To New Directions

We are a fringe organisation; an entity that thrives at the edges. Accordingly, we imagine a long-term future for Forest Fringe as a marginal but nonetheless vital presence in the professional lives of its co-directors, collaborators and community of artists.
Forest Fringe is a place of exchange. A place of nourishment and adventure. A journey into unknown territories. It is the place we go to figure out how to do the things we currently don’t know how to do.
Forest Fringe is a name that enables us, co-directors and artists alike, to achieve things we couldn’t achieve individually. To open doors that require our collective weight to open.
We want Forest Fringe to continue to be all these things. And we think the best way for it to do so is by re-imagining where and how it works, to enable us to ask new questions we don’t yet know the answers to.
We have made the decision that Forest Fringe will not be running a venue at the Edinburgh Festival for the foreseeable future. We want to explore what else we might do with the collective energy that we have previously dedicated to our presence at the festival. We plan to fill the space it took up in our lives with a commitment to a new large-scale special project. It might be the making of a film, the building of a venue, or the creation of a new political party. As was always the case in Edinburgh from our earliest years with the Forest Cafe, it will involve artists, volunteers, audiences and ourselves working together to make something remarkable that none of us could achieve individually. And once we’ve finished one special project, we’ll decide what the next one will be.
From Autumn 2017 we will host a regular monthly art club at Somerset House Studios to help us decide which special project to embark on and to teach us things we’ll need to learn along the way. This will be a space to meet, explore, exchange, discuss, imagine, experiment, and to nourish individual and collaborative creative practices. We are excited Somerset House Studios have invited us to become Associate Artists, making space for our marginal desires within this historically central institution, we hope to explore the role that Forest Fringe and its projects might play in the world. We are calling our club The Amateurs Club, because we would like this to be the place where professional artists of all kinds can come to be amateurs. It will be a factory where none of us know how to operate the machinery, where we may make hats out of the moving parts, but where, with any luck, nobody will be injured. These events will be free and open to anyone.
We will also continue to run Microfestivals, residencies, parties and other projects, across the UK and elsewhere. We are already plotting new projects in Australia, Kazakhstan, Lebanon and the UK that we look forward to telling you about very soon.
We appreciate that people might miss us during the festival, and we remain invested in the city and the festival that has been our home for ten years. For this reason we want to ensure that there continues to be space at the Edinburgh Festival for generosity, expansiveness and experimentation, but nurtured by a different set of artists with their own ideas about where and how that can be done.
On Friday 11 August at Edinburgh’s Cameo Cinema we will throw a farewell party with as many of our friends as possible, a last waltz for now at this outrageous festival. Any money we can raise during this event will be turned into a fund to help a new group of artists make their own project at the festival, whether it be a venue, a space, a festival, an event, or something else entirely.
To help people who want to create their own projects we are writing a handbook of all the things we think we’ve learnt in 10 years of making Forest Fringe. It will be a toolkit of good ideas, accidental successes, practice advice, horrible arguments and hard-won lessons. It will be a catalogue of everything we think might be helpful in starting your own thing, whether at the Edinburgh Festival or anywhere else.
We are excited. We are a little scared. This is a big jump for us. We are trying to throw ourselves back into the unknown, to force ourselves to learn new things, to enable Forest Fringe to change as we change and the world changes around us. We hope you’ll still be part of things as we head off in this new direction.

This is a unique website which will require a more modern browser to work!

Please upgrade today!