'Keep it Fringe' fund awards bursaries to help level the playing field

04 Apr 2023

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society has announced 50 recipients of the Keep it Fringe fund, a new initiative intended to help level the playing field for artists.

The fund, which is supported by the Fleabag for Charity fund, as well as donations from individuals and Edinburgh Gin, is dispersing bursaries of £2,000 to a mixture of artists and companies bringing work to festival in 2023.

Applications to the fund, which was established this year, opened in early March. It received applications from 677 artists and companies, each of which was reviewed by two assessors.

The group of 23 assessors were tasked with identifying shows that capture the “defiant spirit” of the Fringe and are able to take advantage of the platform the festival provides to showcase untold stories.

The funded shows, which include a mixture of paid and free-entry performances, cover a broad range of subjects including climate action, OCD, parenthood, migration, love, death and the realities of rural life.

They will be performed across multiple genres, including musicals, stand-up, spoken word for children, plays, drag, performance art, variety and immersive theatre.

The Fringe Society highlighted the diversity of successful candidates. Nearly one in two are disabled or have a health condition and one in three come from a working-class background.

In addition to a £2,000 bursary, the 50 recipients of the fund will receive support to perform at the festival, including a share of £50,000 in advertising credits donated by TikTok.

They will also receive return tickets from electric rail provider Lumo from one of its UK hubs to Edinburgh.

“The number of applications received for the Keep it Fringe fund reflects the current economic climate and a need for significant support for artists coming to the Fringe,” said Shona McCarthy, Chief Executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society. 

Edinburgh Fringe 'at crisis point', organisers warn

People walking through Edinburgh during the Fringe
28 Mar 2023

Edinburgh Fringe Society calls for long-term support and investment from government in order to secure future of annual event.

Chancellor to announce £8.6m for Edinburgh festivals

14 Mar 2023

The Chancellor Jeremy Hunt is expected to announce £8.6m of funding for Edinburgh’s festivals in tomorrow's Spring Budget.

The Independent reports that some of the funding could go towards a permanent HQ for the Fringe.

Hunt said: “From Edinburgh’s Fringe to the International Festival, the city is world-famous for culture and it’s right to support it and help it grow.

“Millions of people flock to Edinburgh from all over the globe for its festivals, creating opportunities for incredible comedians, musicians, artists and more, as well as thousands of jobs each year – all contributing immensely to the UK’s shared economy.”

UK Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said the money "will help us safeguard a future where upcoming British talent can capitalise on the opportunities on offer".

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack declared the funding “fantastic news for Scotland". 



AHRC announces new hosts for Creative PEC

King's Walk on Newcastle University's campus, looking towards the Arches with the Student Union building on the left
09 Mar 2023

Centre producing research and policy recommendations on arts, culture and the creative industries will be split across two hubs in England, one in the North and one in the South.

Support fund for Edinburgh Fringe performers launches

Two performers on the streets of Edinburgh
07 Mar 2023

A new fund will offer bursaries to performers who want to appear at the renowned comedy festival in 2023.

Edinburgh’s King’s Theatre saved from closure

An artist's impression of King's Theatre's refurbished auditorium
27 Feb 2023

Refurbishment of historic theatre to begin this week, after Edinburgh Council and the Scottish Government plug the majority of a £9m funding gap.

Creative Scotland seeks to address freelancer pay 'anomalies'

21 Feb 2023

Creative Scotland is seeking to address the inconsistency in rates of pay for freelancers across its funding programmes.

Although it does not set rates of pay itself, Scotland's arts funding body said it wants to ensure that industry-standard rates are equitably and consistently applied.

Alastair Evans, Interim Director, Strategy at Creative Scotland said: “Creative Scotland is committed, through any activities we support, to ensure that artists and professionals working in the creative sector are paid fairly with appropriate terms and conditions and employment opportunities.”

Research to identify key priorities for change is being carried out by consultancy practice Culture Radar and Edinburgh’s Queen Margaret University.

They are currently seeking 'sector representatives' who have either made or been included in Creative Scotland funding applications, to contribute online to rates of pay consultations between 27 February - 2 March 2023. 

Evans added: “We encourage as many people as possible working across the industry to contribute to this important piece of work.

“This research will help to create the conditions for more meaningful and sustainable opportunities to work across, and progress through, the sector.”

Scottish Government U-turns on funding cut to Creative Scotland

Deputy First Minister of Scotland John Swinney announces yesterday's Budget
21 Feb 2023

Proposals to cut Creative Scotland’s budget by more than 10% are reversed.

Edinburgh theatre on sale for over £3m

20 Feb 2023

Central Edinburgh venue the Rose Theatre is on the market for offers in excess of £3m.

The theatre’s owner, Danish ballet dancer and choreographer Peter Schaufass, says he decided to close the theatre and put it up for sale as running two venues simultaneously had become “too much” for him.

He now plans to concentrate on developing his other venue, Edinburgh’s Saint Stephen’s Church, into a “world-class” venue.

The Rose Theatre is a Grade B-listed venue built in 1912, which hosts a 340-main seat hall alongside a second basement theatre, attic performance space and cabaret bar.

“I sincerely hope that [the Rose Theatre] will be bought by another creative operator within the industry that can take the venue further forward,” Schaufass said.

'Emergency' campaign against Scottish arts cuts launched

16 Feb 2023

A new 'emergency' public campaign is calling on the Scottish Government to abandon its proposed £7m cut to Creative Scotland's funding.

Campaign for the Arts described the 10% cut in the 2023-24 Budget – which will be voted on at Holyrood on 21 February – as a “short-sighted move that will cause long-lasting and potentially irreversible damage”.

Jack Gamble, Director of Campaign for the Arts, said the resignation of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon should prompt a rethink: “We’re entering a period of change at Holyrood, and it should extend to a rethink about the Budget on Tuesday.

“Especially in this economic climate, the implications are devastating for cultural organisations and the communities they serve.”

Creative Scotland has projected that up to half of its regularly funded organisations could lose funding if the cuts go ahead.

Culture Counts, a network of arts, heritage and creative industries organisations in Scotland, is backing the campaign.

Joseph Peach, Advocacy Manager of Culture Counts, said: “The survival of many organisations and culture workers is at high risk – and the Scottish Government’s plan to enact this funding approach risks their long-term future.”

A petition has been launched, calling on Deputy First Minister John Swinney and Culture Secretary Angus Robertson to stop the cuts.

Arts centre warns against Scottish Government cuts

14 Feb 2023

The director of a leading arts venue in the highlands of Scotland has voiced concerns over cuts to the Scottish Government’s arts and culture budget.

Charlotte Mountford, Lyth Arts Centre Director, penned a letter to Members of Scottish Parliament representing the Highlands and Islands, which calls for a reversal of the cuts to funding body Creative Scotland.

"Myself and my colleagues are calling for a reversal of the cut which is a relatively small amount (£6.6m of the overall Scottish Government budget of £59.8bn) which will have a disproportionately negative impact on a whole range of outcomes including jobs, the wellbeing of Scotland’s people and communities, and on the economy in general," the letter reads.

Lyth Arts Centre is Scotland’s most northernly mainland arts centre and has focused on delivering arts-based wellbeing activities after noticing a steep decline in its local community’s wellbeing since Covid.

The centre is not currently one of Creative Scotland’s regularly funded organisations, of which the funding body has said it expects to be forced to reduce in the wake of cuts to its budget.

A Scottish Government spokesperson told the John O’Groat Journal: "When the Scottish Government is facing difficult decisions about funding, the time is right for Creative Scotland to draw on the lottery reserves available to them".

The comment echoes remarks made by Scotland’s Culture Secretary Angus Robertson, who previously defended the decision to reduce the funding.

Theatre calls out audience's bad behaviour

08 Feb 2023

A theatre has been forced to issue an appeal for audiences to behave after drunken and anti-social behaviour during performances.

Glasgow’s King’s Theatre posted the plea on its Facebook page during the recent run of the musical The Bodyguard.

The production is based on the 1992 film featuring Whitney Houston which spawned the singer’s number one hit, I Will Always Love You.

Reports of audience members talking loudly during performances and trying to ‘outsing’ the cast prompted the Facebook message.

The post said: “We're really excited about welcoming you to The Bodyguard, where we want everyone to enjoy the show.

"With that in mind, we politely ask that you show consideration to your fellow audience members, who have come to enjoy performances on stage.

"We all have a part to play in making sure the theatre is a fantastic experience for everyone and you can help by ensuring the professionals on stage are the only people entertaining us with their performances, and by being kind to our dedicated staff who are here to make sure everybody is safe.

"Anti-social behaviour towards our staff or other customers will not be tolerated.”

The theatre’s message was shared twice and attracted over 1000 comments, many expressing their annoyance at the behaviour of audience members.

One said: “Stay at home with your Buckie Bottle and listen to Whitney if you can't behave and just enjoy it like normal people."

Short-term lets curb 'risks shrinking Edinburgh Fringe by third'

07 Feb 2023

Proposed new restrictions on the short-term letting of accommodation in Scotland could have a drastic impact on the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, festival organisers have claimed.

In a submission to the Scottish Government’s Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee, Festivals Edinburgh – which represents 11 of the city’s annual festivals – said the restrictions would make Edinburgh “increasingly unaffordable and unfeasible” for both festival participants and visitors, shrinking the Fringe by as much as a third.

The new restrictions, which are now expected to be introduced in October having originally being scheduled for March, will require hosts of short-term lets to have a licence or risk being fined.

The restrictions follow City of Edinburgh Council’s own new rules, introduced in September, which require anyone renting out an entire dwelling that is not their principal home to apply for planning permission.

Festivals Edinburgh claim that the impact of the restrictions could result in the loss of 700 jobs and a £30m hit to Edinburgh’s economy.

The body has called for exemptions to be made in Edinburgh during August, to take into account the huge increase in demand for short-term accommodation during the busy festivals period.

In it own submission to Holyrood, the campaign group PLACE Edinburgh took a counter view.

It said that the proposed restrictions were already having a positive impact on the housing stock in Scotland’s capital, “increasing the availability, affordability and liveability of housing, as investors sold off their stock in advance of the impending implementation date”.

SNP moots £4.5m rescue plan for Edinburgh's King’s Theatre

exterior of Edinburgh's King's Theatre
07 Feb 2023

Funding proposal comes as politicans call on SNP-run Scottish Government to step in and support the theatre, which has less than a month to secure funds to prevent closure.

Additional funding for Museums Galleries Scotland

07 Feb 2023

The Scottish Government has announced an additional £500,000 of funding for Museums Galleries Scotland this financial year to help tackle ongoing cost of living challenges.

Scotland’s Culture Minister Neil Gray confirmed the funding during the launch of Scotland’s Museums and Galleries Strategy 2023-2030 in Edinburgh last Thursday (2 January).

He said the funding will help increase resilience in Scotland’s museum sector and will enable more energy efficiency projects to be funded.

The commitment is one of the first funding distributions to be made since the Scottish Government announced it will be cutting funding levels to arts and culture by 10% this year.

CEO of Museums Galleries Scotland Lucy Casot “warmly welcomed” the additional support.

“We had a huge response to our Resilience Fund and we are very pleased that this funding will enable us to support more museums and galleries to manage ongoing cost of living challenges and to undertake energy efficiency projects,” she added.

Lottery support for forestry arts projects in Scotland

02 Feb 2023

Two arts projects focusing on forestry and sustainability in Scotland have received National Lottery support in the recent round of Creative Scotland’s Open Fund awards.

A large-scale public artwork by artist Colin Andrews will involve planting oak trees across Fife to create a ‘future forest’. As part of the project, called Akin, 200 nine-year-old oak trees will be replanted across the region during 2023.

Andrews grew the trees from acorns he originally gathered in Fife in 2013. The trees will be gifted to 200 individuals, families, community groups, institutions and businesses who will plant and take care of them.

Andrews said: “Beyond the environmental and wellbeing implications of creating a forest of the future, the more immediate and direct intention of creating a symbolic, dispersed woodland is to engage communities in individual acts of nurture and stewardship, in a collective act of empowerment, commitment and sustainability.” 

A second project produced in partnership by the Scottish Furniture Makers Association, Scottish Forestry and the Association of Scottish Hardwood Sawmillers aims to highlight and showcase Scottish ash.

In 2024, the ‘Ash Rise!’ touring exhibition and outreach programme will shine a light on ash’s use for furniture making and other crafts, while also educating the public about the devastating impact of ash dieback disease.

Richard Herring: elitism of Fringe 'makes me sick'

Richard Herring performing on stage
29 Jan 2023

Acclaimed comedian announces decision not to perform at Edinburgh Fringe this year saying it has evolved into an event that only wealthy participants and audiences can attend.

Musicians' census aims to 'kickstart industry change'

A man playing music on a turntable
23 Jan 2023

Musicians urged to take part in first ever Musicians’ Census in order to map the total population of musicians and build a picture of the issues they face.

Historic theatre faces closure due to £9m funding gap

Exterior of Edinburgh's King Theatre
20 Jan 2023

King's Theatre in Edinburgh issues urgent plea for financial support after missing out on levelling up funding, warning that it could be forced to 'close its doors forever' within a matter of weeks.

Creative Scotland warns of cuts to long-term funding offers

19 Jan 2023

Creative Scotland has warned it may have to half the number of organisations it provides long-term funding for after losing more than 10% of its government budget.

The funding body’s Chief Executive Iain Munro told Scottish Parliament around 60 organisations could lose support, which could put up to 2,500 jobs at risk.

The cut to Creative Scotland’s budget means the funder will be forced to use some of its National Lottery reserves to fund arts organisations.

The Scotsman has reported Scottish Culture Secretary Angus Robertson signalled to these reserve when justifying the government’s decision to make the cuts, adding he insisted “the time is right” for reserves to be deployed when the government is faced with “difficult decisions”.

Trade union Bectu has said it is “dismayed” at the news and has called on the Scottish Government to identify additional funding to support the arts.

“It’s been clear for some time now that the industry is heading towards a funding crisis,” Bectu negotiations officer for Scotland Paul McManus said.

“We will continue to fully engage with Creative Scotland and the Scottish Government following this announcement. The government must stand by its commitment to the arts by putting its money where its mouth is and make clear its commitment to responsible employment practices.”


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