It may not be easy being green, but Greenside Venues have found new upsides to the challenge of leaving their old spiritual home at the South Bridge Resources Centre on Infirmary Street. With their previous large scale multi-venue space earmarked to become the Fringe Society’s new permanent headquarters, Greenside Venues have announced plans to jump across the other side of Princes Street Gardens and set up shop within the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) next August. Greenside have long-positioned themselves as the Fringe’s grassroots, open-access space providing a stage for everyone from early career artists, to university theatre troupes, touring solo shows, and just about anything you can think of.
The RSE, meanwhile, bills itself as ‘Scotland’s National Academy’, and was established in 1783 aiming to provide “the advancement of learning and useful knowledge”. The RSE has in the past operated venues at the Festival under a variety of guises, with the spaces now set to assume the viridescent titles of Greenside’s previous hub in the Old Town – with the hub being called ‘Greenside @ George St’ and hosting the Forest Theatre, Mint Studio, Ivy Studio, Olive Studio, Lime Studio and Fern Studio. Over 100 shows are expected to perform at the new George Street hub at the upcoming instalment of the Festival.
The move will see Greenside hosting a total of ten spaces – the remaining four at their existing site in Riddles Court at the top of the Royal Mile – across EdFringe 2024. Greenside Directors Darren Neale and Tara Stapleton said of the move “We are immensely proud of what we have achieved over almost 20 years operating at the Fringe and we will continue to offer an Open Access venue where anyone can walk onto one of our stages.”
“Although we were sad to say goodbye to our beloved Infirmary Street venue after a fantastic record breaking Fringe for us in August we are very excited about our reinvention and are really looking forward to entering our new home in George Street and delighted to welcome companies and audiences from next year onwards.” they added.
RSE Chief Executive Sarah Skerratt commented on the nature of the Society and Venue Operator’s collaboration: “The Royal Society of Edinburgh has one mission – to make knowledge useful – and our Fellows and staff seek to do this for the benefit of society at large. In partnering with Greenside and preparing to work to support the Fringe – a world-famous arts festival synonymous with Edinburgh – we are able to support the arts in the same way.”
Punters, performers, and Fringe-goers of all stripe will be pleased to see a new hub venue open in the New Town, an area which has long felt disconnected from the beating heart of the Fringe of the Royal Mile, and within which spaces like the Rose Street Theatre – which has been operated by Gilded Balloon, C Venues and more – change hands frequently. If Greenside @ George St can become a stalwart hub for the New Town, it may see the Festival’s geographic dynamics change entirely. This is especially pertinent in light of the Infirmary Street’s corporatisation and the temporary closure of Gilded Balloon’s Teviot hub for renovation work.