Phoebe Waller-Bridge says the launch of her hit show Fleabag at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival has changed her life and career in a new documentary exploring the history of the event.
The BBC programme, titled The Fringe, Fame And Me, tells the story of how a small Scottish arts festival that started 75 years ago has become a national institution that produces a wide range of talent.
Among the shows that first found their feet at the festival was Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag, which she wrote and performed as a one-woman show in 2013.
In the new documentary, she recalls how she completed the script while on the train to Edinburgh.
On the show, she played an angry and confused young woman struggling to find life in London, which she felt was a particular fit for the cultural temperature of the time.
She said: “The year 2013 had a real angry energy shock on you, because there was a fervent feminist that year people talked about feminism in a way they never had before.
“And I feel that is one of the reasons that Fleabag is so successful. There are a lot of people who can really relate to it. “
Waller-Bridge added that Edinburgh feels right for Fleabag in the sense that it feels “adult-free” and that “you’re allowed to say what you really want to say before anyone else can get in the way of it.” “.
The show went on to win the First Fringe Award and, after being adapted into a BBC sitcom, it won a host of Bafta, Emmy and Golden Globe Awards.
Reflecting on Fringe’s impact on her, she added: “These four weeks could change your life and change your career forever, that’s what happened to me. I mean I’ve never looked back at Edinburgh. “
Waller-Bridge is now the president of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, which she says is a “wonderful thing” because she feels so much indebted to it.
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Also among the stars who revealed how the festival influenced their careers in the documentary was Friends star David Schwimmer.
The actor recalls how he made the Alice In Wonderland film that he had just directed while studying at Northwestern University in Chicago to Fringe in his twenties.
Talking about its influence on his acting career, he said: “It was a life changing experience and it also proved to us that we can do this.
“We had a very satisfying game at Fringe and we came back saying ‘let’s do this professionally’.”
Acting stars Stephen Fry and Dame Emma Thompson also reflected on their time at the festival as they were part of Cambridge University’s Footlight dramatic group.
Fry admitted: “If I hadn’t had the chance to meet Emma and Hugh (Laurie), go to Edinburgh and perform the way we did, I don’t think I would have done it.”
While Oscar winner Dame Emma added: “There are no negative memories for me. Edinburgh is just such fun, lots of late nights and a few broken hearts, just the stuff of life. “
Comedian Eddie Izzard also brought up another side of the festival as she reflected on the challenges she faced in order to be discovered.
The stand-up explained that some people thought she had an overnight success but it took her 10 years before she felt like the festival worked for her.
She said: “I lost many battles in Edinburgh but I won the war.”
Bill Bailey, Michael Palin, Frankie Boyle, Stephen K Amos and Miriam Margoyles are also some of the famous faces in the documentary about how their time at Fringe affected their careers.
The Fringe, Fame and Me will air on BBC Scotland on 8 August and on BBC Two and iPlayer on 10 August.
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/phoebe-waller-bridge-says-debuting-fleabag-at-fringe-festival-changed-her-life-41890761.html Phoebe Waller-Bridge says launching Fleabag at Fringe Festival changed her life