Welcome to the 22nd Free Fringe!  Thanks to everybody who has worked hard for no money to make Free Fringe 2017 happen.  To Margaret McKay for designing the Wee Blue Book programme. To Frank Galbraith for the venue sourcing and liaison. To the Artistic Directors: Luke Meredith, Elise Harris, Matt Panesh, Fay Roberts, Paul B Edwards, Cassie Atkinson, Chris O’Neill, Ewan Leeming and Cameron Phair. Nick Hodder for web design and Dave Reubens for doing complicated computer things. And to so many others who have done so many things.

Our wonderful venues, Edinburgh-based businesses’ give us the performance space free. Thank you to all of them. Dear audience: please buy drink and refreshments from the venues you visit.
We pass that space on to our performers free. The performers pass it on to you, the public, free. But they appreciate it if you put money in the bucket at the end. Nobody’s forced to. All bucket money goes straight to the performer with no checks or deductions. That’s how it works. It’s a good system. Everybody benefits. We’re proud of it. All Free Fringe work is done by volunteers, mostly performers.

The programme in your hands is printed in Scotland. The money you hand over the bar supports the economy of Scotland. I, your humble chairperson, am English. Sorry about that. We’ve gone from 22 performances in our first year to about 9000 now. Lots for you to choose from in many categories. Choose. Enjoy. Repeat.

I’m afraid I won’t be joining you this year. I shall be in hospital having things removed, including what remains of my dignity. The NHS saved my life in September/October 2016. Don’t let them kill the NHS. It’s better and more important than the Free Fringe. But enjoy the Free Fringe also.

See you in 2018.

Peter Buckley Hill