Napier graduate enlightens confused festival-goers

August 11, 2006

A Scottish student developed the first online guide to shows at this year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the world's largest arts festival, which started this week.

Liz MacIntosh, who has graduated in business management from Napier University, launched a website offering a solution to the perennial problem of which of the thousands of shows to go to by featuring video clips of a range of performances.

Ms MacIntosh was backed in the venture by Napier's Centre for Entrepreneurship, a unit for students who want to set up businesses. The unit provides mentoring, office space, administrative support and IT facilities.

Ms MacIntosh's site, www.festivalpreviews.com/index.shtml, has a searchable database and allows festival-goers to log their impressions of shows. Ms MacIntosh plans to extend it to cover festivals around the world, such as the 60-year-old Avignon Festival.

"It will make it easier for the public to choose which shows they wish to see and is a vehicle for the performers to promote their shows," she said.

"Often shows receive mixed reviews, and it can be difficult for people to decide which performances they want to see based on someone else's opinion.

The video clips can stand alongside written reviews and offer a more balanced profile."

Maggie Anderson, a business lecturer who helped launch the site, said she believed it would become an invaluable tool for festival visitors. "Liz had a fantastic idea that has been exceptionally well managed."

* The Open University in Scotland is bringing together leading scientists, writers and commentators to discuss environmental issues during the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

Edinburgh University bioethicist Michael Northcott, writer Fred Pearce and food journalist Rose Prince are among speakers at the OU's environment series.

Peter Syme, the OU's Scottish director, said the programme aimed to encourage "more people to engage with science, technology and the environment".

There was enormous interest in finding out more about these subjects, Mr Syme said, and the OU brought them to life through ventures such as the Book Festival, TV co-productions such as Coast and courses on topical areas.

The talks coincide with the launch of a new OU course, understanding environment.

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