The Edinburgh Fringe has just announced that Kath Mainland is to leave the organisation after seven years as its Chief Executive. She will take on the role of Executive Director of the Melbourne Festival in February 2016.
Kath M Mainland, CBE said: “After seven truly incredible years as Chief Executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, the time has come to move on to pastures new and I am delighted to be taking on the role of Executive Director at the Melbourne Festival.
“I love the Fringe and I have lived in Edinburgh for over twenty years because of it. I’m immensely proud of the Fringe Society staff and their achievements – I have had the opportunity to work with an amazingly hardworking, imaginative and talented group of people.
“I’d especially like to take this opportunity to thank all the creative souls who take part in the Fringe and make it what it is – the world’s largest, most renowned open-access arts festival. Every year artists from all over the world travel to this great festival city to bring audiences their extraordinary work, and it’s because of them that the Fringe is so successful, and Scotland has such a unique cultural event to be proud of.
“I will take away many, many very special memories of the Fringe, and Edinburgh’s other festivals and I’m looking forward to coming back as an audience member to create many more.”
The Chair of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society Sir Timothy O’Shea said:
“Kath’s passion for the arts, their place in society and our unique festival city of Edinburgh has led her to achieve great success as Chief Executive of the Fringe Society. Her enthusiasm is contagious, her spirit is generous, and her vision and hard work has been truly remarkable. We are extremely sad to see her go.
“It was an immense pleasure to see Kath’s dedication recognised with the honour of CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in 2014. She has been an asset to both the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and to the city of Edinburgh and I’ve no doubt Kath will go on to achieve wonderful things at the Melbourne Festival.”
Kath began her career in the arts in 1991 when she first joined the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society as Administrative Assistant. Originally from Orkney, Scotland, she has worked in around Edinburgh’s Festivals ever since, working as a production coordinator and event producer of many of Scotland’s major festivals and events. In 2005 Kath became general manager of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, and was Administrative Director there until 2009 when she took up the newly created post of Chief Executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society.
During Kath’s tenure the Edinburgh Festival Fringe has seen significant growth with 1,216 more shows in the 2015 programme than in 2009 and 48 more venues involved. This year, the Fringe Society also announced record breaking figures following the 2015 Fringe with an estimated 2,298,090 tickets issued for shows across Scotland’s capital.
Kath has lived in Edinburgh for 24 years and been intrinsically involved in developing and maintaining Edinburgh’s position as the world’s leading festival city. She has sat on a number of arts boards in Scotland, including Festivals Edinburgh, (where she was chair from 2010 – 2013), a high-level organisation, created and managed by the directors of Edinburgh’s 12 major festivals, to take the lead on their joint strategic development.
In June 2014 Kath was awarded a CBE for services to Culture in Scotland.
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society will begin the recruitment process for a new Chief Executive imminently.