Programme 2012

The inaugural World Fringe Congress took place in Edinburgh between 16 and 19 August 2012 and was attended by 74 delegates representing 47 fringe festivals from 16 countries across 6 continents.

 Closing Statement 2012 PDF Download 

The 2012 World Fringe Congress was part of the London 2012 Festival, the cultural celebration around the Olympic Games, and was funded by the City of Edinburgh Council, Creative Scotland and British Council Scotland.

The panel discussions and workshop sessions were recorded and are freely available below as a resource for anyone working at or interested in Fringes. 

Tweets at  #WFC2012

Thursday 16 August – Day 1

10am – 4pm                   Registration desk open in the Summerhall Foyer. Register and record a VOX POP for the World Fringe Congress film.

Welcome & Congress Overview 

Cairns Lecture Theatre, Summerhall.

By Kath M Mainland – Chief Executive, Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society and Holly Payton-Lombardo, Managing Director, World Festival Network & World Fringe.


Key Note Address in the Cairns Lecture Theatre, Summerhall.

Ruth Mackenzie –  Director London 2012 Festival and Cultural Olympiad



Welcome Reception in the Studio, Summerhall, with drinks and canapés including an introduction service from ‘The Butlers’

9.30pm till late                      

Fringe Comedy Academy Warm-Up Night, upstairs at Le Monde, George Street, hosted by Stuart Goldsmith. The showcase includes Dan Nightingale, Hanks & Conran and Steve Shanyaski.

Friday 17 August – Day 2


Networking breakfast for delegates in the Summerhall Café.

10.45am Panel Discussion in the Red Lecture Theatre, Summerhall.


Size isn’t Everything

Growth and International Aspirations – is bigger better? A panel discussion on the theme of expansion.  Do more events, more ticket sales, higher turn-overs, result in a more successful festival? Do increasing statistics make a festival better? Is it right to always strive for ‘bigger equals better’ or should quality be our main aim? Can quality be the main aim for a Fringe that is not curated?

CHAIR –Graham Sheffield CBE, Director of Arts – British Council

Robin C. Gillette, Executive Director – Minnesota Fringe.  Greg Clarke, Chief Executive– Adelaide Fringe. Adam J.K. Potrykus, Head of International Projects and Artist management. –STOFF (Stockholm Fringe Festival)

Sanjoy Roy – producer.  


11.50am Breakout Discussions in various rooms, Summerhall
Session 1

It’s NOT All About The Money

Engaging with local funding bodies and

authorities without talking about cash.

How to be seen as relevant and supported even though you are not funded by them!

Looking into communication strategies, relationship building, being listened to by local authorities, the local media and businesses.

Facilitating – Barry Church-Woods Venues & Companies Manager – Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society. Experts – Anita Clarke, Portfolio Manager for Festivals, Touring and Dance – Creative Scotland.

Session 2

Get Me Out of Here!

Visas and onward touring.

How to get visas for touring companies and staff and the logistics of moving performing companies around the world. How could it be easier?
Talk Summary

Session 3

Fame & Fortune

Fringes as producing houses to support and develop artists.

How do we develop and support artists’ work?

How can a fringe festival further an artist’s career?

Do we have a responsibility to our performers post festival? 

Facilitating – Holly Payton-Lombardo, Managing Director – World Festival Network & World Fringe. Experts – Richard Jordan, Administrative Director – Richard Jordan Productions Ltd. Laura Corcoran & Matthew Jones, Performers – Frisky & Mannish.

Talk Summary

12.35pm Coffee Break –  Summerhall Café
1pm Breakout Discussions in various rooms, Summerhall
Session 1

Marketing in the Digital Age

How do fringes use social media?

What is next and what’s new?

What to do and what not to do.

How to promote each other and attract audiences.

Facilitating – Cath Mattos, Projects Director – World Festival Network. Experts – Jeff Larson, Associate Director – Minnesota Fringe. Meghan McCauley, Outreach Director – Hollywood Fringe. 

Session 2

Systems, Systems, Systems

IT, Ticketing, Databases – How can we make technology work for us?

Is a centralised box office system best? What databases and systems do you need to run your fringe? Should we all be using the same software? What does the future hold?


Facilitating –  Christabel Anderson, Head of Participant Services – Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society. Experts – Tony Davey, Managing Director – Red61. Tom Arr Jones – Underbelly & Brighton Fringe Box Office Manager.

Session 3

Last one Out Turns Out The Lights!

Environmental sustainability in the festival context. 


Facilitating –  Barry Church-Woods Venues & Companies Manager – Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society. Experts – Ben Twist, Director – Creative Carbon Scotland. Harry Giles, Environment Officer – Festivals Edinburgh.

Session 4

Growing Pains.

How do you retain your ‘Fringe’ edge as your festival grows?

How does the growth of a fringe affect its spirit?

How to maintain your entrepreneurial spirit.

Facilitating – Holly Payton-Lombardo, Managing Director – World Festival Network & World Fringe. Expert – Greg Germain, President – Festival OFF d’Avignon

2pm Break for Lunch (not provided) – Please use the Summerhall Café for further discussions!
3pm Panel Discussion in the Cairns Lecture Theatre, Summerhall.

‘A Darwinian Crapshoot’? 

How do you promote your Fringe and ensure its

reputation when you don’t control quality?

Is the fringe environment an example of natural selection?

What is the role of a critic in supporting and promoting a fringe? 

What good does a critic’s point of view do for a performer?

Using awards as a way of raising the standard of work at your festival.

How do you communicate with your audiences about what ‘Fringe’ means?


CHAIR – Barry Church-Woods Venues & Companies Manager – Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society. Speaking – Anneke Jansen, Artistic Director – Amsterdam Fringe. Mark Fisher–Freelance Journalist. Gherardo Vitali Rosati, Press Officer  – La Mama Spoleto Open.


4pm Breakout Discussions in various rooms, Summerhall.
Session 1

It IS all About the Money

Sponsorship and investment for your Fringe

How to attract major sponsors and how to keep them.

How to get funding when you don’t make the work.

How to calculate your financial value.

Fundraising & other sources of income, such as business, local authorities, arts funding bodies, crowd funding.


Facilitating –  Barry Church-Woods Venues & Companies Manager – Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society.Expert – Barclay Price, Director –  Arts & Business Scotland.

Session 2 Home from Home

Venues – Makes, models and operations and their role in the fringe eco-system

Differences between types of venues and their contracts with artists. What role do venues play in shaping and sustaining a fringe? How to encourage venues to take part temporarily when they operate year round?


Facilitating –  Christabel Anderson, Head of Participant Services – Edinburgh Festival Fringe SocietyExperts – Anthony Alderson, Director – Pleasance Theatre Trust. Rupert Thompson, Programme Director- Summerhall. Melanie Smith, Executive Producer – Auckland Fringe.

Session 3

Industry Talk Shop

Space for UK-based festival people to talk about the industry.

Get advice on legal issues from a group of professionals in their field.

Different types of insurance and health and safety issues.


Facilitating-  Holly Payton-Lombardo, Managing Director – World Festival Network & World Fringe. Experts – Tracey McCreath –  La Playa Insurance. Brian Cleary -Sygma Safety.


Civic Reception at Edinburgh City Chambers, High Street 

Hosted by The Rt Hon Donald Wilson, Lord Provost of the City of Edinburgh with Fiona Hyslop MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs. NOTE: Invitation required, included in your delegate pack.

9.30pm till late                       Late Night Drinks –  Underbelly Bristo Square’s Abattoir Bar. Passes in your delegate pack.

Saturday 18 August – Day 3


Networking Breakfast and World Fringe Fair set up –  Fringe Central, Crichton Street

11am – 1pm

World Fringe Fair at Fringe Central

A chance to meet Edinburgh Festival Fringe participants and tell them about your Fringe

1pm Break for Lunch (not provided)
1.30pm Presentation  – The Black Tent’s company, Teatr Zar, will share details of their work. Black Tent, Summerhall

OPEN SPACE sessions in the Black Tent: opening circle and two parallel sessions

Facilitated by Paul Levy of Critical Incident.


3.30pm Coffee Break

OPEN SPACE sessions in various rooms, Summerhall: two parallel sessions




OPEN SPACE  Closing circle in the Cairns Lecture Theatre, Summerhall


Cultural Reception to meet the wider Fringe and Scottish Arts Community at Evolution House, West Port

Sunday 19 August – Day 4

11am Brunch and Conference Round Up in the Studio, Summerhall.

Late Night Drinks –  Join us for a final quiet drink at Institut Français d’Ecosse, Randolph Crescent

– no passes required. 


The 2012 World Fringe Congress was funded by