THE managing director of the Edinburgh International Festival is to step down.

Joanna Baker has been in the post since 2006, but has been a key figure at the festival since 1992.

She played a major role in the establishment of Scotland’s first audience development agency, The Audience Business (now Culture Republic), as well as Festivals Edinburgh, which she chaired for its first three years, and the Edinburgh International Culture Summit.

She is the Chair of the National Youth Choir of Scotland, a Trustee of the Edinburgh International Culture Summit Foundation, and served as a member of the Scottish Arts Council from 2000 to 2006, chairing its Dance Committee from 2000 to 2004 and serving as Vice Chair in 2005/2006.

She is a former board member of the Scottish Ballet, the British Arts Festivals Association, the Court of Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh and the Festival City Theatres Trust.

Ms Baker said: "With nearly seven months to go before I step down, this is not the time for goodbyes or the moment for reflections on the past 26 years, other than to say that I am proud to have played a part in sustaining and developing this extraordinary organisation."

THE writer and comedian Deborah Frances-White will deliver the Edinburgh Festival Fringe's Welcome Address on 3 August, sharing her own Fringe experiences and welcoming performers to the festival.

The welcome address marks the start of the Fringe and also celebrates the 10th anniversary of Fringe Central, the Fringe Society’s centre for performers, venues, media and arts industry professionals attending.

Deborah hosts The Guilty Feminist podcast, which has reached 30m downloads, with live recordings taking place in the UK, New Zealand, Australia, Denmark and America.

Her BBC Radio 4 show, Deborah Frances-White Rolls the Dice, won the Writers Guild Award for best radio comedy in 2016 and her first feature film as a screen writer, Say My Name, was filmed in 2017.

She has performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 10 times, making her stand up debut with Deborah Frances-White Is Phoning It In in 2006.