After 17 years as Chair of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, Baroness Elizabeth Smith of Gilmorehill has formally stepped down at the Society’s Annual General Meeting held today.

Kath M Mainland, Chief Executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society said:

“Elizabeth has been a fantastic Chair of the Fringe Society.  During her time as Chair, the Fringe has cemented its position as the most successful arts event of its kind in the world. The internationalism of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe seems to speak to Elizabeth’s own outward-looking nature and as Chair she has helped to ensure that the Fringe has grown without ever losing its vitality and bite. Elizabeth is a sane, shrewd and influential voice in politics, arts and public life in general.”

Pip Utton, Vice-Chair of the Society said:

“During Elizabeth’s time on the board, the Fringe Society has undergone one of the most important transformations in its history, with the Constitutional Review resulting in an entirely new constitution to ensure that the Society is best serving the participants, venues, audiences and other stakeholders who come to Edinburgh for this unique festival.  I would like to thank her for her oversight and leadership during this process, and pay tribute for the way she has worked so hard for the good of the Fringe.”

Baroness Smith said:

“I have decided that it is time for some fresh thinking and for someone new to lead the board into the future.  For me, serving the Fringe Society has been more fascinating and enthralling than I ever could have imagined when I joined the Board.  If I have learnt anything over that time it is that the enduring strength of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe is in people coming together and collaborating to create something truly unique and far, far greater than the sum of its parts.”

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society will announce their new chair in October.