Page last updated at 14:29 GMT, Monday, 10 August 2009 15:29 UK

Shake-up plan after Fringe fiasco

telephone box
There are more than 2,000 shows featuring 18,000 performers

Edinburgh's Fringe Society is to launch the biggest consultation in its history following the collapse of the box office at last year's event.

Concerns were raised that the Fringe organisation was no longer able to cope with the scale of the event, which now features almost 35,000 performances.

The first consultation will begin in September when this year's Fringe ends.

The new Fringe Society structure is expected to be in place in time for next year's festival.

The Fringe Society was set up in the late 1950s, when a constitution was drawn up, setting out the policy of not vetting or censoring shows.

It was established to help the venues and performers sell more tickets and promote shows through a single unified programme.

However in 1959 there were 19 companies attending the Fringe; this year there are more than 2,000 shows.

Fit for purpose

An independent report into the box office fiasco found "fundamental flaws" in the way it was run.

Thousands of people were left without tickets and many performers claimed their shows were undersold.

Now the Fringe Society is set to modernise its constitution, which was last modified in the late 60s when the society became a limited company.

Pip Utton, vice chair of the society, said: "The current constitution of the Fringe Society was written in 1969. Since then the Edinburgh Festival Fringe has changed just as dramatically as most aspects of society.

"The world's largest arts festival needs a constitution which is fit for purpose."

He added: "The consultation process which we have announced today is more extensive than anything ever undertaken before and almost certainly unique in its scale and ambition for any arts event around the world."

The finding of the consultation process should be published in December with the changes approved by next August.

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