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 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.