The Cost of Edinburgh

As a performer, producer or crew at the Edinburgh Fringe, it can feel like you’re walking a tightrope financially. We know there is a problem, but what can we do to address rising costs?

A Guest Blog at the Edinburgh Fringe 2018 by Claire Stone

Greetings all!

I have launched The Cost of Edinburgh survey to track the costs of performing at the Fringe and encourage greater transparency on costs, and positive action on accessibility:

The survey is completely anonymous, takes 20 minutes,
and your answers could have a big impact.

Join us at Devoted & Disgruntled on 20th August at Fringe Central, 11am-7.30pm to  discuss what we can do to build a more sustainable Fringe for everyone:

Twitter @CostEdinburgh #costofedinburgh

Listen to our interview with Claire Stone about The Cost of Edinburgh


I am a fringe theatre director and producer, and in 2017 I decided to start a campaign about the costs for artists of performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. 

Having taken shows to Edinburgh in 2015 and 2017, and speaking to other artists who have, I was shocked the year-on-year increases in venue and accommodation costs, which are already at unmanageable levels for artists on low incomes.

I share this concern with countless artists who love to perform at the Festival but struggle to afford it. We share this problem, but without clear data to prove this how can we protest about rising costs?

I have launched a survey to send out to artists who have performed at the Edinburgh Fringe, to collect data anonymously on venue and accommodation costs. This information will form the basis of a campaign and publication to highlight this issue to our industry and audiences.

By presenting this information in a clear and compelling way, we can gain public support for a campaign to reduce costs, and hold providers to account for rising prices.

The Impact

We can push for a more fair Fringe deal for artists by working together, to campaign for:

  • More transparency in venue costs across the Fringe, and accountability for rising prices
  • Fairer rates for artists performing at the festival, and greater leverage when negotiating contracts with venues
  • Greater accountability of accommodation providers for rent prices during the Festival
  • Higher awareness amongst audiences of the costs of performing at the Fringe

This is important not just for individual artists, but for the sustainability of creative culture in the UK. The more accessible the Fringe is, the more diverse, risk-taking art we will see there.

Risks & Challenges

The biggest challenge to an effective campaign on Edinburgh Festival costs are:

  • Lack of public awareness about this issue; for example, many audience members believe box office income covers the cost of performing at the Fringe. We need to show the real disparity between the costs and income.
  • Lack of accountability of venue and accommodation providers; by launching this campaign we are asking them to explain why costs are increasing, and what they can do to protect the performing artists that make the Festival what it is.
  • Lack of negotiating power of artists; many artists feel it is too risky to complain, or negotiate with venues about the cost of their hire/guarantee, or for a better box office split. By collecting data from numerous artists anonymously, we can start to organise a collective response to this issue which demands to be addressed.

How You Can Help

  • If you are an artist who has performed at the Edinbrugh Fringe – complete the survey!

  • Share this campaign far and wide, and share the survey when it is launched.

Twitter @CostEdinburgh #CostofEdinburgh

  • Come to Devoted & Disgruntled at Fringe Central on 20th August – it’s free and non-ticketed, you can come for as little or as long as you like and join the conversation on improving conditions for all at the Fringe:

  • Email to find out more information or say you want to support the campaign.

Thank you for your time!

Share the story on Twitter @CostEdinburgh #CostofEdinburgh