Page last updated at 10:06 GMT, Sunday, 30 August 2009 11:06 UK

Founder of Free Fringe wins award

Peter Buckley Hill
Peter Buckley Hill runs the Free Fringe

The Edinburgh Comedy Awards jury has awarded a Panel Prize to Peter Buckley Hill for his work with the Free Fringe.

Buckley Hill was said by the panel to embody the spirit of the Fringe.

He had 176 shows on his books this year with performers providing free shows in free venues such as bars.

The award was made in recognition of "14 years encouraging and enabling some of the most exciting young talent on the comedy circuit to perform at the most important arts festival in the world".

The London-based promoter started with one show in 1996, Peter Buckley Hill and Some Comedians.

His aim was to create a direct relationship between the performer and the consumer to "cut out the middle-man".

Venues are provided for free in the hope of bringing in customers.

Performers do their shows for free, with a collection bucket for voluntary contributions.

Community of performers

Buckley Hill said he was responsible for 176 free shows but there were others who had followed his template and more than 400 Fringe shows were free this year.

"I hope this shows to everybody that free does not equal rubbish," he said.

"Our shows are artistically as good on aggregate as any other group of shows."

He added: "The Free Fringe is run pretty much without money.

"We sell adverts to pay for the programme being printed and that is they only time we really touch money."

"It is a community of performers working for each other.

"Our performers contribute not by money but by their time and their effort."

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