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The Fringe Society communities mailing list is for community groups and charities based in Edinburgh and Lothian that would like to receive information about the Fringe.
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Attending as community group
Want to bring your community group to the Fringe but don’t know where to begin? Here are 10 things to know for how to get started.
1. Choosing a show
Look through the show listings or using the Advanced Search tool. You can narrow down the number of shows by choosing your preferred dates, times, genres, discounts, accessibility, age range and more. With that said, word of mouth is still one of the best ways to learn what’s going on, so make sure to ask friends, colleagues or even passers-by.
2. Booking a show
You can book tickets and find information on your shows and venues both online and on the app. You can also book over the phone or in person at a box office. Our booking team know a lot about the venues, what the access and seating is like, whether a show has audience participation and much more. You can call a member of our friendly customer service team on +44 (0)131 226 0015 and ask them anything about the show you’re booking.
Oh, and don’t forget to ask about our access booking service, which is available to anyone who needs it.
3. Planning your trip
Edinburgh during the Fringe is a busy place and latecomers may not be admitted to shows, so schedule in some extra travel time to get from A to B.
Seating in a show (when available) is unreserved in almost all cases. If you want to sit together as a family or group, arrive together in plenty of time before the performance.
Parking can be difficult during the Fringe; we recommend walking, cycling or using public transport wherever possible.
4. Taking a break
If you’re bringing a larger group, you might want to think about places where you can catch a break or stop for a packed lunch. While the city centre is busy, you can usually find space at the public places on the map below.
We’ve compiled this list based on recommendations from local community groups. If you have any additional tips on great places to take a breather, email them to [email protected] and we’ll add them to our map. Please note that we don’t check each place ourselves and can’t guarantee they’ll provide exactly what you’re after.
5. What to wear
High heels or wellies? Suit or tracksuit? Wear whatever clothes you feel comfortable in – you don’t need to wear anything fancy or formal at the Fringe. However we all know what the Edinburgh weather’s like, so make sure you’re prepared!
6. How to get a taste of what's out there
Every day from 11:00 – 21:00 on the Royal Mile (between Cockburn Street and George IV Bridge) and the Mound (near Princes Street ) there are family-friendly shows on the streets. You can see circus acts, musicians, living statues, arts and craft stalls and much more.
The street events are free, are on every day and are busiest at weekends, particularly in the afternoon. If you want to visit while it’s quieter, we recommend aiming for weekdays.
7. Tipping performers
The only people who pay the street performers are the public who watch the shows, so don’t be alarmed when they ask for donations near the end of their performance. If you enjoy their show and can afford it, please put a donation in the hat – it helps them keep doing what they’re doing.
8. Keeping your group together
What if someone in your group gets lost at the street events? Our friendly Street Team members wear bright red uniforms and are there to help in this situation. They can also help with advice and more to make sure you have a good experience.
9. Audience participation
Street performers (and some Fringe performers in venues) will often ask for volunteers to help in their shows. Don’t panic: they’re talented at choosing people who’ll be confident on stage, and it can be a great way to get an extra-special Fringe experience. Volunteers are often picked from the front three rows.
10. Going to a free show
Many venues also host free shows indoors. Admittance to these shows is usually done on a first-come, first-served basis, or can be ticketed. If you’re planning to visit with a large group, we recommend you get in touch with the venue beforehand to make sure there’s space. You should also consider this point for walking tours and other roaming shows as there may be an upper limit to the number of people in a group. The points above about tipping also apply to free shows in venues.
Contact [email protected] and we’ll do our best to guide you.
Community ticketing initiative (CTI)
The community ticketing initiative (CTI) provides free Fringe tickets for people in and around Edinburgh who might not otherwise have the opportunity to attend, with tickets generously donated by Fringe artists and companies. It was previously known as the Children and Young People (CYP) ticketing scheme, and expanded in 2023 to allow eligible children and adults to take part.
CTI is run by the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society in collaboration with the City of Edinburgh Council and EVOC, an Edinburgh-based umbrella organisation for third-sector organisations. Tickets are distributed through social, family or youth workers in the council or through local community organisations and charities.
We’re open to involving new organisations in this project as long as we have capacity. If your organisation would like to be part of CTI, please check the eligibility criteria for ticket recipients below and get in touch by emailing [email protected].
Eligibility criteria for CTI 2023
CTI tickets are intended for people who would otherwise not have the opportunity to attend the Fringe.
Ticket recipients must live in Edinburgh or the Lothians and fall under one of the following categories:
- at risk, vulnerable, marginalised or isolated
- experiencing additional barriers to attending the festival.