Phoebe Waller-Bridge has announced a £100,000 fund to assist performers in putting on shows at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, where she took Fleabag in 2013.
The fund will provide £2,000 bursaries for as many as 50 performers wanting to take their shows to famous arts and comedy festival.
Waller-Bridge’s one-woman show Fleabag was widely acclaimed at the Fringe, before being developed into an award-winning comedy television series by BBC and Amazon Studios.
“Edinburgh Fringe gave Fleabag a game-changing platform for everyone involved,” Waller-Bridge said, announcing the fund. “We are thrilled that the show can continue to pay-it-forward to the creatives of tomorrow and contribute to those who might not otherwise have the opportunity to take their work to this amazing festival.”
She described the Fringe as “one of the most unique places on the planet” for launching new comedy work, and described the announcement of the new fund as “incredibly personal”.
Roughly half of the £100,000 sum will come from the Fleabag for Charity campaign, funded by streaming subscriptions for a National Theatre Live production of the show.
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In recent years there has been an increasingly vocal criticism of the festival that it is no longer financially viable for performers.
Comedian Richard Herring told the BBC last month that accommodation in Edinburgh means “only people with a fair amount of wealth can attend,” adding “It should be for everyone, as it felt like it was back in 1987 when I first went there,” he added.
Scottish comedian and regular Fringe performer Frankie Boyle described the event as “kind of an elitist festival”.
The chief executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, Shona McCarthy, welcomed Waller-Bridge’s new fund.
“We are massively grateful to Phoebe, and all our donors, for their generosity and ongoing support of the work of the Fringe Society.
“This fund is a first step in what we hope to be an ongoing opportunity for Fringe artists.”
McCarthy also noted the challenges faced by performers, saying: “We recognise how difficult the last few years have been for the cultural sector, and today’s announcement is a very direct way for us to give some support for artists performing at this year’s Fringe.”