JUST back from a press conference in which the Scottish Government and other public funders announced enhanced support for Edinburgh's year-round festivals, including the Edinburgh Fringe. Part of the package is a plan for a conference that should give Fringe participants increased access to international bookers.
Collectively, the Scottish Government, the City of Edinburgh Council, EventScotland and Creative Scotland are funding the city's 12 festivals to the tune of £3.2m in 2012. Of particular significance to Scotland's theatre and dance companies is the Scottish Government's extended commitment to its expo fund. The total budget for this has gone up to £2.25m to be shared among the festivals and spent on projects such as the Made in Scotland programme on the Fringe.
As well as this, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society has been funded by Creative Scotland to host the inaugural World Fringe Congress, bringing together fringe organisers and directors from around the globe to exchange ideas, foster international collaborations and create lasting networks.
Taking place in August, the formal meeting aims to "inspire and inform the fringe community and build lasting ties". Organisers hope that out of all the networking will come international collaborations and exchanges.
"There is currently no forum in existence where the co-ordinators of fringes from around the world can meet their counterparts to exchange experiences and ideas," said a Fringe spokesman. "Although festival directors from around the world come to Edinburgh each year to book work for their own festivals, this will give Edinburgh Fringe participants increased access to these bookers."
A more detailed breakdown of who is attending will be made available closer to the time. Meanwhile, check out The Edinburgh Fringe Survival Guide and the chapter called The Next Step, which offers expert tips about how to network and maximise opportunities for your post-Fringe career.