Waller-Bridge performed her successful one-woman play “Fleabag” at popular venue Underbelly during the 2013 Fringe. The show earned an Olivier Award nomination and a special commendation from the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, and was subsequently adapted into a hit series for BBC and Amazon.
The newly created role is an honorary one and will see Waller-Bridge act as a representative and advocate for the Fringe Society, the charity that exists to support everyone who wants to participate in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
“The Edinburgh Fringe has staged an annual cultural revolution for decades,” Waller-Bridge said. “It’s where thousands of writers, comedians, performers and artists cut their teeth and put their most raw work out into the world. Whether it’s a two hander in a shoebox, a gig in a van, a promenade through the streets, or a mammoth musical epic, this festival is a global symbol of artistic freedom and experimentation. It relies on its audiences and it relies on its artists.”
“It’s where the relationship between the two is feverishly consummated, sometimes with great success, sometimes with awkward fumbles behind an inflatable cow, but always with unbridled passion and creativity,” Waller-Bridge added. “From leaking caves to cobbled streets to the glamour of the Traverse Theatre up to Arthur’s seat, this festival is a beating heart of an industry that has been all but crushed by the pandemic, and I’m proud to be a part of the fight with the Fringe Society for its much needed survival and glorious return.”
“We’re so delighted to have Phoebe come on board as our first ever president,” said Shona McCarthy, Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society chief executive. “Her work, her legacy and her passion for the Fringe is truly inspiring, and her journey since bringing Fleabag to the Fringe in 2013 has been nothing short of remarkable.”
“We know we’ve got serious work to do to overcome the challenges that COVID has brought to our sector,” McCarthy added. “The Fringe Society is here to keep advocating for the Fringe and the thousands of amazing creatives who make it happen every year. I am absolutely thrilled to have the fantastic Phoebe in our corner, championing those calls.”