A Statement on the Edinburgh Fringe
As a supporter of emerging artists and a small, grassroots organisation we were delighted to see the Edinburgh Fringe Society announce it’s 2021 season would look a bit more familiar than 2020 did. As we move forward through the pandemic it is vital to bring back the things we love about theatre, and for so many of us the Fringe is a wonderful time of year.
However, for too long the Fringe has been unsustainable for artists. Shows lose thousands of pounds each year and artists rarely get paid a fraction of what they’re worth. That’s before you even consider the cost of accommodation, venue conditions and the fees attached. Returning to live theatre after so long has given us all an opportunity to reflect on how we want this industry to look and the way we want it to treat people. We want to ensure emerging artists (and artists at all stages) get paid their value, and know what their value is- and the way the Fringe has been operating for the past few years is unsustainable.
We at Framework don’t want our role in the sector to be a passive one. We want to be a champion for emerging artists and play by a different set of rules. A set of rules that makes the sector fairer and more equitable and makes theatre careers more achievable and – most importantly – sustainable.
We were incredibly shocked to see the Fringe Society fees (with no alternative price structure, flexible payment model, or acknowledgement of how much money that is to an artist), and the grants they were offering (which wouldn’t have fairly covered wages for a one-person show for a run, let alone considering tech, venue hire, marketing and all the other costs attached). We are basing our understanding of wages off of the recommended union rates from Equity, the writing commission rates from the Scottish Society of Playwrights and the Directing/Technician rates from the Independent Theatre Council.
This year has caused extreme financial losses for our sector, with the majority of our workers relying on government grants. We can’t afford the losses that Fringe induces this year. It’s as simple as that.
We will be producing a show in August this year. We have a new audio-digital experience coming on August 6th, but it will not be part of the Edinburgh Fringe. We are using the money we would have spent on the registration fee to pay the creatives that we work with as much as we can to ensure they get as fair a wage as possible.
We love attending the Fringe. We love the energy and the excitement that it brings to Edinburgh. But you can’t do the Fringe without the artists, and something needs to change.