Moving beyond the fringe – The Edinburgh Digital Entertainment Festival

The Edinburgh Digital Entertainment Festival (EDEF) is the first of its kind – a festival that puts digital at the heart of its programme. Launched during the summer of 2016, EDEF was part of the Edinburgh Festival, the world’s most prodigious arts festival and offered a diverse programme of live performances, installations, experiences and workshops, all of which explore and inspire new ideas that blend technology and art.

The event is produced by Riverside Studios, a multi-purpose performing arts and entertainment venue based in London – who wanted to share their passion of what digital technology can offer the world of the arts.

Indoor venues were transformed into exhibition, performance and workshop spaces inviting audiences to experience new technology through VR, games, digital theatre, event cinema and live to digital activities and performances.

William Burdett-Coutts, EDEF Director and Riverside Studios CEO was the driving force behind the initiative and called upon his years of experience running the Assembly Rooms fringe venue at the Edinburgh Festival.

Speaking to The Stage, Burdett-Coutts said: “The idea was to spark a discussion on how the arts world can engage with technology. Digital is one of those strange words. It is something everybody wants to engage with, yet very few people know what to do with it. We wanted to look at where the industry is now and think about where it might be going in the future.”

logo EDEF Edinburgh Digital Entertainment Festival

Creating a website to exhibit the show

Due to the nature of the event, EDEF needed a website that would reflect the innovative programme of events and one that would give users a flavour of what was on offer including access to live streams of talks from the Ideas Studio.

The site also needed to include an easy way for visitors to purchase tickets so Keytree implemented an interactive booking system that allows the user to review genres, locations and event timings so they can book tickets for their programme of choice.

Burdett-Coutts enjoyed the inaugural event and is excited about what’s coming during the summer of 2018 but he explained to The Stage that there is much more to explore.

He said: “There are innovations coming thick and fast, but they will never cancel out live performance. We just need to think about how the technology will best serve the creative process. We tend to think of new technology as a flat screen or an iPad, but there are now myriad ways in which new technology can be applied.”

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“The idea was to spark a discussion on how the arts world can engage with technology. Digital is one of those strange words. It is something everybody wants to engage with, yet very few people know what to do with it. We wanted to look at where the industry is now and think about where it might be going in the future.”

William Burdett-CouttsEDEF Director and Riverside Studios CEO