Records of theFestival Fringe Society Ltd, arts festival company, Edinburgh, Scotland

Scope and Content

Business papers 1960-1994 including

  • Papers relating to AGMs 1967-1971
  • Articles of Association 1969
  • Certificate of Incorporation 1969
  • Memorandum of Association 1969
  • Minutes of committee meetings 1966-1969
  • Minutes of directors' meetings 1971
  • Directors' reports 1970
  • Statements of accounts 1960-1971
  • Constitution, undated
  • Treasurer's reports 1960-1963
  • Vice-chairman's report 1971
  • Correspondence 1971-1979
  • Other business papers 1994

Publicity material 1971-1996 including:

  • Photographs 1994
  • Posters 1994
  • Press cuttings 1980-1994
  • Programmes 1972-1978
  • Brochures 1971-1979, 1980-1981
  • Art work 1993, 1995, 1996

Other materials:

  • Performers' mailing lists 1982-1994
  • Edinburgh Festival Fringe Club papers 1986-1995

Administrative / Biographical History

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe grew out of the Edinburgh International Festival. It attracts amateur and professional groups, who perform outwith the official Festival, on the fringe of the main event. It started in 1947  when eight theatre groups turned up uninvited to the first Edinburgh Festival, and the first'Fringe' was a year later. It was encouraged from the outset to form itself into a coherent organisation, or become attached to the Festival Society in some way. The first Fringe programme was produced in 1954  (the Festival being very reluctant to advertise Fringe productions in its own programme); and in 1955 a box-office covering most of the Fringe productions was created that was run by students of Edinburgh University. Typical performers at that stage were some professional companies, but also amateurs and students.

A corporate identity to the Fringe was established by the late 1950s. The organisation was formalised as the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society in 1958 . Each group who appeared at the Fringe the following year provided details for the secretary of the newly-formed Society in order that a programme of Fringe events not appearing in the official Festival programme could be published. The Festival Fringe Society Ltd was formally incorporated in May 1969 , with a board of directors. This was felt to be a necessary step because of so many member organisations of the Society and the spread of business. A greater professionalism of administration resulted.

Today, ticket sales for the Fringe outstrip those of the official Festival. It attracts performers from all over the world: one-man/woman shows, comedians, musical events of all types, exhibitions, ballet and theatre. Relations with the Festival are occasionally uneasy, but the two need each other, just as during the annual almost month-long period in which they exist they are a crucial part of the city of Edinburgh's economy.

See Alistair Moffat, The Edinburgh Fringe(London and Edinburgh, 1978)

Access Information


Other Finding Aids

Item level descriptions are available via the online Scottish Theatre Archive catalogue at

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Jo Peattie, Scottish Archive Network Project

Conversion from MS Access database, formatting and controlled access terms added by David Powell, Hub Project Archivist, November 2002

Related Material

GB 247 Fm 1-5 Collection of material relating to Edinburgh International Festival

Geographical Names