Fringe chief quits

Morgan stands down after box office debacle

Edinburgh Fringe director Jon Morgan has suddenly quit his job after just one tumultuous year.

Morgan unexpectedly resigned his position today with immediate effect, following a difficult festival plagued with difficulties.

He came under a particularly heavy barrage of criticism after an expensive new box office system failed when the Fringe programme went online, leading to huge problems with ticketing.

The computer problems was partly blamed for a ten per cent decline in box office sales this year, along with the Olympics, bad weather, economic gloom and the boom in free events. However, 1.5 million tickets were still sold.

Morgan, who was previously executive producer of Manchester’s Contact Theatre before taking over the Fringe from Paul Gudgin last June, said he decided to step down, before this year’s festival.

He said: ‘The role of fringe director has taken me away from my first love - producing and presenting exciting performance to audiences. My intention is to return to that more direct relationship with artists and audiences.

‘I have been considering this for some time, but felt it was important not to announce my departure before the festival, so as to not impact on this year’s festival.

‘Following discussion with the board, I have now decided to step down with immediate effect, but I would like to stress that I will contribute fully to the independent review of the box office which was announced earlier this month.

‘I would like to thank the board for their support over the last year and I would especially pay tribute to the Fringe Society staff team who deliver vital services that underpin the festival. Every year they work tirelessly and well above the call of duty and this year, in particular, they have dealt with very challenging circumstances with hard work, patience and dedication.’

Baroness Smith, chair of the Fringe Society board, said: ‘The board is very grateful to Jon for his significant contribution to the Fringe. We would like to thank him for all his hard work and to wish him well in the future.’

Here is Morgan speaking before the Fringe:

Published: 28 Aug 2008

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