Fringe Days Out relaunches for 2023
Fringe Days Out involves partnerships with 33 community groups, charities and organisations around Edinburgh, and provides Fringe vouchers, bus tickets and additional support to help marginalised communities engage with the festival.
Fringe Days Out launched in 2017 as part of the Fringe Blueprint, a series of commitments published to mark the festival's 70th anniversary. We wanted to say thank you to the people of Edinburgh for hosting the Fringe, and to ensure that every single resident felt welcome at the festival; as such, we carried out research to discover which communities might have typically felt excluded from the festival. Working from the results of this research, we made initial contact with 26 community organisations and charities to help better foster local connections; six years on, the programme has grown to include 33 community groups.
How does it work?
We provide partner organisations with free ticket vouchers for the Fringe and bus passes, so that cost is not a barrier to participation and engagement with the Fringe. By providing such vouchers, Fringe Days Out empowers them to explore the full Fringe programme, inviting them to see any show at the Fringe.
Some Fringe Days Out participants are often unfamiliar with the city centre; this programme gives them the support and opportunity to travel outside their immediate neighbourhood, developing their confidence and experience of the city, without the potential barrier of paying for transport. For groups that experience challenges around bus and tram access, the project also now includes some budget for taxis.
The community organisations that take part in Fringe Days Out are long-term partners of the Fringe Society, enabling the groups to take the time they need to build up knowledge, experience and confidence in the festival. Community members may go on an organised group trip one year, feel confident in attending alone the next, and end up organising group trips themselves by the third.
About Fringe Days Out partners
We work with a broad range of individuals and groups including young people, single parents, isolated elderly people, disabled people, ethnic minority communities, refugees and asylum seekers, LGBTQIA+ people and many more.
The groups that take part in Fringe Days Out are trusted partners in their communities who have built long-lasting relationships with their members. These relationships are crucial to the success of Fringe Days Out: by having open conversations with people they know and trust, participants can feel encouraged to take more risks in whether they choose to go and what they choose to see.
These conversations also help us better understand what else they can do to open doors and enable communities to celebrate culture and creativity on their own terms.
A word from some Fringe Days Out partners
Sikh Sanjog provide support for women in the Sikh community who have been settling in Edinburgh since the 1950s:
‘As soon as the show finished the mums turned to me and said, “Sign us up for everything, we want to come to more shows.” They really enjoyed the experience and it opened their eyes to something new.’ (Sikh Sanjog community worker)
Re-engage provides vital, life-enhancing social connections for older people at a time in their lives when their social circles are diminishing:
‘I had a fantastic time. I love going to a Fringe show, but I find it more difficult to get out of the house now, and never go out alone in the evening. The singers were lovely and though I am in my 80s, I felt as though I was 18 again listening to them perform the music I love.’ (Jean, participant)
6VT Edinburgh City Youth Café offers services to support Edinburgh’s young people:
‘It is a gift with dignity.’ (Dot Horne, Chief Executive)
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