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Christopher Richardson, founder of the Pleasance Theatre Trust, became a major Fringe figure.Over the first two decades of the Fringe, each performing group used its own performing space, or venue.

With the International Festival using the city's major venues, these companies took over smaller, alternative venues for their productions.

It was not until the following year, 1948, that Robert Kemp, a Scottish playwright and journalist, is credited with coining the title "Fringe" when he wrote during the second Edinburgh International Festival: On the fringe of the official Festival there are many praiseworthy "extras," including presentations by the Scottish Community Drama Association and Edinburgh University Dramatic Society – Dundee Courier, 24 August 1950 The Fringe did not benefit from any official organisation until 1951, when students of the University of Edinburgh set up a drop-in centre in the YMCA, where cheap food and a bed for the night were made available to participating groups.

Late night revues, which would become a feature of Fringes, began to appear in the early 50s.

The Traverse is occasionally referred to as "The Fringe venue that got away", reflecting its current status as a permanent and integral part of the Edinburgh arts scene.

The Pleasance, a venue since the first year of the Fringe, was also important in setting the artistic tone.

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