Edinburgh Festival director to step down

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The Independent Culture

The director of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe today announced he is to step down.

Jon Morgan, who has been in the role just over a year, leaves the job only days after it was revealed ticket sales for the arts festival dropped 10 per cent this year.

It was the first fall in sales for eight years.

The Fringe was hit by a host of problems this year, including the widely publicised failure of a new computerised ticketing system.

Mr Morgan, 46, today insisted he had been considering the move for "some time" but did not want to disrupt this year's programme by announcing it before the festival began.

The director said: "I feel privileged to have worked for the Fringe. It is the greatest arts festival on the planet and plays an important role in developing and showcasing new performing talent on a world stage.

"However, the role of Fringe director has taken me away from my first love - producing and presenting exciting performances to audiences and my intention is to return to that more direct relationship with artists and audiences."

He added: "I have been considering this for some time, but felt it was important not to announce my departure before the festival so as not to impact on this year's festival.

"Following discussion with the board I have now decided to step down with immediate effect."

Mr Morgan stressed that he would "contribute fully" to an independent review into the problems with the box office system, announced earlier this month.

Baroness Smith, chairwoman of the Fringe Society Board, said: "The board is very grateful to Jon for his significant contribution to the Fringe at a challenging time of great change.

"In the short time he has been in post he has dealt with an unprecedented range of challenges.

"The board appreciate his future career aspirations and we would like to thank him for all his hard work and to wish him well in the future."

Previous to his role as Fringe director, Mr Morgan was executive producer with the Contact Theatre in Manchester.

He has also worked with the Scottish Arts Council on its bid to establish the National Theatre of Scotland and was general manager at the TAG Theatre Company in Glasgow.