I would like to raise £10,000 towards a ‘Welcome To The Fringe’ Project open to theatre makers from Palestine and to Israeli makers who refuse state sponsorship. We also want to form a network of artists and friends who can give those companies help in kind, mentoring, venue space and guidance. If we can raise £10,000 to start with we can begin the process of setting this project in train so that grants would be available for next years festival.
The ultimate aim to generate a long running, replete fund and a support system for Palestinian artists to come to the Fringe and, where possible, to help Israeli artists to reject their state funding in coming to Edinburgh.
So, if you would like to hear free Palestinian voices & free Israeli voices at the fringe, please consider donating to this kickstarter project. If you are interested in helping with the ‘Welcome To The Fringe’ project by offering skills, networks, mentoring, or gifts in kind, please email this address with your details. If you would be willing to help with getting this fund off the ground and working on it please get in touch. And if you are a promoter or a venue who feels you could offer a free slot to a show from Palestine under this scheme. Please, please, please, contact me as soon as possible and let me know.
The Edinburgh Fringe is my favourite place in the world. It is a place of welcome and refuge. I don’t want it to become a show-place where the regimes of the world come to whitewash violence with art. I want it to be a place where politics and truth can be spoken in the open. I want it to be a place where the unheard are finally heard. I hope you feel able to support me in this.
Starting this fund is urgent. The momentum of the festival is vital to its success. At the moment the project is being managed by me but as soon as humanly possible I want to formalise the fund as a charity and a trust. I would also be seeking partner organisations to help administer the fund and to co-ordinate the network. I will, as soon as possible, create an online presence for 'Welcome To The Fringe' where the details of the governance and management can be outlined & discussed. In the meantime, we're just looking for money to start us off.
It goes without saying this initiative is entirely voluntary and non profit making in any way.
Risks and challenges
The primary risk is we don't raise enough money. If this is the case, and I can't return funds, I will disburse any raised funds direct to Palestinian Theatre making organisations via a reputable British Partner Organisation.
The second risk is ensuring a permanent governance structure that is transparent & accountable & has a proper constitution. I will work my arse off to get a really good board and team of volunteers together in the next month. I will establish an online presence that communicated news of this process. If I can't and I can't return funds, I will disburse any raised funds to appropriate Palestinian theatre companies via a reputable British partner organisation.
The third risk is faux proportionality. Many festivals build programmes around Palestine & Israel as though each is the same. Palestinian voices must be heard on their own terms. Palestinian theatre makers are massively disadvantaged. It's important that, in establishing this fund, we are careful to make sure it's disbursement recognises this.
The fourth risk is that Palestinians simply have no opportunity to leave Palestine to come to Edinburgh. Visa restrictions by UK & Israeli authorities could leave artists unable to get to Edinburgh. In those circumstances the fund would need to explore ways of funding Palestinian voices to be heard in Edinburgh via other means. This may lead the fund to have to be abandoned and the money raised simply sent to Palestinian theatre makers.
The fifth risk is transparency of qualifying criteria. For example, how do we define 'rejecting state sponsorship.' How do we define 'help'. All of these issues need careful work before any money can be spent.
The sixth risk is that we don't get a good team in place to help us disburse the funds properly. I would like to use existing organisations who have the skills, independence and labour to assess applications and to be a point of contact. Such organisations could be a university, a playwriting organisation, a theatre or an NGO. I have some organisations in mind and will approach them as soon as the announcement is public.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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