent terminal jeopardy in respect of performing at the Fringe. It will require collective effort to find remedies.

Shona and her executive team have been outstanding this year in the face of extraordinary headwinds. It has at times been humbling to observe how the team has remained focused and committed whilst confronting adversity. On behalf of the Board, I express our thanks. I am proud to chair the Board which sets out to support the executive team, and protect the identity of the Fringe. John F Kennedy once said, “If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his or her vision wherever it takes them.” This lies at the epicentre of the purpose of the Fringe, for now and for the next 75 years.

Benny Higgins
Chair of the Board

Thank you

The Fringe Society is a registered charity and relies on the financial and strategic support of our partners and sponsors, and the generosity of our Angels, Patrons, Friends and supporters.  

Our heartfelt thanks to everyone who helped us in 2022 – without you none of the work covered in this review would have been possible. 


  • Cirrus Logic 
  • Edinburgh Gin 
  • Johnnie Walker Princes Street 
  • TikTok 


  • Bellfield 
  • Bright Signals 
  • Crowdfunder  
  • Edinburgh University Festivals Team 
  • Eight plus  
  • Fest 
  • Leith 
  • Mediacom 
  • Nuveen 
  • PPL/PRS 
  • Red61 
  • St James Quarter 
  • Tactuum 
  • The List 
  • The Skinny 
  • Unique Events 
  • Unite Students 
  • World Fringe Alliance 


  • City of Edinburgh Council 
  • Creative Scotland 
  • DCMS 
  • Event Scotland 
  • Scottish Government 
  • UK Government 
  • Visit Scotland 

Community and access partners: 

  • Baillie Gifford 
  • Drake Music Scotland 
  • Edinburgh Trams 
  • Euan’s Guide
  • Lothian  

Trusts and foundations: 

  • Paul Hamlyn Foundation