50 awards have been announced from the £100k ‘Keep it Fringe fund’ for artists set up by Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society honorary President Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society is delighted to announce the recipients of the ‘Keep it Fringe’ fund, a new initiative to support Fringe artists, led by Fringe Society President Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
The fund, supported by the Fleabag for Charity fund and donations to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society through individual donors and our partnership with Edinburgh Gin, is distributing bursaries of £2,000 to 50 artists and companies bringing work to the Fringe in 2023. As part of the Fringe Society’s work to build a better and more accessible Fringe, the fund is intended to level the playing field for artists, providing the opportunity to reap the rewards of all the Fringe has to offer.
Since its announcement on Tuesday 07 March, 677 artists and companies have applied to the fund, and submissions were assessed by a diverse group of external assessors. Each application was reviewed by two assessors, who were on the lookout for shows that capture the defiant spirit of the Fringe and can take advantage of the festival as a unique platform to tell untold stories at all stages of their career.
The successful award recipients represent the great breadth of variety and diversity that makes up the Fringe. Their work covers a range of subjects, from Climate Action and OCD to parenthood and migration; from love to death, and the realities of rural life. There’s sketch comedy, musicals, stand-up, spoken word for children, plays, ventriloquist horror, immersive theatre for one audience-member at a time; drag, performance art, variety, solo work and pole dancing. These artists and companies will share 50 stories which talk to the very essence and spirit of the Fringe. We’ll be sharing more information on this eclectic range of recipients in the weeks to come.
From emerging artists and those presenting at the Fringe for the first time to more established acts returning to the festival, recipients reflect performers at every stage of their career. It was clear to the assessors that there were a diverse range of applicants from a wide variety of backgrounds looking to bring their work to the Fringe in 2023. Nearly one in two of those selected are disabled or have a health condition, with one in three coming from a working-class background.
Funding will be used to cover a variety of expenses, including childcare, transportation, media and PR support, help to meet living wage pay; supporting access costs for artists, and the production costs associated with performing. The successful recipients will present work across a range of spaces in Edinburgh and will offer a mix of paid-for and free shows.
In addition to the £2,000 financial grant support, the 50 Keep it Fringe recipients will receive an additional package of support to help them perform at this year’s festival. The leading destination for short-form video, TikTok, will also continue their support of Fringe artists and are kindly donating £50,000 worth of advertising credits to the Keep it Fringe fund recipients. These credits can be used by artists to boost their account content and raise their profile in-app in the run up to, and during the Fringe.
Supporting the Fringe’s climate action development goals, electric rail provider sustainable rail network Lumo are generously donating 50 return tickets from any of their UK hubs, for travel to and from Edinburgh, for recipients of the fund.
Shona McCarthy, Chief Executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, said: ‘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. The festival continues to be one of the most important cultural events in the world, and a platform for artists to gather, network and meet with industry partners as they explore future career possibilities. Our team continue to advocate for those across the Fringe ecology, and as we move at speed to this year’s Fringe, we encourage individuals and companies to reach out to our Artist Services team to see how we can provide further support.
We are immensely grateful for Phoebe’s generous donation to this new fund, and would welcome conversations with partners, donors and organisations who would be open to supporting the development of this important initiative in the future. Our thanks to all the assessors who took the time to review hundreds of applications, and to TikTok and Lumo for their kind support package for the recipients.’
The Keep it Fringe fund is a pilot, and part of the Fringe Society’s wider fundraising campaign. The ambition is to provide direct financial support for Fringe artists every year, with widening eligibility where possible. The Fringe Society recognises that these funds won’t make or break a show but should provide a little bit of financial help to those who want to take part in the Fringe.