New CEO announced for FRINGE WORLD Festival

Published: Thu, Mar 14 2019
Posted in Media Releases, Fringe News
New CEO announced for FRINGE WORLD Festival

Following a hotly contested international search, a new CEO has been appointed to lead ARTRAGE, the organisation behind the wildly successful FRINGE WORLD Festival.

Sharon Burgess is one of the leading lights of the international Fringe network and a current Board member of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society. For the last decade she’s been a driving force behind some of the ‘Big Four’ venue producers at Edinburgh Fringe including Managing Director of Assembly for the last six years and Business Development and General Manager at The Gilded Balloon for the four years prior.

Assembly are one of the largest and oldest multi-venue producers at Edinburgh Fringe and in 2018 ran twenty-eight different venues that hosted up to 225 shows a day across all genres, issuing over half a million tickets across their Festival season.

Ms Burgess said, “I am honoured and excited to be appointed CEO of Artrage, a company I have always admired. I look forward to building on the exceptional work by Marcus Canning and continuing to shape and grow Artrage’s position in the cultural landscape of WA and beyond with the brilliant team he leaves in place. I’m thrilled to make Perth my home and can’t wait to work with the artists and audiences who create such an inspiring, creative destination!”

Ms Burgess is one of Scotland’s most celebrated producers and promoters of comedy, cabaret, theatre and large scale events, and was a key producer behind Scotland’s 2014 nationwide Hogmanay celebrations that covered four major cities. Ms Burgess has had a direct connection to Fringe World over its history having produced tours from the UK to Perth and Adelaide Fringe a number of times during the festival’s growth.

Chair of the ARTRAGE Board, Anthony Robinson said, “We are thrilled to have secured the services of such a respected leader from across the world of Fringe. The opportunity attracted hundreds of applications and many outstanding candidates. The final shortlist included impressive individuals from the WA cultural sector alongside a range of national and international industry leaders. At the end of a rigorous process over a number of stages, Sharon Burgess emerged as the standout best fit for the future of Fringe World.”

The first Edinburgh Fringe was held in 1947 and over the last seventy years has grown to become the largest arts festival on the planet with over 2.8 million tickets issued in 2018. Over this time the Edinburgh Fringe has spawned an international network of over 250 Fringe Festivals around the world. FRINGE WORLD Festival in Perth was launched in 2011 and has rapidly grown to become the third largest in the world in terms of tickets sold. The 2019 FRINGE WORLD Festival broke previous records with more than 400,000 ticketed attendance and box office sales of more than $11.5 million.

Retiring CEO, Marcus Canning said, “It will be exciting to see what the next chapter holds when Sharon brings her wealth of Edinburgh experiences to Perth. She’s ideally placed to continue the good work with the Fringe World team. We had a fantastic Festival season, the organisation is in a very strong place and it’s a great set of hands to pass the baton to. The future really is looking super bright for Fringe World.”

Ms Burgess will commence fully in the role after the 2019 Edinburgh Fringe season finishes. FRINGE WORLD Festival Director, Amber Hasler will be serving as Acting CEO until Ms Burgess moves to Perth later in the year.


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For all ARTRAGE and FRINGE WORLD Festival media enquiries, please contact:

Jo Hos
ARTRAGE Marketing Director