What will the Fringe be like in 100 years? While unknowable, one prediction can be made with confidence: future generations of performers, students, and scholars will be curious about us.
On 11 August 2009, with the recording of two original dance creations at a converted church beneath Arthur’s Peak, the Fringe Performance Archive took the first step in creating a permanent repository of performance art reflecting the diversity of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. After two years in the planning stage and 100 interviews with members of the Fringe community, a consensus emerged that a sample of the 21st century Fringe should be preserved and made accessible to future generations of artists, aspiring performers, students, educators and researchers.
We film a small but diverse group of shows each year, representing a sample of the theatre, comedy, children’s shows, dance, and music at the Fringe, now the largest concentration of performance art in world history. A systematic selection procedure ensures that a representative group of performances and events is included. The final product will be preserved in the National Library of Scotland and available for private viewing after a moratorium period of one to two decades.
A sample of the Fringe is worth preserving, in and of itself, as the largest concentration of performance art in world history. As a permanent archive reflecting the diversity of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the Fringe Performance Archive is a rolling annual record of performance art for the English-speaking world.