Media job: Head of Communications (maternity cover, 11-month contract), Edinburgh Festival Fringe

CLOSING DATE: April 6, 2022

Closing date: 10:00 Wednesday 06 April 2022
Interview date: 14 April 2022
Start date: Monday 16 May 2022


THE idea at the heart of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe is simple: anyone with a desire to perform and a venue willing to host them is welcome. No individual or committee determines who can or cannot perform at the Fringe.

It all began in 1947 with eight companies – six of them from Scotland – taking a risk, turning up uninvited and performing on the ‘fringe’ of the inaugural Edinburgh International Festival. Over 70 years later, the Fringe has grown to become one of the greatest platforms for creative freedom in the world, second only to the Olympics in terms of global, ticketed events.

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society is the charity that was established by artists to act as the custodian of the Fringe. We exist to support, advise and encourage everyone who wants to participate in the Fringe, provide information and assistance to audiences, and promote the Fringe and what it stands for all over the world.

Purpose of the role

Reporting to the chief executive, the head of Communications is part of the Fringe Society’s senior management team. The role leads on media relations, PR and wider marketing for the organisation, and the postholder manages a small, talented team of four permanent staff members, along with a number of seasonal media office posts.

Within the expected maternity cover period, the post-holder’s primary responsibilities will be to manage the Edinburgh Festival Fringe external communications and brand during its 75th anniversary year through a targeted programme of proactive media activity as well ensure research and insight is captured to inform 2023 planning.

Working closely with the head of External Relations and the wider senior management team, they will lead on the development and rollout of key messages tailored to a range of audiences – from the general public to artists, local communities and residents, stakeholders and policymakers.

Boasting an excellent network of contacts and a clear understanding of the changing media landscape in Scotland and further afield, the successful candidate will help continue to position the Fringe as a truly global festival rooted in Edinburgh and Scotland.

They will also act as a first point of contact for media enquiries and will lead on everything from drafting key press announcements to managing urgent or reactive comms.

Leading up to and during the Fringe, the Society provides a media centre for artists and over 1,000 of the world’s media, including providing media and marketing advice to venues and participants. This activity is led by a seasonal media office manager and will be supported as necessary by the head of Communications and the wider Fringe Society team.

At the expected time of starting, the seasonal team for 2022 will be in place. Full training on how this office works and functions will be provided.

Role and responsibilities

Your duties will include:

  • Maintaining the strong and positive PR and brand of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and the Fringe Society;
  • Implementing the Fringe Society’s communications strategy, underpinned by robust key messages, that raises the profile of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the Fringe Society and our work locally, nationally and internationally;
  • Supporting the chief executive in managing the reputation of the Fringe and the Society, ensuring responses to media enquiries and interviews are in line with our wider media and PR strategies;
  • Working closely with colleagues across the organisation to develop key messages for a range of target audiences – from the general public to artists, local communities, influencers and other stakeholders – and play a lead role in their delivery;
  • Acting as the Society’s lead on reactive and urgent comms;
  • Working with the head of External Affairs to support bespoke, proactive messaging and communication channels to political stakeholders and policymakers, residents of Edinburgh, businesses and investors;
  • Supporting the Marketing manager on the rollout of the annual Fringe marketing campaign, leading on key media moments such as programme launch day / first day of the Fringe / closing release;
  • Monitoring and evaluating media coverage and producing comprehensive reports on activity and outcomes, including monitoring ROI;
  • Providing timely and accurate progress reports to the chief executive and Fringe Society board as required;
  • Overseeing the delivery of the seasonal media office;
  • Leading and managing the year-round Marketing and Communications team; and
  • Undertaking any reasonable duties as requested by the chief executive.

Person specification


  • Experience of taking a big picture, strategic approach to communications and PR;
  • Demonstrable communications and PR experience working at a similar level in an agency, organisation or event of comparable reputation nationally and internationally;
  • Understanding of the Scottish and UK media landscape, with an established network of contacts;
  • Excellent writing and proofreading skills, with experience in drafting news releases and speeches;
  • Strong communicator with excellent presentation, negotiating and networking skills;
  • Experience in briefing for PR activities and providing information in a useful and effective way for spokespersons; and
  • Excellent organisational and time management skills, and the ability to prioritise conflicting demands across a varied workload.


  • Knowledge of Edinburgh and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe; and
  • Knowledge of the arts and cultural sector.

Salary and benefits

The salary range for this post is £40,000 – £45,000 per annum, plus 4.5 per cent pension contribution. We offer 34 days annual leave, including six public holidays over Christmas, New Year and Easter.

Normal working hours are 10:00 to 18:00, Monday to Friday. Some additional evening and weekend work may be required. There is no overtime entitlement, but the Society does maintain a TOIL policy outwith the festival period. We are a flexible working employer and therefore are happy to discuss flexible working at any stage of the application process. We would also be happy to consider this role as a secondment opportunity.

During the festival you may be required to work six days a week (42 hours). Due to intense activity during certain periods of the year, the fact that no TOIL is accrued during the festival period and that only six public holidays are recognised, the Society feels that employees benefit from an extended holiday over the Christmas and New Year period. The Society will award six ‘Festival Fringe’ days over and above your annual holiday entitlement to count towards this period.

Some overnight travel outside Edinburgh, and attendance at events outside normal working hours, may be required.

We use positive action under section 159 of the Equality Act in relation to disability or race. This means that if we have two candidates of equal merit in our process, we will seek to take forward the D/deaf, disabled, Black, Asian or ethnically-diverse candidate in order to diversify our staff team.