Student’s work to diversify Fringe celebrated

​​​​​​​A student who launched a project to increase diversity at the world’s biggest arts festival has won a high-profile award.

Jessica Brough won the panel prize at the Edinburgh Comedy Awards – now sponsored by television channel Dave – for her Fringe of Colour project.

The award ceremony took place at the end of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this August.

Grassroots initiative

The Psychology PhD student and founder of Fringe of Colour began the project in 2018, when she began compiling a spreadsheet of festival shows with 50 per cent performers of colour or more.

The Festival Fringe hosts more than 3,500 shows in Edinburgh over three weeks.

Word spread about her project through the hashtag #fringeofcolour.

Diversifying audiences

Jessica met performers to understand the difficulties they face when performing in Edinburgh.

At the 2019 festival,  Fringe of Colour partnered with seven venues and the Fringe Society – the organisation that underpins the festival – to try to increase the diversity of audiences at shows.

It ran a scheme that allowed people of colour aged 25 or younger to see  Fringe shows for free. 

I want to create the sense that there’s a community that’s willing to support you. The desire to have people in your audience that look like you or are representative of what you’re doing is something that most feel really strongly about.

Jessica BroughFringe of Colour founder

Related links

Fringe of Colour

University of Edinburgh Sustainability Hub

The University and the Festivals