The Edinburgh Festival Fringe launches its 70th anniversary programme today, with some exciting new venues making an appearance.
Among the unusual venues being brought into use for the first time is Easter Road stadium, home of Hibernian Football Club. Strange Town’s A Field of Our Own is their take on the founding of the club by Irish immigrants in the 19th century. Another sporting venue, Musselburgh Race Course, will host a Brunton Theatre presentation of The Mikado.
Several established venues are branching out into new spaces too. The Traverse will be taking over Edinburgh College of Art’s Wee Red Bar, which hosts local theatre companies like Blazing Hyena and Pretty Knickers outwith August, for Party Game, an immersive performance by Bluemouth Inc. The Trav will also be round the corner at Codebase with multimedia show Frogman.
Sweet have taken over another hotel, the Macdonald Holyrood for a full programme of shows. Sweet Holyrood will host a 250 hour epic tabletop roleplaying game, Adventurers Wanted among a wider programme of comedy, cabaret and theatre.
The Acoustic Music Centre, forced out of its former home at St. Bride’s by council price hikes, can now be found at the Ukrainian Community Centre on Royal Terrace. Gilded Balloon will open the new Rose Theatre (as previously featured here), while C will open a new hub on George Street at the Royal Society of Edinburgh, C royale.
In the world of the free venues, the various promoters continue to expand their empires. PBH Free Fringe move into Grassmarket tiki bar, 52 canoes; Laughing Horse add Southpour on Newington Road and The Cuckoo’s Nest on Home Street; and Bob Slayer has taken on new comedy club Monkey Barrel as one of his Heroes venues.
Overall, show and venue numbers are back up after a slight dip in 2016. 300 venues will host 53,232 performances of 3,398 shows over the three and a bit weeks from Fri 4 – Mon 28 Aug.
Unveiling the programme using the theme “Alliance of Defiance”, Shona McCarthy, Chief Executive of the Fringe Society said:
“This is a very special year for the Fringe as we celebrate 70 years of defying the norm, of championing artistic freedom and providing a platform for artists around the world to come and present their work in a truly unique environment that is inclusive, inspiring, and often life-affirming. In the current climate of global uncertainty, fringes are more crucial than ever, continuing to provide artists with a space to express themselves without fear of censorship.”
“The 2017 Fringe Programme reflects the principles that guide the fringe movement, it is diverse, topical, challenging and of course, exciting. I hope that as many people as possible will join us here in Edinburgh for the 70th anniversary edition of the Fringe, to witness and participate in this joyous international celebration of arts and culture.”
The full Fringe programme is available at edfringe.com and from outlets across the country.
The Fringe will also be leading the inaugural World Fringe Day on 11 July.