Join the Alliance of Defiance: The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Launches 70th anniversary programme
07 June 2017
The official 2017 Edinburgh Festival Fringe Programme was launched today with shows catering for all ages and appetites, inviting performers and spectators from around the world to join the Alliance of Defiance and celebrate 70 years of defying the norm at the Fringe.
Over the last 70 years the Edinburgh Festival Fringe has gone from strength to strength, inspiring a global network of more than 200 fringes and establishing itself as the largest platform for creative freedom in the world. On the 11 July, fringes from around the world will come together for the inaugural World Fringe Day (worldfringeday.com), supported by the Scottish Government and EventScotland (part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate), an international celebration to mark the 70th anniversary of the birth of the fringe movement.
Photo: Neil Hanna
The Fringe began in 1947 when eight theatre companies turned up uninvited to perform at the inaugural Edinburgh International Festival. The companies were refused entry to the programme but decided to perform on the fringe of the Festival anyway. The Fringe has remained true to the defiance expressed by the eight companies who performed here in 1947, upholding its open access principle that permits anyone with a story to tell and a venue willing to host them to participate. People travel from all over the word to take part in the Fringe, creating an international melting pot of culture and art in Scotland’s capital city every year. This year’s programme is as varied as ever, offering theatre, dance, circus, physical theatre, comedy, music, musicals, opera, cabaret and variety, children’s shows, free shows, exhibitions, events and spoken word.
Shona McCarthy, Chief Executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society said:
“It’s an honour to be releasing the 2017 Edinburgh Festival Fringe Programme today.
“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.
“The fringe movement has circled the globe and inspired a worldwide network of over 200 sister fringes, with fringes now taking place on every continent except Antarctica. 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.”
Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs said:
“The 70th anniversary edition of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Programme is as varied as ever and features artists from all over the world. Edinburgh’s festivals are now world renowned and it is remarkable to think the fringe movement that began here in 1947 has developed into a worldwide network of fringes.
“The Scottish Government is proud to support the Fringe Made in Scotland showcase and World Fringe Day through our Expo Fund, which provides a platform for artists from across Scotland. I am proud that Scotland is the home of fringe and has joined with others across the globe to celebrate the 70th anniversary and the ongoing success of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.”
Janet Archer, Chief Executive of Creative Scotland said:
“The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is a globally recognised platform that provides an important space for artists from Scotland and the world to show their work to international audiences, develop their skills and meet with arts industry professionals from across the world. Since the very first Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1947, the Fringe has successfully embraced an open access policy which has enabled performers at every stage of their development to take part. I look forward to seeing what the 70th anniversary edition of this fantastic festival has in store for audiences and performers alike.”
Paul Bush OBE, Director of Events, VisitScotland said:
“EventScotland is delighted to be supporting the 70th anniversary edition of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and the inaugural World Fringe Day. Edinburgh is renowned as a world class festival city and the Fringe is a leading festival model that continues to be emulated across the globe with more than 200 fringes taking place around the world. The Fringe continues to draw significant visitors to Edinburgh every year, showcasing why Edinburgh and Scotland are the perfect stage for events. Scotland's Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is an ideal opportunity to celebrate the remarkable story of one of Scotland's signature events.”
In 2017 new venues are spread across the city and beyond. In Leith, Hibernian Football Club becomes a venue for the first time for Strange Town’s production of A Field of Our Own (p.330) while The Leith Volcano, formerly St James Church on Constitution Street, will be flooded for Volcano Theatre’s visceral production of Chekhov’s The Seagull (Seagulls p.381). Army @ the Fringe in Association with Summerhall sees the Army Reserve Centre on East Claremont Street transformed into a venue, while Gilded Balloon at Rose Theatre will feature four performance spaces in the in the old Charlotte Chapel on Rose Street.
On George Street, Salt ‘n’ Sauce Promotions present a programme of comedy, spoken word, theatre, music and interactive game play at New Town Theatre. Traverse move off site to Traverse at the Wee Red Bar in the Edinburgh College of Art campus for Bluemouth Inc’s immersive performance show Party Game (p.370), while multimedia show Frogman (p.333) will take place at Traverse at CodeBase. Sweet Holyrood features three performance spaces in the Macdonald Holyrood Hotel with a host of shows including Adventurers Wanted: A 250-Hour Epic Tabletop Roleplaying Game (p.300). The Acoustic Music Centre changes its residence for 2017, Acoustic Music Centre @ UCC can be found at the Ukranian Community Centre on Royal Terrace. C royale is a new C venues hub on George Street, occupying the Royal Society of Edinburgh and presenting a mix of new writing, cabaret, circus and comedy. SpaceUK also return to theSpace on North Bridge after a two year hiatus, while Venue150 at EICC expands in to the tunnel below the main venue where Trainspotting Live (p.395) will take place.
Outside of the city, two performances of Oceanallover’s dance piece Sea Hames (p.204) will take place at Dalkeith Country Park (buses leaving from Dance Base), The Brunton presents a programme of music and theatre including The Mikado (p.283) at Musselburgh Race Course and Alice Through The Looking Glass (p.28) in the idyllic surrounds of Inveresk Lodge Garden, and Beyond Borders Festival Scotland brings a programme of debate, discussion, art and music to Traquair House in Innerleithen.
New free venues for 2017 include Black Market on Market Street which features six performance spaces in the former offices of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, while in the Grassmarket, tiki bar 52 canoes will host shows in its basement lounge. New Edinburgh comedy club Monkey Barrel becomes Heroes @ Monkey Barrel for the duration of the Fringe, while Laughing Horse brings a programme of free music to Newington’s Southpour bar with Laughing Horse @ Southpour and also presents shows at Laughing Horse @ The Cuckoo’s Nest on Home Street.
More unusual locations for Fringe shows this year include the Lochrin Belle boat which will host Scotch Egg Club Presents: Whisky on Water (p.218), a food and drink cruise along Edinburgh’s Union Canal. Novotel Swimming Pool becomes a venue for 274 Theatre’s water-based production Brodsky Station (p.313) and Chamber Pot Opera (p.278) brings toilet based opera to The Bathroom at Assembly Hall.
DANCE, PHYSICAL THEATRE AND CIRCUS
Dance companies of all shapes and sizes are bringing their work to the Fringe this year. At Dance Base, contemporary dance master and choreographer Bill Coleman portrays a figure whose whole world is literally falling in around him in Dollhouse (p.195) and Chordelia Company collaborate with inclusive theatre company Solar Bear for Lady Macbeth: Unsex Me Here (p.199), a piece which explores the ambition, power and remorse of one of Shakespeare's most complex female characters. The National Dance Company of Wales bring their production of Caroline Finn’s award winning Folk (p.197) to Zoo Southside, and from the Northern Territories of Australia, Aboriginal dance and YouTube sensation Djuki Mala (Assembly, p.194) make their UK debut in a heart-warming show that combines traditional Yolngu and contemporary pop culture, dance and storytelling.
A host of international circus companies will be wowing audiences at this year’s Fringe. Underbelly and Bibi and Bachu present Circus Abyssinia: Ethiopian Dreams (p.193), an unashamedly joyful mix of astonishing stunts, astounding circus skills and enchanting adventure, featuring the inimitable Konjowoch Troupe. Acéléré by Circolombia (Underbelly, p.192) combines mind-boggling skill and a willingness to take terrifying risks to deliver world-class, gravity-defying performances direct form Bogota, Columbia. Quebec's Cirque Éloize transform classic film Metropolis into a virtuosic spectacle for the whole family in Cirkopolis (Pleasance, p.193) and in Paris De Nuit (Assembly, p.203), Recirquel Company Budapest bring the decadent and lovable Paris of the 1930s to life, inspired by the voluptuous images of Hungarian photographer Brassaï.
A feast of famous names return to Edinburgh for the 70th anniversary edition of the Fringe. Ruby Wax (Underbelly, p.159) appears in Edinburgh for three nights only, with a show inspired by her best-selling book, A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled. Sue Perkins brings her sparkling wit and favourite stories to Pleasance (p.174), while Sean Hughes (Gilded Balloon, p.163) makes a welcome return to the Fringe with Blank Book, where a team of highly talented comedians will make up a story live on stage. Dead Ringers star Jan Ravens (Gilded Balloon, p.114) makes her Fringe debut with a show that takes on some of the key female figures in international politics, while comedian, writer and actor Robin Ince has two shows Robin Ince’s Rorschach Test (Gilded Balloon, p.158) and Pragmatic Insanity (The Stand, p.158).
From the world of film and TV, Clive Anderson hosts the live incarnation of the legendary improvisational comedy TV show Whose Line Is It Anyway? – Live at the Fringe (Assembly, p.187) featuring a rotating cast of familiar faces. Dave Johns (p.85), star of I Daniel Blake returns to his comedy roots with a show about his unexpected turn as a film star at Pleasance, and BAFTA TV award-winning actress Monica Dolan (Underbelly, p.307) has written and will perform in The B*easts, a solo show that explores how far one mum will go to give her child what she wants. Dr Who legend Sylvester McCoy performs in A Joke (SpaceUK p.347), a new comedy by Dan Freeman, while Sam Underwood (The Following, Dexter, Homeland) brings Losing Days (p.355), a story about losing his mind – and finding it again, to New Town Theatre. Annie Sertich (Silicon Valley, Shameless, 2 Broke Girls), presents How to Not Kill Yourself for 30 Days... and the Next 330 (p.60) at Pleasance, and legendary American satirist Barry Crimmins (p.64) performs at The Stand.
Famous Scots participating in the Fringe this year include Craig Ferguson, who last performed at the Fringe 24 years ago, before leaving Scotland to find fame in the US; he brings The Craig Ferguson Show (p.82) to Gilded Balloon at Rose Street Theatre. Irvine Welsh presents two new shows – Creatives (Pleasance, p.278), a darkly comic pop-opera look that examines the contemporary music industry, and Performers (Assembly, p.371), a black comedy that revolves around two gangsters auditioning for roles in a 1960s film, making its world premiere at the Fringe. From the world of sport Judy Murray (p.293) and broadcaster Hazel Irvine (p.293) take part in the New Town Theatre’s In Conversation With…series, and superstar Scottish comedian Daniel Sloss brings NOW (p.84), to Venue150 at EICC.
The Fringe continues to attract new and upcoming talent keen to develop their skills and reach new audiences. Ed Night follows in the footsteps of his father, comedian Kevin Day, with his debut Edinburgh show Anthem for Doomed Youth (Pleasance, p.91). In Mindy Raf: Keeping My Kidneys (Gilded Balloon, p.138), author and comedian Mindy Raf brings her razor-sharp storytelling style to Edinburgh for the first time, while Kwame Asante: Open Arms (p.125) and Sean Patton: Number One (p.163) make their Fringe debuts at Pleasance. Iain Connell, star and co-creator of BBC hit show Burnistoun, turns his hand to stand-up in his work in progress show Some Buzz (The Stand p.108) and in Gareth Waugh: Honestly? (Gilded Balloon, p.99), the Scottish Comedian of the Year finalist tackles fake news in his first solo show. Award-winning Australian comedian Josh Glanc examines modern notions of masculinity in Manfül (Gilded Balloon, p.121) and South African born, New Zealand-based comedian Urzila Carlson brings her First Edition (Assembly, p.184) to the Fringe. The star of BBC Radio 4's TEZ Talks makes his Fringe debut with Tez Ilyas: Testify (Pleasance, p.176), as does Piccadilly Comedian of the Year 2016 Eshaan Akbar, with Eshaan Akbar: Not for Prophet (Gilded Balloon, p.92).
Activism is a key theme at the Fringe this year as artists respond to past and present examples of people standing up and taking action to try and drive political and social change. Shon-Dale Jones bring activist theatre to the Fringe in Me and Robin Hood (Pleasance, p.136), a show about the story of money and how sharing the opportunities that we’ve been given can address the growing gap between rich and poor, with proceeds being used to support Street Child United World Cup 2018. Little Soldiers presents Derailed (Pleasance, p.322), gig theatre that uses live rock music to explore the individual experiences of different characters as they try to make a difference. In Domestic (SpaceUK, p.324), new surveillance legislation in the UK and across the world is scrutinised through a love story between an activist and the policeman sent to spy on her. Ahead of the UK centenary of women first gaining the vote, Peter Barratt recounts his great grandmother’s hard-fought campaign for suffrage in Vote 100 – Alice Hawkins – Suffragette (Arthur Conan Doyle Centre, p.299), and Woman on Fire (SpaceUK, p.403) tells the story of radical suffragette Edith Rigby. Woke (Gilded Balloon, p.403) uses original music and traditional gospel and blues to examine the 20th century African-American struggle for civil rights through the eyes of two women, living 42 years apart, and Cardboard Citizens present Cathy (Pleasance, p.315), inspired by Ken Loach's ground breaking film, Cathy Come Home, inviting audiences to join the debate on how society should be tackling social issues.
THEME: SYRIAN CONFLICT
The Syrian conflict and resulting refugee crisis have inspired several shows at the Fringe this year. Your love is Fire (Summerhall, p.405) is a play about daily life in the midst of the Syrian war, waiting in despair for things to change for the better. Borders by Henry Naylor (Gilded Balloon, p.311) focuses on the journey of a young Syrian refugee, stranded on an ageing fishing boat in the Mediterranean, that is sinking fast under the weight of her fellow passengers. Undercover Refugee (SpaceUK, p.397) brings refreshing stories from the refugee trail that challenge the image often presented by mainstream media, inspired by the cast’s experience following refugees from Lesvos beach towards Europe in 2015. The Sleeper (SpaceUK, p.385) weaves together the real testimony of Syrian refugees and the personal experience of journalist Henry C Krempels, while The Elephant, Your Majesty! (New Town Theatre, p.327) is devised by the Action for Hope Theatre Group, a theatre troupe formed of Syrian refugees based in Lebanon, inspired by the text of renowned Syrian playwright Saadallah Wannous. Elsewhere, Requiem for Aleppo (Pleasance, p.204), brings together 12 dancers from across the world, with original music inspired by a combination of Requiem Mass lyrics, Arabic poetry and the voices of people from Aleppo telling their real-life stories, with proceeds being used to support Syria Relief and Techfugees.
THEME: GLOBAL POLITICS
Many shows in the 2017 programme address the dramatic shifts that have occurred in the global political landscape. Shows tackling Brexit include Border Tales (Summerhall, p.193), which takes a satirical look at post-Brexit Britain through the eyes of a diverse, international cast. Comedy Ballot Box (Paradise, p.307) follows two unemployed actresses as they take in the final weeks of the 2016 EU Referendum televised campaign before casting their votes. In Breaking Black by Njambi McGrath (Laughing Horse, p.72), Njambi offers her take on post-Brexit Britain as a British/African woman, while Walls and Bridges (SpaceUK, p.400) uses verbatim accounts in a theatre piece that challenges notions of home and belonging. Donald Trump’s presidency and his proposed state visit to the UK are satirised in Simon Jay’s interactive farce Trumpageddon! (Gilded Balloon, p.182), Trumpus Interruptus: The Impeachment of Donald J Trump (Greenside, p.396) is set in a fictional future where Trump is in political exile following a constitutional crisis, and Kinsey Sicks: Things You Shouldn’t Say (Gilded Balloon, p.125) takes a look at the Trump administration in four-part harmony and drag. American Immigrant: Zoltan Kaszas (Just the Tonic, p.56) offers an immigrant’s view of the Trump presidency, while Hasan Minhaj (Gilded Balloon, p.106) makes his Fringe debut following his recent speech at the 2017 White House Correspondents’ Dinner, an engagement that President Trump controversially neglected to participate in.
The Fringe continues to provide a forum for perceptions of Gender to be discussed and explored. Dance Base hosts John Scott’s Lear (p.199) which sees Shakespeare’s famous protagonist portrayed by 82-year-old dance star, Valda Setterfield, and in Hope Hunt and the Ascension into Lazarus (p.199) Oona Doherty embodies the stereotype of the disadvantaged male. In You’ve Changed (Summerhall, p.405), Kate O’Donnell draws from her own journey to shine a light on the ins and outs and ups and downs of transitioning, and Sisters Grimm subvert and question perceptions of gender in Lilith: The Jungle Girl (Traverse, p.354). Courtney Act: The Girl from Oz (p.16) sees one of the stars of hit TV show RuPaul’s Drag Race bring her solo cabaret show to Underbelly’s Circus Hub on the Meadows. International drag troupe Denim make their Edinburgh debut with Denim: World Tour (Underbelly, p.87) and award-winning drag artist Gingzilla brings Late Night Lip Service (p.22) to Gilded Balloon at Rose Theatre.
THEME: DISABILITY AND HEALTH
Disability and health are key topics at this year’s Fringe, with shows exploring disability and starring disabled artists. In Assisted Suicide the Musical (Assembly, p.304) disability rights activist and actress Liz Carr explores opinions on assisted suicide, drawing on her own experiences as a campaigner and performer, while in The Shape of the Pain (Summerhall, p.383), a woman attempts to articulate her experience of physical pain and the impact it has had on her life. Blank Tiles (Assembly, p.310) is a solo show that sees a Scrabble world champion, played by Dylan Cole, attempting to document his life after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Bella Freak: Unwritten (SpaceUK, p.308) presents the poignant, but often comical, true-life stories of three disabled individuals in a show co-produced by Disability History Scotland and Bella Freak, and Jess Thom takes on Samuel Beckett’s Not I (Pleasance, p.366), a performance that explores neurodiversity and asks who is allowed to perform what, and who gets the final say. In Tom Skelton: Blind Man's Bluff (Underbelly, p.180) Tom discusses the history of blindness and his own sight loss, while Jamie MacDonald offers his thoughts on humiliating products for the blind in Jamie MacDonald: Designated Driver (Assembly, p.114) and Ray Bradshaw: Deaf Comedy Fam (Gilded Balloon, p.155), sees Ray performs his whole show in British Sign Language and English.
Fertility is explored in several shows at the Fringe this year. Dr Carnesky's Incredible Bleeding Woman (Pleasance, p.325) scrutinises issues around fertility, body shame, ancient taboo and women's activism, as some of the world’s leading cabaret performers reinvent menstrual rituals for a new era. In Eggsistentialism (Summerhall, p.326), one woman goes on a comical quest to uncover the arguments for and against reproducing her genes, while in Breakfast Plays: B!rth (Traverse, p.312), leading female playwrights from Syria, USA, India and UK question their country’s approach to birth practice and the cultural pressures that surround it. In All KIDding Aside (SpaceUK, p.301), Christel Bartelse shares her fears about becoming a mother after years of thinking she was infertile, Jenny Bede returns to the Fringe with Jenny Bede: Eggtime (Pleasance, p.116), a one-woman show featuring music, massive pants and her biological clock, and in Natalie Palamides: LAID (Pleasance, p.141), Natalie explores motherhood with absurd dilemmas, silly routines and surreal physical comedy.
The theme of friendship forms the focus of shows including Girls (Pleasance, p.334), a funny and passionate new play about the enduring friendship between three girls that are kidnapped from their homes. Flying Bridge Theatre explore the unique friendship between celebrated WWI poets Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon in Not About Heroes (Pleasance, p.365), while Jess and Joe Forever (Traverse, p.347) is a contemporary coming of age tale that explores friendship, rural life and what it means to belong. Edgar and Me (Zoo, p.326) recounts the real-life correspondence between a death row prisoner and his pen pal and the reaction their relationship provokes in other people, while in 8 Years, 5 Months, 4 Weeks, 2 Days (Gilded Balloon, p.195), Bert and Fred push the limits of their relationship to the edge with a show of daring circus tricks. Luke Wright brings his award-winning performance piece What I Learned from Johnny Bevan (p.356) to Underbelly, comedy drama Fag/Stag (Underbelly, p.329) asks what it means to have your best mate when you’re stuck being your worst self, and Cosmic Scallies (Summerhall, p.318) is a new play about class, friendship and absence by award-winning writer and comedian Jackie Hagan.
THEME: PERSONAL JOURNEYS AND IDENTITY
Personal journeys and identity are the subject of shows including An evening with an immigrant (Traverse, p.328), in which award-winning poet and playwright Inua Ellams shares his story, from escaping fundamentalist Islam in Nigeria to drinking wine with the Queen. salt. (Summerhall, p.380) recounts the journey of two artists who retraced the routes of the Transatlantic Slave Triangle – from the UK to Ghana to Jamaica and back on a cargo ship, while in Here Comes Trouble (Dance Base, p.198), Keira Martin draws on influences from Yorkshire, Ireland and Jamaica, weaving together traditional music, authentic song and gutsy choreography to tell the story of her life. In Danny O’Brien: RaconTour (Underbelly, p.84), Danny shares stories from the personal journey he began after inheriting an unreliable old motorbike, and in A1 The Long Road to Edinburgh (Laughing Horse p.60), Mark Row tells the story of the 12 month journey he embarked on after deciding, with no prior experience, to perform as a stand-up comedian at the 2017 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Oskars Amazing Adventure (Gilded Balloon, p.42) is a heart-warming, humorous play that uses storytelling, physical theatre, puppetry, music and song to tell the tale of a puppy's search for friendship. Arr We there yet – (Underbelly, p.29) is a swashbuckling pirate circus adventure for all the family, and BambinO (The Edinburgh Academy, p.29) is an operatic adventure for six to 18-month-olds and their carers, co-produced by Scottish Opera, Manchester Festival and Improbable co-production. The Tales of Peter Rabbit and Jemima Puddle-Duck (Underbelly, p.46) sees Beatrix Potter’s wonderful world brought to life by an orchestra and award-winning soprano and actress Michelle Todd. In Snigel and Friends (Dance Base, p.45), infants and their carers are invited to join Snigel the inquisitive snail in his cosy home underneath a leafy canopy, and David Walliams' The First Hippo on the Moon (Pleasance, p.33) offers an explosively funny space adventure for children of three and up, adapted for the stage by Les Petits Theatre Company.
Spoken Word at this year’s Fringe includes Sage Francis and B Dolan Present: Tricknology (p.297), who bring their revered spoken word and freestyle techniques to New Town Theatre, while former Scots Makar Liz Lochead appears with saxophonist Steve Kettley in Somethings Old, Somethings New (The Stand, p.298) and poet laureate Carole Anne Duffy performs alongside virtuoso musical collaborator John Sampson (Carol Ann Duffy and John Sampson, The Stand, p.289). In Matt Abbott: Two Little Ducks (Underbelly, p.295), Matt uses wit, storytelling and linguistic flair to present his deeply personal and political show, while in The Future of Desire (Greenside, p.291) award-winning psychologist Neil Frude considers why human desires are increasingly shaped and satisfied by advertising and technology. New Town Theatre presents an In Conversation With… series featuring actors, writers, artists, broadcasters and musicians including Val McDermid (p.293), Stuart Braithwaite (p.293), David Heyman (p.292), and John McDonnell MP (p.293), as well as Narcos – A Conversation on the Capturing of Pablo Escobar With DEA Agents Steve Murphy and Javier Pena (New Town Theatre, p.296) and from the hit Netflix series Making a Murderer – A Conversation with Defence Attorney Jerry Buting (New Town Theatre, p.294). In Stuart Maconie: Jarrow Road to the Deep South (p.298), Stuart recounts his recently completed 300 mile walk from Jarrow to London at Gilded Balloon at the Museum.
Winner of Britain’s Got Talent 2017 Tokio Myers, brings Tokio World (p.273) to The Biscuit Factory. Charlotte Church will light up the stage at Summerhall with NEHH Presents: Charlotte Church's Late Night Pop Dungeon (p.259), in a programme that also features Canada's only balkan-klezmer-gypsy-party-punk super-band Lemon Bucket Orkestra & Ben Caplan (Summerhall, p.260) and experimental electronic artist Blanck Mass (Summerhall, p.259) In Alive: Music for Night of the Living Dead (Zoo, p.230) Modern Robot presents a live musical score to accompany a new cut of George Romero’s cult film Night of the Living Dead. Concerto a Tempo d'Umore (Assembly, p.242) is a theatrical concert for the whole family featuring well-known pieces from composers including Vivaldi, Bach and Beethoven, and Misha’s Gang (p.258) sees Russian maestro Misha Rachlevsky and his 14-piece string orchestra bring their passion for classical music to theSpace @ Surgeon’s Hall, in a show designed for all ages. As part of the Made in Scotland programme, Cryptic presents XFRMR (The Leith Volcano, p.275), artist Robbie Thomson harnesses the sonic capabilities of the Tesla coil, resulting in a physical assault on the senses and in Turntable / Edinburgh (Scottish Storytelling Centre, p.396), musician MJ McCarthy invites audience members to investigate the contents of his aunt’s vinyl collection, whilst reflecting on the importance of music in their lives.
In Brexit the Musical (C venues, p.277) protagonists Boris Johnson and Michael Gove are tasked with saving the nation in a musical penned by Brexit lawyer Chris Bryant. Aria Entertainment and Flying Music present The Toxic Avenger (Pleasance, p.286), based on the 1984 cult film of the same name with a score penned by Bon Jovi keyboardist David Bryan, while Sasquatch the Opera (Summerhall, p.284) is the world premiere of an experimental opera written and composed by Faith No More’s Roddy Bottum. Andrew Kyle and Laurence T-Stannard’s One Good Soul (Greenside, p.283) is a lively musical inspired by Brecht's The Good Person of Szechwan, and King's Head Theatre and Swipe Right present girl band musical 2 Become 1 (p.286) at Gilded Balloon.
Free shows this year include Aatif Nawaz: The Last Laugh at Laughing Horse @ Newsroom (p.49) and Aaah Sure, It's the Irish Comedian of the Year! (Laughing Horse, p.49) from Steve Bennett, Irish Comedian of the Year 2016. Alex Morris – Apologies (Laughing Horse, p.54) is a one-man sketch show from the winner of the Best Writer and Best Director awards at the 2016 London Student Drama Festival. Anna Morris presents Anna Morris: Bitchelors (PBH’s Free Fringe, p.60), character comedy that sees four women compete for the Woman of the Year Award, while Alex Smith explores modern notions of masculinity in Alex Smith – Real Man (PBH’s Free Fringe, p.54). Korean children's classical music club Arisol, present Arisol: Samulnori (C venues, p.231), a free show for all the family, while at Voodoo Rooms, Chris Cook: Control (p.15) offers devilish trickery and cheeky audience interaction and The Singing Psychic Game Show (PBH’s Free Fringe, p.25) promises audience readings, songs, 70s-themed team games and prizes.
Work from 58 countries will appear at the Fringe this summer. Canada Hub @ King's Hall in association with Summerhall promises a programme of ground breaking theatre and music from Canada including the UK premiere of multi-award winning theatre piece Mouthpiece (p.362) and two shows featuring international Klezmer sensation Ben Caplan (p.234 & p.367). Summerhall hosts the Arab Arts Focus Showcase, featuring eight performances by artists from Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, Palestine and Morocco, a late-night cabaret and a host of discussions, and Start to Finnish, showcasing the best theatre from Finland includes I Am Faransis W. (p.343), a new play by award-winning Finnish playwright/director Jari Juutinen, based loosely on Büchner’s classic Woyzeck and Ramy: In the Frontline (p.377), a political performance piece featuring Ramy Essam, an activist involved in the Egyptian revolution of 2011.
India @ Edinburgh, part of the India @ UK 2017 Year of Culture, will showcase some of the best music, dance and theatre from across India on the Fringe, including The Offering (C venues, p.367), a storytelling piece from artist Aditya Roy that incorporates martial arts, theatre and music, and Elephant in the Room (Assembly p.327), an unconventional take on the legend of the beloved Hindu elephant-god, Ganesha, in a show for children and families.
Zoo hosts the Czech Season which includes Spitfire Company’s The Narrator (p.202), a dance piece about secrets and being a woman, and 420PEOPLES Wind-Up (p.209), a dynamic sextet of ferocious energy, with an original score by musician Amos Ben-Tal.
From Australasia, the Made in Adelaide showcase returns with 13 shows including award-winning, femme fatale Anya Anastasia in Anya Anastasia: Rogue Romantic (Assembly, p.12), Ukulele Death Squad (p.274) bring their high-energy Ukulele show to Leith Depot and Berlin inspired cabaret comes to Underbelly’s Med Quad in Hans: Mein Camp (p.20). NZ at Edinburgh 2017 presents nine shows from New Zealand – Break Up (We Need to Talk) (Summerhall, p.312) sees five performers create and destroy an entire relationship from scratch, while in the Modern Māori Quartet: That’s Us! (Assembly, p.258), a multi-talented Māori foursome put their spin on modern and classic numbers in the style of the Māori ‘Rat Pack’.
Asian countries are also well represented at the Fringe this year. The Taiwan Season includes Together Alone (Dance Base, p.207) a male and female dance duet that explores intimacy and the dynamics of relationships and 038 (Dance Base p.207) a piece that reflects the anxieties and uncertainties we associate with home. From Korea, Ensemble SU: The Party (Assembly, p.246) crosses international boundaries with its blend of traditional Korean and western instruments, Snap (Assembly, p.26) return with their ingenious mix of magic, mime, comedy and more, and Kokdu: The Soul Mate (Assembly, p.199), offers Korean storytelling at its very best as part of the Korean Season. Chinese shows for 2017 include China Goes Pop! (Assembly, p.193), a world class cast perform acrobatics, martial arts, physical comedy, to an all pop soundtrack and Macbeth: Fringe of Cantonese Opera (New Town Theatre, p.282), Zhuo Peili Cantonese Opera Studio’s interpretation of Macbeth in the style of a traditional Cantonese opera.
BRITISH COUNCIL SHOWCASE
The British Council Showcase returns for 2017 featuring some of the UK’s most exciting theatre and dance companies. The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk (Traverse, p.331) is a visually rich theatre piece from Kneehigh with Bristol Old Vic, directed by Emma Rice and inspired by the Russian artist Marc Chagall, Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag (Underbelly, p.331) returns to the stage following its successful conversion to a hot BBC TV series, and Nocturnes (Zoo, p.364) is Imitating the Dog’s multimedia twist on a 50s spy thriller that asks questions about truth, control and free will. In the dance programme Julie Cunningham combines precise dance and incendiary spoken word in To Be Me (Dance Base, p.207), a show about gender and identity, sound tracked by the music of hip-hop and spoken word artist Kate Tempest, while in Sexbox (The Leith Volcano, p.205), Impermanence Dance Theatre examines sex through the eyes and ears of electronic dance music pioneer Ursula Bogner.
MADE IN SCOTLAND
Twenty-four shows make up this year’s Made in Scotland programme, a curated showcase of music, theatre and dance, made and produced in Scotland and performed during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. A partnership between the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, the Federation of Scottish Theatre, the Scottish Music Centre and Creative Scotland, Made in Scotland highlights the wealth and diversity of work being created in Scotland. The theatre programme includes Stand By (Army @ The Fringe in Association with Summerhall, p.387) a play that lays bare the challenges of serving in the modern day police force, and Letters to Morrissey (Traverse, p.353), a new piece from playwright Gary McNair, inspired by the discovery of lost letters he had written to the singer when he was 11 years old.
On the dance front, Process Day (Zoo, p.204) combines cutting-edge choreography and club culture, and TuTuMucky (Zoo, p.208) explores how we’re shaped by the world around us. As a part of the music programme, pioneers of the contemporary Scottish music scene take to the stage for NEHH & MiS Present: Withered Hand, Iklan, Savage Mansion (Summerhall, p.259) and composer/pianist Donald Shaw leads a group of Scotland’s finest musicians in Scotland’s Wild Heart (The Queen’s Hall, p.269), performing a live soundtrack to clips from the Maramedia/BBC nature film.
BBC AT THE FRINGE
The BBC’s Festival Hub returns to the grounds of George Heriot’s School for 2017 with a programme of daily live performances across radio, TV and online, capturing the festival’s most exciting new talent, biggest names, hidden gems and Fringe stories. From BBC Radio 2 Steve Wright in the Afternoon (p.66) and The Michael Ball Show (p.67) are both set to broadcast live from Edinburgh. The semi-finals and final of the BBC New Comedy Award (p.65) will once again take place during the Fringe alongside special editions of BBC Radio 4 favourites Loose Ends, Front Row, and Just a Minute (p.66). The Janice Forsyth Show (p.66) will bring up-to-date coverage, highlights and top interviews to BBC Radio Scotland throughout the Fringe.
The Fringe Society’s Participant Centre, Fringe Central, returns to Appleton Tower on the corner of Windmill and Chapel Streets this year. The Fringe Society’s Arts Industry Office and Media Office will both be based at Fringe Central, providing practical resources and facilities for participants and assistance for members of the press. Fringe Central will once again offer a unique programme of 119 professional and career development events, designed to improve knowledge and skills and address topical issues in the arts, that are free for Fringe participants to attend, addressing topical issues in the arts.
The Fringe Society works continuously to improve the accessibility of our Box Offices and supports Fringe venues to be as inclusive as possible. The Fringe Box Office has designated staff in place to assist anyone with an access requirement to navigate the programme and make the most of what the Fringe has to offer. This year the Fringe Society is piloting a Venue Access Award, developed in partnership with the charity Attitude is Everything, providing venue managers with a minimum standard of accessibility to aim for and offering different levels of achievement. A mobile changing place for Fringe audiences will also be available this year, courtesy of disability charity PAMIS. This is a Mobiloo, the world's first attended, mobile toilet and changing facility for disabled people. The Mobiloo will be staffed by PAMIS volunteers, and parked next to Fringe Central, on Windmill Street, open daily during the Fringe from 10:00 – 22:00.
From 07 June tickets will be available for purchase and collection from the Fringe Box Office, 180 High Street, Edinburgh EH1 1QS. Tickets and can be collected from the University Visitor Centre, 2 Charles Street, Edinburgh EH8 9AD from 07 June and purchased from 31 July onwards. This year there will be a ticket collection point at Waverley Station, in partnership with Virgin Trains, where tickets can be collected from 31 July. From 31 July, there will be a collection point in Domestic Arrivals at Edinburgh Airport and for the first time, there will also be a collection point in International Arrivals. There are over 20 collection points throughout the city open during the Fringe. For a list, and for more information please go to edfringe.com.
VIRGIN MONEY STREET EVENTS
The Royal Mile and The Mound will once again be vibrant focal points where street entertainers and buskers perform, and Fringe groups perform extracts of their shows thanks to the support of Virgin Money. Over 250 shows will take place between the two locations every day between 11:00 and 21:00, providing a carnival atmosphere in the streets of the festival city. In 2016 there were 7,079 performances by 1,191 groups over 23 performance spaces. Performers already confirmed for this year include new acts Vinyl Burns Rock'N'Roll Circus, a high-energy, rock music inspired street show from New Zealand and Spaghetti Soundtrack featuring Italian classical guitarists Valerio and Giorgio, who play popular music from films, video games and cartoons.
Fringe facts 2017
- Total shows: 3,398 (up 3.9%)
- Total venues: 300 (up 2%)
- Performances: 53,232 (up 5.9%)
- Countries represented: 62 (up 29%)
- International countries: 58 (up 32%)
- Cabaret and Variety makes up 4% (compared to 4% last year)
- Children’s Shows make up 4% (compared to 5% last year)
- Comedy makes up 35% (compared to 34% last year)
- Dance, Circus and Physical Theatre makes up 4% (compared to 3% last year)
- Events make up 3% (compared to 4% last year)
- Exhibitions make up 1% (compared to 1% last year)
- Music makes up 14% (compared to 15% last year)
- Musicals and Opera makes up 3% (compared to 4% last year)
- Spoken Word makes up 3% (compared to 3% last year)
- Theatre makes up 28% (compared to 27% last year)
There are 686 (up 6.7%) free shows, 215 (up 31%) pay what you want shows, 1,683 (down 2.8%) premieres and 62 (up 29%) different countries represented.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
The 2017 Edinburgh Festival Fringe will run from 04 – 28 August.
If you require a full list of shows related to the themes mentioned in this media release, or are interested in other themes or feature ideas, please contact the Fringe Media Office.
[email protected] / +44 (0)131 240 1919
The Fringe Media Office @ Fringe Central will be open from 31 July – 28 August from 10.00 – 20.00 BST daily (please note we will close at 18.00 BST on 27 and 28 August).
edfringe.com +44 (0)131 226 0000
Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits Scotland. Creative Scotland enables people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life. Creative Scotland distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery. For further information about Creative Scotland please visit creativescotland.com / @creativescots / facebook.com/CreativeScotland
EventScotland is working to make Scotland the perfect stage for events. By developing an exciting portfolio of sporting and cultural events EventScotland is helping to raise Scotland’s international profile and boost the economy by attracting more visitors. For further information about EventScotland, its funding programmes and latest event news visit EventScotland.org. Follow EventScotland on Twitter @EventScotNews.
EventScotland is a team within VisitScotland’s Events Directorate, the national tourism organisation which markets Scotland as a tourism destination across the world, gives support to the tourism industry and brings sustainable tourism growth to Scotland. For more information about VisitScotland see www.visitscotland.org or for consumer information on Scotland as a visitor destination see www.visitscotland.com.
2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology
- 2017 is the year to delve into the past and discover Scotland’s fascinating stories through a wide-ranging variety of new and existing activity to drive the nation’s tourism and events sector, boosting tourism across Scotland.
- The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology begins on 01 January 2017 and will end on 31 December 2017. It will build on the momentum generated by previous themed years in Scotland including the 2015 Year of Food and Drink, Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.
- The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Creative Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Built Environment Forum Scotland, Heritage Lottery Fund, Museums Galleries Scotland and Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland.
- The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is supported by £570,000 of Scottish Government funding.
- The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology events fund is managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.
- For more information visit visitscotland.com/HHA2017 or join the conversation at #HHA2017