Off-Broadway is about
to take on a whole new dimension. Under an innovative new
scheme, theatrical companies at this year's Edinburgh Festival
Fringe can compete for an award to take their play to a major
New York theatre come November.
The award is funded by Carol Tambor, a New York painter who has been coming
to the Edinburgh festivals for 20 years. This splendid project
shows several things.
First, that the spontaneity, inventiveness and lack of
bureaucracy of the Fringe is as
alive as ever - a good model for how to make the arts work.
Second, that the Fringe
still thrives on competition and excellence rather than
dubious notions of what is
politically correct Anyone can perform at the Fringe, but the
audience's decision is
final: something for James Boyle and the new commission on the
arts in Scotland to
remember. Third, the way to make what is now the world's
biggest arts festival even
bigger is to export its products abroad. The official
Festival, the Book Festival and
the other elements of Edinburgh's August arts extravaganza
should take note. And
finally, would it not be a better way to sell Scotland abroad
for the Executive to stop
wasting cash on penny-packet tourist campaigns and, instead,
fund more Scottish
art to tour abroad?