Random Snippets of Fringe history from here, thar and afar
It all started way, way before you were born with the Edinburgh Fringe Festival...
1947: Eight theatre groups turn up uninvited to the first Edinburgh International Festival in Scotland. The inn is full, so they check in at venues away from the big public stages, out on the fringe. The first Fringe has been born. There is no central box office, no Fringe Programme, no advance publicity – the interlopers just arrived.
1948: Robert Kemp of the Edinburgh Evening News unknowingly coins the name that is to later describe the largest and most famous festival in the world: 'Round the fringe of the official Festival drama there seems to be a more private enterprise than before... I'm afraid some of us are not going to be often at home during the evenings' he wrote.
1954: Fringe groups hold their first meeting. 'We are cutting each other's throats,' says one producer. Joint box office and publicity are given high priority as a cure for this calamity.
1955: The Edinburgh Fringe is already established, with Durham, Oxford, Birmingham and Edinburgh universities represented regularly. Thirteen groups attend.
1958: The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society becomes organised. A constitution is drawn up. Artistic vetting is to have no place in the society's aims, a decision which remains central to the development of the Fringe.
1966: Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead is premiered in Edinburgh by the Oxford Theatre Group.
2001: Over 600 groups from 49 different countries performed 1,462 shows in 175 venues across Edinburgh. Ticket sales soar to a record ￡6,636,093.
2003: Edinburgh Fringe ticket sales hit the million mark for the first time (1.18 million)!
2010: The Atlantic Fringe Festival celebrates its 20th Birthday/Anniversary ! Gratulerer med dagen! Sretna godinjica! Felice anniversario!
2011: The Atlantic Fringe Festival almost didn't happen: new Fringe Director, Thom Fitzgerald, and friends rescue the 21st Fringe and - to everyone's surprise - take it to new heights.
2013: The 23rd Atlantic Fringe Festival's attendance breaks the 10,000 barrier - a 500% increase over 2010. And something else we've not seen before - no deficit!
2015: The 25th Atlantic Fringe Festival celebrates its Silver Anniversary with more venues than ever before: twelve!
"Fringe theatre is theatre that is experimental in style or subject matter. The term comes from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
In unjuried theatre festivals, all submissions are accepted and the participating acts may be chosen by lottery.... Unjuried festivals (e.g., Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Adelaide Fringe Festival, and Fringe World) permit artists to perform a wide variety of works.
The term was founded in the 1940s, when eight theatre companies showed up at the Edinburgh International Festival, hoping to gain recognition from the mass gathering at the festival. Edinburgh Festival Fringe was founded in 1947. The first movement in Britain started in the 1960s, and is considered similar to the United States' Off-Off-Broadway theatres and Europe's "free theater" groups. The term came into use in the late 1950s, and the show Beyond the Fringe premiered in Edinburgh in 1960, before transferring to Broadway and West End.
Meanwhile, in the United States, experimental theatre was growing due to the political protest of the Vietnam War. Fringe theatres were attractive to people in the 1960s due to their adventurousness, became less wild in the 1970s while the standards of production rose.
In 1982 the first fringe festival in North America was started in Edmonton, Alberta. It was then a theatre component of the larger Summerfest, but evolved to become a stand-alone event. The Edmonton International Fringe Festival, one of the largest annual arts events in Canada and still the largest fringe in North America by attendance. The oldest fringe festival in the United States is Orlando, FL, founded in 1992. There are more fringe festivals in North America than any other continent."
The Fringe Team of 2015
Festival Director… Thom Fitzgerald
Technical Director… Shawn Bisson
Associate Producers… Lee-Anne Poole, Ruth Vollick
Box Office Manager… Doug Pettigrew
Program Design… Ryan Doucette
Cover image… Shaun Simpson
Model... Tyler Bridges
Make-up Artist... James Neish
Photographer... Shaun Simpson
Our past, in pictures