Applications are open for the fourth year of the Network of Independent Critics (NIC) at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2019, and Theatre Editor Daniel Perks is heading up the charge:

The Network of Independent Critics (NIC) are back at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for their fourth consecutive year, with independent journalists Jo Trainor and Daniel Perks at the helm. Trainor and Perks take over from founding members Laura Kressly and Katharine Kavanagh, who set up the scheme in 2016.

Laura Kressly & Katharine Kavanagh

A city centre apartment will become home to selected arts commentators over the course of the Fringe, allowing for networking and social opportunities as well as a cost-effective base from which to cover the Festival. New for 2019, they are offering space for more critics and lower priced options for accommodation.

This year, the focus will be on mental health and wellbeing, an opportunity for the critics to improve their skills while making sure they look after themselves and each other. This is the largest arts festival in the world and it’s easy to feel lost, isolated and alone. Freelance journalists often see shows alone and spend a large amount of time writing, without a strong network of contemporaries or peers to bounce ideas off, lean on for support or help them relax and enjoy the experience.

Weekly wellbeing sessions will be offered to foster a sense of community and give critics the space to meditate and reflect. These three workshops at Fringe Central, scheduled at regular times during the month, will be open to all Edinburgh Fringe participants. Each session will include an open forum to discuss any issues, coping strategies and opportunities to look after mental health, as well as a guided meditation session that focuses on reducing stress, maintaining focus and building stamina.

NIC Participants in 2017

NIC are welcoming applications from all freelance journalists – vloggers, bloggers, critics, reporters and writers. The scheme includes accommodation, fringe media support and networking opportunities. This is an opportunity to hone skills, practice and develop in a supportive environment. Each participant will either choose to focus on a specialised selection of the Fringe programme, which could cover anything from puppetry to new musicals, or will be assigned shows by their editor.

The NIC scheme was launched to support the work of independent critics and facilitate their continued practice, generating visibility for arts that regularly slip below the radar of the mainstream press. Over the last three years, more than 1,100 reviews were produced by 65 participating critics, whose interests included a diverse set of creative outlets such as LGBTQ+ work, BAME-led productions and children’s theatre.

The scheme is very lucky to have a number of high-profile arts journalists among its alumni. Previous attendees have since gone on to paid commissions with Fest, Exeunt, Miro Magazine and The Stage, and have attended international arts conferences in America and Europe.

New administrators, Trainor and Perks, comment,

“We are very excited to take over from Laura and Kate, whose work we have followed and admired for a number of years.

“The NIC has always been a place for collaboration and support. This year, we are really proud to be focusing on the mental wellbeing of our critics. It’s just as important for arts journalists to grow, learn and develop as it for the theatremakers whose work we champion.

“We are really looking forward to working with a group of freelance contributors and seeing where Edinburgh Fringe 2019 takes us.”

Applications for the scheme are open now, with a deadline of 18:00 22 April 2019. You can download the application form from this link.