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!
After Edinburgh, the second-largest fringe festival in the world is that of the Adelaide Fringe Festival. The Adelaide Fringe evolved in the early 1970s as a reaction against the establishment and the then 'mainstream' Adelaide Festival of Arts. Today, although two events are now inextricably linked, the Fringe Festival has overtaken the main Festival of Arts in terms of attendance. The Adelaide Fringe is renowned for its innovation, spontaneity and carnival atmosphere, and is widely regarded as one of the best events of its kind in the world.
The largest fringe festival in North America is the Edmonton International Fringe Festival. Founded in 1982 and 1988 respectively, Edmonton and Winnipeg are the premiere stops on the Canadian fringe tour, a semi-official series of fringe theatre festivals that permit performers to travel east to west, from June to September. Canada now has more Fringe Festivals than any other country in the world and each Canadian Fringe festival strongly adheres to the philosophy that a "Fringe Festival" be unjuried, return 100% of box office proceeds back to the participating artists and remain affordable and accessible to all.
In 1998, the Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals trademarked the words "Fringe" and "Fringe Festivals" for all of North America. Although the CAFF claims it was "to protect the artists and the integrity of the festivals," this approach, as well as festival registration fees, drew criticism from some artists and led to the creation of the infringement Festival in Montreal in 2004, a new movement that now has festivals running in five cities.
Fringe festivals are becoming more common, with many major cities throughout the world now conducting their own Fringe Festivals of sorts.
The Atlantic Fringe Festival first raised its dingey moth-eaten curtain in Halifax NS in 1991 and has grown every year since.
Our past, in pictures