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Modern choirs for people who love to sing

Edinburgh, we have arrived!

We are here! The rain can't keep us quiet; we've already wowed the Royal Mile and can't wait to sing at St Giles Cathedral tomorrow, before returning to The Mercat Stage on Sunday.

Now our feet are firmly on the ground in Edinburgh, it's time to delve a little deeper into The Fringe. No, not my fringe, THE Fringe. My jokes are getting worse...have I spent too much time with Mark!? We read about the main International Festival yesterday, but what about the sub-festival that is The Fringe? Have you ever wondered how this world-famous festival started (without permission, mainly!) or where the name “Fringe Festival” came from? Wonder no longer!

When did the Festival begin?

The Festival Fringe began when eight companies - six Scottish and two English - appeared uninvited in Edinburgh and staged their own shows alongside the new International Festival in 1947. These were Glasgow Unity Theatre, Christine Orr Players of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Peoples’ Theatre, Edinburgh District Community Drama Association, Pilgrim Players, Edinburgh College of Art Theatre Group and Manchester Marionette Theatre. These groups operated totally independently of each other, with no support structure, and this remained the case for a number of years.

Year on year more and more performers followed their example and in 1958 the Festival Fringe Society was created in response to the success of this growing trend. The Society formalised the existence of this collective of performances, provided information to artists, published the Fringe programme and created a central box office.

How did the Festival become known as the “Fringe?”

The groups putting on shows alongside the Edinburgh International Festival called themselves "Festival Adjuncts" and were also referred to as the "semi-official" festival. It was not until 1948 that Robert Kemp, a Scottish journalist and playwright, described the situation: "Round the fringe of official Festival drama, there seems to be more private enterprise than before ... I am afraid some of us are not going to be at home during the evenings!". The name 'fringe' stuck and from its origins in Edinburgh it became a universal term for a certain type of artistic experience.

Who can take part?

What is so special about the Fringe is that anyone can take part and, as a choir with the same ethos, we are extremely proud to be taking part for the second time. The Fringe will include anyone who has a story to tell and has a venue to host them.

The Festival Fringe Society's constitution was written in line with this ethos; the one that brought these theatre companies to Edinburgh back in 1947 - that the Society was to take no part in vetting the festival’s programme. This means that audiences can enjoy theatre, comedy, dance, circus, cabaret, children's shows, physical theatre, musicals, opera, music, spoken word, exhibitions and events, all in the space of one small city. All brought to you by artists who love what they do and want to share their passion with the world.

Read more about the Fringe here

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