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Shona McCarthy has been named as Chief Executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, filling the post Kath Mainland will vacate in March.

Shona was Chief Executive of the Culture Company, which was responsible for leading on Derry-Londonderry’s year as the inaugural UK City of Culture. She was Chief Executive at Imagine Belfast 2008, Chief Executive of Cinemagic, the international film festival for young people, and Director of the Foyle Film Festival. More recently she’s been working internationally as a freelance cultural consultant and from 2009 to 2011 she was Director of the British Council Northern Ireland. Shona was a recipient of a NESTA cultural leadership award and was awarded an Eisenhower Fellowship for Innovation 2014. She will take up the post in early March.

The Chair of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, Sir Timothy O’Shea, said:

“I am delighted Shona will be joining the team at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society; she brings with her an exceptional resume of experience in the cultural sector and is an experienced and successful chief executive.

“The Fringe Society’s role is to support and nurture the Fringe – the world’s largest and best arts festival – a festival which has seen continual growth for a number of years. In response to that, and under Kath Mainland’s leadership, the Fringe Society has expanded its services for both participants and audiences. As the Fringe approaches its 70th anniversary year, I have no doubt Shona will provide the vision and leadership to continue and further develop the work the Society does, supporting the Fringe’s reputation as a world leading arts festival.”

Shona McCarthy said of her appointment: “I am thrilled to be appointed Chief Executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, an organisation I have long admired. I have spent 25 years working in the cultural sector and have seen up close and personal the transformative power that art can have on people, on cities and on wellbeing. I passionately believe in personal and collective creativity as a force for good in a turbulent world.

“I have visited Edinburgh and the Fringe on many occasions and there is no better outlet for creative expression than the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the greatest open access arts festival in the world, and I can’t wait to work with and support all those who make up such a wonderful festival.

“Kath Mainland has done a terrific job and there is a brilliant team already in place, I look forward to joining them.”


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