Rise in shows focused on social issues at Edinburgh Fringe

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Performers at Edinburgh's Fringe Festival

Credit: Luxstorm/Pixabay

Georgina Hayes
Editor-in-Chief

Almost a quarter of shows at this year’s Fringe will deal with social issues

There has been a surge in shows featuring or focusing on social issues at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Mental health is the biggest topic to be talked about, featuring in 42 shows. 29 will look at women in society, and 11 at the #MeToo campaign. The number of shows focused on social media has also risen from 1 last year to 12 this year. Productions looking at abuse have also risen, from 11 last year to 19 this year.

However, this spike in some social issues at the Fringe has coincided with a considerable drop in the number of shows about LGBTQ+ issues, with the number last year being 38, but falling to 25 this year. Shows with a focus on human rights and refugee issues have also fallen.

This analysis was conducted by SIT-UP Awards, a new awards organisation that seeks to “harness the power of plays to achieve greater social impact by supporting theatre companies before, during and after their productions.”

The research has found that almost a quarter of shows at the Fringe in August will deal with social issues.