Fringe of global arts

In 1947, when Europe was recuperating from the blows of the Second World War, a cultural initiative was planned to celebrate European cultural life and was called the Edinburgh International Festival. Eight theatre groups turned up uninvited to perform and gave their performance. This became a trend and every year, more performers turned up at the festival. As a result, in 1958, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival was founded,” informs Kath Mainland, chief executive of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival Society, who was in the city for the Fringe roadshow along with Dana MacLeod, head of arts, British Council, Scotland for a four city tour in the country in association with the British Council.
They were here to start a conversation about the largest performing arts festival in the world. “Many people feel that being the largest performing arts festival in the world, we curate events. But we are absolutely accessible and allow everybody who is interested to take part. Dance, music, theatre and stand-up comedy, all forms of performing arts form an essential part of the fest,” says Kath.
Artistes from various fields gather to showcase their best works, interact with other artistes and engage with a wider audience for three weeks in Scotland, the capital of Edinburgh. This year the festival will be held in August.
“Indian shows have always managed to get good audience in Scotland and thus collaboration between India and Scotland seemed perfect,” says Dana, talking about why they chose to bring the roadshow to India.
Indian Ocean, Mrigaya, Vir Das and Aditi Mangaldas are some of the artistes who have performed at the Fringe festival already.
Asked about the exact role of the Fringe society in organising an international festival of such magnitude, Kath explains, “We are concerned about how much information we can get about the various participating groups. We get as much information as we can and then create the buzz about the performances to as many people as possible.”
The music festival is a great chance for artistes from across the world to mingle with each other and network, concludes Kath.

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