The Chief Executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society has announced she is standing down, after seven years in post.

Kath M Mainland has accepted the role of Executive Director of the Melbourne Festival, commencing February 2016.

In a statement Mainland said: “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.”

Mainland first worked at the Fringe in 1991, as an administrative assistant.

Subsequent years saw her career advance, with her securing several roles within Edinburgh’s festival arts scene.

Her appointment at Edinburgh International Book Festival as general manager in 2005 led to her subsequent appointment as administrative director, before returning to the Fringe in 2009 and procuring the role of chief executive.

The Fringe has seen substantial growth since Mainland’s appointment, with it announcing an increase of 1,216 shows in its 2015 programme compared to 2009, along with unprecedented sales of approximately 2,298,090 tickets for shows spanning Scotland’s capital.

Sir Timothy O’Shea, Chair of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society said in a statement: “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.”

Kath M Mainland has stepped down as Chief Executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society. For more information, click here. 

Image: Jane Hobson