In a world where there tends to be very little theatre news aside from the cancelling of runs and festivals, a positive announcement has come from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society has just appointed to the role of president Phoebe Waller-Bridge, a festival veteran and the creator of hit play-turned-series Fleabag. The announcement came this past week and has been met with celebration from Fringes around the world, the irreverent and innovative artists more than deserving of the position.
The vote was unanimous to appoint Waller-Bridge to the honorary position. It is the first role of its kind to exist within the Edinburgh Fringe Society, which is the charity connected to the artists participating in the Edinburg Fringe. Waller-Bridge will serve in a public capacity, representing and voicing the interests of the Society and matters relating to the Fringe when needed. Chief Executive of the Society Shona McCarthy said of the decision:
“The Fringe Society is here to keep advocating for the Fringe and the thousands of amazing creatives who make it happen every year. I am absolutely thrilled to have the fantastic Phoebe in our corner, championing those calls.”
Phoebe Waller-Bridge’ appointment comes at a poignant time when we are almost to the year anniversary of when the world began shutting down amidst the pandemic. The performing arts sectors have been hit exceptionally hard by most measures, and it goes without saying that few Fringes saw the light of day in 2020.
Her appointment also makes sense in that she has brought art founded in the Edinburgh Fringe to such a lofty height. Fleabag has been a wild success through the BBC and Prime Video, and it’s not too often a one-person show becomes a hit TV series. The clever, soul-searching, raunchy, and beautifully genuine writing and performance that Waller-Bridge has exhibited in her work are proof of her merit alone. With Edinburgh as the mother-of-all Fringes and Waller-Bridge as one of its most impressive alumni, her position as President is an inspiration of success for all in the theatrical arts.
Phoebe Waller-Bridge stated:
“The Edinburgh Fringe has staged an annual cultural revolution for decades. It’s where thousands of writers, comedians, performers and artists cut their teeth and put their most raw work out into the world. Whether it’s a two hander in a shoebox, a gig in a van, a promenade through the streets or a mammoth musical epic, this festival is a global symbol of artistic freedom and experimentation…this festival is a beating heart of an industry that has been all but crushed by the pandemic, and I’m proud to be a part of the fight with the Fringe Society for its much needed survival and glorious return.”