Edinburgh Fringe’s Emerging Producers Development Programme

Group of people stand in a room. A woman in white looks to the left, and a woman in black stands centre looking at the camera.
Edinburgh Fringe’s Emerging Producers Development Programme. © David Monteith-Hodge.

Edinburgh Fringe’s annual Emerging Producers Development Programme supports UK based independent producers who want to expand their professional networks and creative insight. The scheme is open to emerging producers with a portfolio of work, and encourages applicants from diverse abilities and backgrounds. Unlimited’s Project Manager Clara Giraud sat down with Robyn Jancovich-Brown, The Fringe’s Participant & Industry Development Manager to discuss the initiative and what it can offer disabled producers.

 Clara Giraud (Unlimited): What are the top 5 positive outcomes for emerging producers taking part in the programme?

Robyn Jancovich-Brown (Ed Fringe): Based on what our previous participants have told us the 5 main outcomes from the programme have been:

  • Gaining a new range of contacts including artists, programmers and fellow producers
  • Meeting same-level producers and forming new networks
  • Exploring and discovering new work and artists at the Fringe
  • Gaining information and new skills through the workshop and information sessions laid on throughout the programme week
  • One participant even said that the “programme gave [them] the breathing space in the hustle and bustle of the festival to truly reflect on [themselves] as a producer, and to gain really sound advice from experts in the field”

CG: The scheme is open to people working in a professional producing capacity – can you say more about what you mean by this?

R J-B: What we mean by this is that you need to be working at a professional level with professional level artists and companies. The programme won’t support those who are only just starting out or at the very early stages of their career. Anyone interested in applying for the programme should be able to show us that they have a portfolio of work and affiliated producing credits.

CG: If applicants have access requirements, which generate extra costs such as particular travel needs or personal assistants, would you be able to support these?

R J-B: There is a bursary of £150 available to all those selected for the programme to cover travel and accommodation for the programme focus week. However, should there be extra costs incurred due to access requirements we would be able to provide extra financial support to assist. The exact amount would be dependent on the circumstances and we welcome people contacting us to discuss this.

CG: The bursary is a welcome contribution to the costs of attending the Edinburgh Fringe, but how might someone with significant travel and accommodation costs find match funding? Have previous applicants applied to other funders for match funding in the past?

R J-B: There are numerous funding models that participants can use to bring themselves to Edinburgh, as there are so many different ways it’s hard to be specific beyond what we offer. The bursary is a relatively new addition to the programme, in full acknowledgment of the financial challenges that emerging career professionals can face in coming to Edinburgh. However, it is designed as a leg up in order to enhance the experience rather than the sole mechanism to attend.

The Fringe Society work to help funding bodies to see the value in supporting people to come to the Fringe and to encourage platforms of support. We work closely with national cultural agencies to support investment in the arts and the development of artists and producers, especially in line with our Access Fringe Strategy and commitment to breaking barriers to participation in the Fringe.

CG: Yes. From experience, I would suggest other funding options such as crowdfunding or seeking support from local theatres or organisations you have a relationship as a producer, as well as some trusts and foundations that support professional development.

What access support do you offer for the application process?

R J-B: The application form can be used with the aid of a screen reader and is AA compliant which means that it has accessibility built into the form’s fields and features wherever possible. You can also download the application form and we’re open to providing reasonable assistance and/or discussing applications being submitted in a different format wherever needed – filmed BSL applications, for example.

CG: How competitive is this opportunity?

R J-B: The programme is quite competitive. There are 15 places available and for the last 2 years we’ve had over 75 applications. However, I would still strongly encourage anyone in the early stages of their career as a producer to give it a shot. Our panel will be looking for people working on exciting, innovative and inclusive projects and who demonstrate a clear professional need for this programme and a desire to utilise the Fringe as a career enhancing platform.

CG: If unsuccessful, what other ways could an applicant engage with the Edinburgh Fringe?

R J-B: The Fringe offers a huge range of opportunities to artists, companies and producers on all levels. The arts world descends on Edinburgh during August so it is the place to meet people and discover new work and artists.

Our participant development centre, Fringe Central, offers a huge range of free workshops, discussions and networking events throughout August, Fringe participants have priority access to these events but the wider arts sector are also welcome. In addition, there will be a list of professional development opportunities which are being offered across the Fringe listed under the Take Part section of our website from June 2017.

Fringe Society staff are also on hand throughout the year to talk to anyone interested in taking part in the Fringe and can provide advice and guidance on how make the most of the opportunities.

Interested? You can find the application here. The deadline is 5pm on Monday 15 May 2017. Successful applicants will be informed by 23 June 2017. If you have any queries, email participants@edfringe.com or telephone 0131 226 0026 (and choose option 2). Good luck!