08 June 2016

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe returns for what promises to be another fantastic edition of the most renowned open access arts festival in the world. All ages and appetites are catered for in a programme that includes theatre, dance, circus, physical theatre, comedy, music, musicals, opera, cabaret and variety, children’s shows, free shows, exhibitions, events and spoken word.

2016 will see 50,266 performances of 3,269 shows from 48 countries in 294 venues across Edinburgh.

Shona McCarthy, Chief Executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society said:

“It is an honour to be launching the 2016 Edinburgh Festival Fringe Programme.

“The breadth and diversity of talent that comes to the Fringe is unparalleled, and this year is no exception. At its core the Fringe is an open access festival, which welcomes anyone with a story to tell, and for that reason, amateur and professional artists from around the world continue year after year to come here to share their stories, hone their skills, create new opportunities for themselves and their work, and celebrate the joy of live performance.

“The diversity of the Fringe’s participants is echoed in its audiences and there really is something for everyone at the Fringe, whether you enjoy puppet shows or comedians, astonishing street artists or dazzling cabaret acts, ground-breaking international theatre or underground musical sensations, the Fringe will surpass your expectations over and over again.

“With less than two months to go, I am looking forward to welcoming participants and audiences to Edinburgh in August for another fantastic Edinburgh Festival Fringe.”

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs said:

“The Edinburgh Festival Fringe offers another exciting, wonderfully varied programme for 2016. Remaining the largest Fringe festival in the world, it attracts thousands of visitors from home and abroad every year and is a fantastic opportunity to show what Scotland has to offer to the rest of the world.

“The Scottish Government is proud to support the Fringe ‘Made in Scotland’ showcase, via the Expo Fund, which provides a valuable platform for the best of Scotland’s performers and companies, raising Scotland’s cultural profile to an international audience. The Fringe facilitates one of the most significant international arts market places, providing a stage for Scottish, UK and international artists to meet with and catch the attention of arts industry attendees who can help them take the next step in their careers.”

Richard Lewis, the City of Edinburgh Council’s Festivals and Events Champion said:

“The Edinburgh Festival Fringe continues to go from strength to strength and the 2016 programme is a testament to the continued popularity of the festival as a place that performers from all over the world flock to showcase new work and meet new audiences.

“Edinburgh is world renowned for its festivals and we are always looking for ways to develop and ensure that visitors and locals continue to have the best experience possible when attending these truly international events. I am very much looking forward to the 2016 Fringe and all it has to offer.”

Janet Archer, Chief Executive of Creative Scotland said:

“The Edinburgh Festival Fringe gives artists and audiences from across the world the chance to come together to share stories and human understanding through a celebration of all that is great about the arts. For Scottish artists, the Fringe provides a crucial opportunity to develop new local and international audiences, meet with arts industry professionals and take inspiration from the wealth of international talent that visits Edinburgh each year.”

This year the Fringe Society has unveiled a new strategic partnership with Skyscanner.

Gareth Williams, CEO of Skyscanner said:

“We are delighted to be working in partnership with the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2016. Skyscanner’s mission is to help people find great travel options at the best prices possible.  With artists and audiences attending the Fringe from all over the world, Skyscanner is a perfect match, helping travellers to plan their trip and get the best deal out there.”


In 2016 new venues include some of Edinburgh’s best known landmarks, unusual venues and popular pubs. Gilded Balloon partners with the National Museum of Scotland for the first time. The Museum has won numerous awards since the completion of extensive redevelopment work in 2011 and will play host to a mix of comedy, theatre and children’s shows. C venues open C scala at St Stephen’s Church in Stockbridge, creating four performance spaces including a 450 capacity theatre in the gorgeous Grade-A Georgian listed building. Merchant’s Hall is home to a new partnership between Scottish spirit producers Arbikie Highland Estate and local catering company Mackenzies Catering, offering sit-down meals accompanied by an eclectic range of musical acts including jazz, soul, hip hop, classical, pop and folk, and Assembly Rooms will this year play host to the inaugural Edinburgh Digital Entertainment Festival, a celebration of the intersection of new technology and arts entertainment, offering audiences the chance to experience enhanced performance, storytelling and film through VR, games, digital theatre, event cinema and live to digital events and performances.

Site-specific theatre this year includes Still Here (p.362), a unique, tent-based production exploring the lives of those living in refugee camps, taking place at Zoo at St Mary’s South Lawn in the shadow of the magnificent 19th Century Gothic Cathedral. Java Dance Theatre returns to the Fringe with Back of the Bus (p.180), set on a double decker bus that will wind its way through the streets of Edinburgh during the performance, Wrecked (p.376) takes place in a crashed car, parked outside George Square Gardens, while Ruby Rouge Hairdressers on Clerk Street is the setting for comedy drama Foiled (p.90).

Several Edinburgh hostelries will make their debuts as venues this year. The recently opened Leith Depot will host music and theatre shows in a dedicated upstairs performance space. Heroes @ Dragonfly will see the popular Dragonfly cocktail bar in Edinburgh’s West Port transformed into a comedy venue, operating the same pay-what-you-want model favoured by Heroes’ other venues. PBH’s Free Fringe will host shows in three new Cowgate venues, Latin American bar and club Sabor, beer and burger joint T-Bar, and live music venue Stramash. The Jinglin’ Geordie, named after the famous Scottish goldsmith and philanthropist George Heriot, returns as Pleasance Pop-Up: The Pub, a performance space for Not Too Tame’s immersive theatre piece Early Doors (p.303), and George Heriot’s School – founded by Jinglin’ Geordie in 1628, is the new home of the BBC this year.

If you are looking to escape the city centre, new and familiar venues can be found in the south of the city. In addition to its permanent spaces, Summerhall will host Aurora Nova productions at Summerhall @ The King’s Hall and the popular pop-up venue Roundabout @ Summerhall also returns. Zoo Southside features one of the largest stages on the Fringe as well as intimate cabaret bar and studio, The Queen’s Hall is home to a programme of concerts featuring some of the top names from Scotland’s folk and traditional music scene, while C venues – C south offers a varied programme of theatre and family-friendly shows in and around the grounds of St Peter’s church. Laughing Horse offers a mix of music, comedy and theatre shows at two revamped and renamed venues, Laughing Horse @ Southside Social and Laughing Horse @ Crags Bar.


Leading dance companies from around the world bring their shows to the Fringe this year. In NuShu (Dance Base, p.190), Taiwan’s Water Reflection Dance Ensemble explore a secret coded script, once used exclusively by women living in China’s Hunan province to record their private thoughts and feelings. Following a limited run in 2015, Lithuania’s Arts Printing House return with Contemporary? (Zoo, p.182), their lovingly crafted, highly skilled parody of contemporary dance. World-renowned cabaret performer, Empress Stah leads an all-star international cabaret and circus cast for The Raunch (p.23), promising a ‘whip-cracking, high-flying, all-twerking, rodeo-rocking night out’ in Underbelly’s Circus Hub. Ockham’s Razor follow up their 2015 Fringe debut with their powerful new show Tipping Point (C venues, p.187), and rising stars of the dance world, Éowyn Emerald & Dancers (p.184), return to the Fringe following their acclaimed 2014 run with a new programme at Greenside, showcasing Éowyn’s dazzling dancers and her stunning choreographic vision.


Familiar names from the world of comedy return to the Fringe in 2016. Rory Bremner (p.153) will host seven performances at the National Museum of Scotland (Gilded Balloon) featuring hand-picked, special guests for a mix of stand-up sets and conversation. Limmy (p.121) brings a selection of tales from his Sunday Times bestselling book Daft Wee Stories to Venue 150 at EICC. Elsewhere, Omid Djalili (Pleasance, p.140), Katy Brand (Pleasance, p.115), David O’Doherty (Assembly, p.82), Shappi Khorsandi (The Stand, p.158), Phil Kay (Heroes @ Bob’s Blundabus, p.145), Lucy Porter (Pleasance, p.124) and Stewart Lee (The Stand, p.165) return to Edinburgh with new material. Impressionist Alistair McGowan (Gilded Balloon, p.54) celebrates his 12th consecutive year at the Fringe, while Angus Deayton, Helen Atkinson Wood, Michael Fenton Stevens and Philip Pope reunite to bring classic scripts from award-winning BBC Radio 4 show Radio Active (Pleasance, p.148) back to the show’s original birthplace. Richard Wilson (p.103) revives one of the UK’s best-loved TV characters, One Foot in the Grave’s cantankerous protagonist Victor Meldrew, for a special one man show at Assembly, and from the USA, actress and comedian Mary Lynn Rajskub, best known for playing Chloe O’Brian in Fox network’s 24, makes her Fringe debut with her reflective stand-up show 24 hours with Mary Lynn Rajskub (Assembly, p.172).

Colin Hay, solo artist and former lead singer of Grammy Award winning band Men at Work brings a group of international musicians together for his show Get Rid of the Minstrel (Gilded Balloon, p.75), a mix of music and storytelling documenting his adventures from the bracing shores of Saltcoats to the beaches of Australia and Los Angeles. International singing sensation Camille O’Sullivan debuts a brand new show featuring the music of Radiohead, Nick Cave and David Bowie (Underbelly, p.223), and Hollywood actress Annette O’Toole treads the boards in Hamlet in Bed (Pleasance, p.316), a noir downtown thriller centred around one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays, coming to Edinburgh direct from its off-Broadway season in New York.


The Fringe continues to provide a platform for emerging talent to develop their craft and reach new audiences. Sophie Willan: On Record (Pleasance, p.162) is the highly anticipated debut stand-up show from the winner of the Magners New Comedy Act award 2015. Other acts to watch out for this year include Nazeem Hussain: Legally Brown (Assembly, p.134), Peter White: Straight White Male (Just the Tonic, p.144), Masud Milas: Routes (Underbelly, p.128), and Susie McCabe: There is More to Life Than Happiness (The Stand, p.167).


In a year of widespread celebrations to mark the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death, The Bard’s legacy is very much alive at the Fringe. C venues celebrate a Shakespeare related anniversary of their own as Shakespeare for Breakfast (p.356) returns to Edinburgh for its 25th year. Big in Belgium present MacBain (Summerhall, p.334), a re-imaging of Macbeth centred around the relationship between grunge musicians Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love, a black comedy about unbridled ambition, hunger for power and an addiction to intoxication and ecstasy. In Macbeth: Without Words (Zoo, p.335), Edinburgh’s Ludens Ensemble present a highly stylised interpretation of The Scottish Play, transforming Shakespeare's language into visual imagery and a darkly brooding sound world. Fringe regulars the Reduced Shakespeare Company bring William Shakespeare’s Long Lost First Play (abridged) (p.375) to Pleasance Courtyard, Cheeky Productions imagine what Shakespeare would be like if he was living and working today in Shakespeare Tonight (Paradise Green, p.357), and Shakespeare Syndrome (Greenside, p.357) explores what happens when several of the playwright’s most beloved characters end up at the same psychiatrist’s office. Edinburgh Digital Entertainment Festival (Assembly Rooms) will also present digital theatre screenings of past National Theatre productions of Hamlet (p.203) and Coriolanus (p.202) and previous RSC productions of Henry V (p.206) and Othello (p.207).


Many shows this year focus on the theme of love and relationships. The Blind Date Project (Zoo, p.67) is a completely improvised piece of comedy theatre, where a woman (actress Bojana Novakovic) waits in a karaoke bar for her date, played by a different performer every night, whose identity is unknown to her until the performance starts. Dating is also the subject of The Tinder Game (C venues, p.368), a play inspired by real Tinder app conversations and interviews with Tinder users, that blurs the boundaries between fact and fiction and the virtual and real spaces that we inhabit. Monogamy is placed under the comedian’s microscope in Ellie Taylor: Infidelliety (p.86) at Just the Tonic at the Tron. In May-We-Go-Round? (Dance Base, p.186), The Hiccup Project use dance and comedic theatre to explore love, lust and romantic clichés, and Bullet Heart Club theatre company present Daffodils (A Play With Songs) (p.298) at the Traverse, a Kiwi love story inspired by true events, played out to a live mixtape of New Zealand’s most iconic songs. Looking at the darker side of relationships, Blush (Underbelly, p.290) is a new play from playwright Charlotte Josephine that takes a candid look at the topical issue of revenge porn, telling the stories of five victims left struggling and shamed by the actions of others.


Uncertainty about the future and the impact of increasingly sophisticated technology on our lives are also major themes in 2016. As part of The Stand’s Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas series, Napier University Professor Bill Buchanan considers the potentially catastrophic impact of cyber-attacks in Is the Cyber Armageddon Coming? (The Stand, p.278). Traverse presents Breakfast Plays: Tech Will Tear Us Apart (?) (p.291), a series of four plays examining the increasingly complex ways in which technology has permeated our lives, offering a fresh perspective on the potential future of human-machine relations. Big in Belgium presents World Without Us (Summerhall, p.376), a theatre piece that contemplates a world where the human race no longer exists, while Fourth Monkey present a series of plays entitled Genesis and Revelation including apocalyptic late night two-parter Ascension Part 1 and Ascension Part 2 (SpaceUK, p.310). Circus Oz stars Rockie Stone and Vincent van Berkel bring their eco-apocalyptic circus show Perhaps Hope (p.188) to Underbelly’s Circus Hub, and Kai Fischer, in association with National Theatre of Scotland, presents Last Dream (On Earth) (Assembly, p.331), a multimedia performance that explores journeys beyond the imaginable and quests to find a better future in faraway places.


War is also a prominent theme in 2016. In the centenary year of the Battle of the Somme, Incognito theatre revives Erich Maria Remarque's classic tale that exposes the mental and physical strain of trench warfare, All Quiet on the Western Front (Pleasance, p.284). In Bully Boy (Spotlites, p.292), a Major is sent to the Middle East to investigate allegations of severe misconduct in a British army regiment. Scorched (Zoo, p.355), tells the story of a decorated World War Two veteran, dragged back to his past as he battles with dementia. Actor Derek Crawford Munn takes on the role of Rudolf Hess in Michael Burrell’s one man play Hess (Gilded Balloon, p.319), imagining what Hitler’s deputy might have to say about himself, the Third Reich, and the world we have created since the downfall of the Nazis. Airlock Theatre’s Kursk (Bedlam, p.329) examines the dilemma of a covert British vessel’s crew, who must decide whether to disobey orders to help the survivors of the Russian submarine disaster that shocked the world in 2000, while Immortal (Greenside, p.322) tells the story of five young air bombers, trapped behind enemy lines in 1944. In Swivelhead (Pleasance, p.364), Pipeline Theatre Company explores the ethical and personal consequences of drone warfare in a piece based on research and testimony from ex-RAF and Drone pilots and ex-soldiers dealing with PTSD. Agent of Influence: The Secret Life of Pamela More (Underbelly, p.283) is a one-woman-show from theatre maker Sarah Sigal, following the trials and tribulations of socialite and MI5 spy Lady Pamela More.


Modern notions of masculinity are increasingly in the spotlight and have proved a popular theme for this year. F*cking Men (Assembly, p.312) lays bare the love lives of ten men as they navigate relationships, infidelity and heartbreak. 5 Out of 10 men… (SpaceUK, p.309) is rooted in true experience and inspired by a verbatim text, following a wounded man as he weaves a confessional hymn to his dead brother, torn between the man he is and a man he strives to be. At Summerhall, Show And Tell present Tell Me Anything (p.365), a new autobiographical work from performer David Ralfe, a piece that explores responsibility, masculinity and intimacy, while Rash Dash presents Two Man Show (p.371), two women playing men in a show about gender and language that also features music and dance. Danish dance company Don Gnu’s M.I.S. – All Night Long (Dance Base, p.186) mixes slapstick comedy and physical theatre, following the stories of three men trying to come to terms with being themselves, while Macho Like Me (Gilded Balloon, p.125) is a solo show from writer Helie Lee, documenting her real life attempt to live as a man for six months. Elsewhere, in Zoë Coombs Marr: Trigger Warning (Underbelly, p.179), sexist, beer swilling comedian Dave is back and has turned over a new leaf studying serious clowning at the Gaulier school.


Female experience is also a popular theme this year. In Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again. (Traverse, p.353) playwright Alice Birch examines the language, behaviour and forces that shape women in the 21st century. Women’s magazine Standard Issue hosts In Conversation With Standard Issue (The Stand, p.104) and Standard Issue Stands Up (The Stand, p.163), two events featuring conversations between women from the world of comedy and media, and stand-up sets from some of the finest female comedians. 82-year-old cabaret star D’yan Forest makes her Fringe debut with A Broad Abroad! (Greenside, p.11) an hour of pithy songs, witty stand-up, racy tales, yodelling, ukulele and piano-playing, recounting eight decades of music, madness and foreign affairs. In How We Lost It (Paradise Green, p.185), Cheap Date Dance Company combine dance, comedy and physical theatre for a coming-of-age story about youth, love, sex and growing up, while Buzz: A New Musical (Greenside, p.292) tells the story of a woman who is unsure how to take control of her sexuality. Broken Fanny (SpaceUK, p.291) is a one-woman comedy theatre piece about becoming a mother for the first time, and in Wendy Wason: Tiny Me (Gilded Balloon, p.176), Wendy considers what it means to be a modern woman.


Many shows explore political themes in 2016, a year that has the potential for significant political change with the forthcoming referendum on EU membership in the UK and presidential elections in the USA. Knowing EU (SpaceUK, p.278) takes a humorous look at the facts and foibles, the successes and failures, the good, the bad and the ugly of the European Union. Closer to home Faslane (Summerhall, p.307) explores what happens when the personal and political collide against the backdrop of the UK’s nuclear missile programme, Trident, while And Now… (Zoo, p.180) uses dance to reflect on how Scotland has changed two years on from the Scottish independence referendum of 2014. In Panti: High Heels in Low Places (Traverse, p.141), drag queen Panti Bliss shares the story of her remarkable journey from small-town boy to accidental activist. Bourgeois and Maurice: How to Save the World Without Really Trying (Underbelly, p.68) uses music and cabaret to tackle the complex issues of today’s geo-political climate, while in Mark Thomas: The Red Shed (Traverse, p.337), the popular comic and activist revisits the Wakefield Labour Club where he performed his first show and experienced a political coming of age. Comedian’s bringing politics to the fore this year include Andrew Maxwell (Assembly, p.56), Nish Kumar: Actions Speak Louder Than Words, Unless You Shout the Words Real Loud (Pleasance, p.138), and Shazia Mirza (The Stand, p.159).


In 2016 a number of shows explore human behaviour and consider why people lie. At Paines Plough’s Roundabout Katie Bonna gives an (unofficial) TED talk on the science of lying, confronting humanity’s obsession with fibs in All the Things I Lied About (Summerhall, p.284), while in Scorch (Summerhall, p.355), award-winning Irish playwright Stacey Gregg tells the story of a teenage girl struggling with her gender identity, who explores her sexuality by posing as a boy, with devastating results. In Bittersweet Little Lies (Just the Tonic, p.67), Adam Rowe recalls a small fabrication that massively impacted his life; a lie he told his father about his mother when he was ten, which consequently led to their separation and later divorce. Comedian Sarah Kendall tells a tale of lies, stalkers, buried truths, false accusations, simmering tensions and overpriced sausages in Sarah Kendall: Shaken (Assembly, p.156). Lies. All Lies (Laughing Horse @ Bar 50, p.331) weaves separate pieces of writing together to create a theatre piece that explores denial and deceit, while DugOut Theatre examine how lies become stories and stories become legend in theatrical comedy Swansong (Pleasance, p.363).


We welcome the UK Poet Laureate and her musical collaborator back to the Fringe for a mix of poetry and music from Carol Ann Duffy and John Sampson (The Stand, p.275). Former Makar (National Poet for Scotland) Liz Lochhead and saxophonist Steve Kettley bring A Show of Two Halves (Somethings Old, Somethings New) (p.281) to the Acoustic Music Centre at St Bride’s. Elsewhere American musician, spoken word artist and Hollywood actor Henry Rollins brings Henry Rollins - Charmingly Obstinate (p.277) to Assembly George Square Gardens for four shows, UK punk poet and musician John Bain reflects on his career in Attila the Stockbroker Presents His Autobiography: Arguments Yard (PBH’s Free Fringe/Silk, p.274), and in Steve Richards Presents Rock 'n' Roll Politics (Gilded Balloon, p.281), the broadcaster and columnist examines the highly charged world of contemporary politics.


Some of the most interesting and innovative names in music descend on the Fringe this summer. Summerhall’s Nothing Ever Happens Here programme includes performances from Eska (p.244), Kathryn Joseph (p.244) and post-dub step artists Mount Kimbie (p.244). The Queen’s Hall hosts concerts from big names in folk, Celtic and traditional music including Capercaillie (p.223), The Peatbog Faeries (p.248) and King Creosote (p.238). A Capella acts performing this year include All the King’s Men: The 11 Tour (C venues, p.215) and The Techtonics: Don't Push the Button (SpaceUK, p.257), while record-breaking beatboxer Shlomo brings his latest solo show Shlomo: #NewRules (p.254) to Underbelly. Local up and coming musician Blue Rose Code (p.220) teams up with contemporary folk stars Ross Ainslie, Jarlath Henderson and Angus Lyon for a one off show at the Acoustic Music Centre at St Bride’s, and Sven Ratzke brings his David Bowie inspired cabaret music show Starman (Assembly, p.24) to Edinburgh for the first time.


The musicals section of this year’s programme contains a mix of new shows and old favourites. A musical about the life of business tycoon and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, Carnegie – The Star Spangled Scotchman (p.261), celebrates its world premiere at Edinburgh Elim. Assassins (Paradise Green, p.260), written by Stephen Sondheim, weaves together the stories of nine successful and unsuccessful US presidential assassins, while in Adam & Eve and Steve (C venues, p.260) the devil adds an additional character to the famous biblical story, resulting in mischief and mayhem. In The Ivor Novello Story (The Brunton, p.265), the Welsh composer’s story and songs are brought to life by an actor, two singers and a pianist, while 9 to 5 (Assembly, p.268) brings the music of Dolly Parton to the stage in a production of the show that was inspired by the cult 80s movie. The Church Hill Theatre once again hosts shows for the American High School Theatre Festival, including productions of The Addams Family (p.260), Little Shop of Horrors (p.266) and Into the Woods (p.265), while Viva Arts and Community Group bring Made in Dagenham the Musical (p.267) to Greenside.


Poggle (Dance Base, p.41) is a funny, sensory dance theatre show with live music and an invitation to discover hidden secrets within the set. Puzzle (Zoo, p.41) explores how the world looks to a small child through vibrant costumes and colourful scenery with music and choreography developed especially for babies. Bedtime Stories (Underbelly, p.28) gives families a chance to unwind together in a bedroom installation and enjoy circus, theatre, dance and projections from circus pioneers Upswing. Legends come to life in Michael Morpurgo’s King Arthur (Gilded Balloon, p.38), a tale of magic, heroism, love and betrayal adapted from the novel Arthur: High King of Britain. In the latest work from performance poet Dominic Berry, Aaaaaaaaaaaaagh! Dinosaurs! (PBH’s Free Fringe/Hispaniola, p.26), a young troll girl finds herself defending the town from a gang of destructive, deadly dinosaurs. A French-speaking rabbit is the star of the show in bilingual children’s theatre piece The Wonderful World of Lappin (The Brunton, p.46) while Cirrus the dog tries to keep track of his troublesome flock of sheep in Head in the Clouds (Royal Botanic Garden, p.34).


Stand-up comic Damian Kingsley is attempting to travel from Land’s End to Edinburgh with no money, on a 120 gig tour to raise funds for the homeless charity Shelter. While in Edinburgh he’ll perform his show Knock Knock (p.117) at Laughing Horse @ Bar 50. Caspar Thomas: Magic and Mentalism (PBH’s Free Fringe/La Belle Angèle, p.11) presents an hour of close up, interactive, before-your-very-eyes sleight of hand magic. Ashley Storrie returns to the Fringe with tales of sex, drugs and Star Trek in Ashley Storrie and Other Erotica (Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters, p.59) and Aatif Nawaz brings Aatif Nawaz: Aatificial Intelligence (p.48) to Laughing Horse @ The Newsroom. A programme of Free Fringe Music (p.232) will run at the National Museum of Scotland featuring some of the best classical and traditional talents from around the UK, while Afternoon Concerts at Three Thirty (p.214) features fourteen free concerts given by musicians from Estonia, Finland, Luxemburg, Poland, and the UK, all in the beautiful surrounds of St. Michael’s and All Saints. Elsewhere, Audible Presents (Pleasance, p.59) delivers a series of free live performances and special guest appearances, celebrating the best of spoken word comedy.


International work from 43 countries will travel to Edinburgh to take part in the Fringe this summer. Made in Adelaide showcases nine shows from South Australia including circus ensemble Gravity and Other Myths’ A Simple Space (Underbelly, p.189), a daring show featuring seven of Australia’s finest young acrobats, Gobsmacked Theatre Company’s Dropped (Pleasance, p.303) explores the fragile emotional state of two stranded female soldiers, trying to stay calm while they await rescue, and rising cabaret star Anya Anastasia brings her award-winning show Torte e Mort: Songs of Cake and Death (p.25) to Assembly George Square Theatre.

From South Korea, Binari (p.181) combines Halmi (Korean mask play) with Korean shamanism, breaking the boundaries of tradition with a form of shamanic exorcism known as gut, and Tago: Korean Drum II (p.190) mixes traditional instruments varying from gigantic drums to small percussion with a hint of martial arts for a powerful performance as part of Assembly’s Korean Season. C venues also plays hosts to a number of Korean shows including Our Man (p.346), a theatre piece that uses Korean folk songs and comedy to tell the story of two elderly ladies that journey to Scotland in search of their estranged husband, and The Tiniest Frog Prince in the World (p.46) which uses puppetry and physical theatre in a re-imagining of a classic Brothers Grimm fairy tale for all the family.

Café Palestine (Pleasance, p.11) will see performers from Aida refugee camp, Bethlehem, take to the stage with Fringe favourites and surprise guests for a unique review show. The Rooster and Partial Memory (Dance Base, p.189) is a double bill featuring a collaboration between Palestinian and Lebanese dance companies based on Palestinian dabke folk dance, conveying the socio-political experience of the region through the character of Al-Deek (The Rooster), and a dance solo that reveals memories of childhood in occupied Palestine.

Taiwan also brings a variety of shows to this year’s Fringe. A man tries to utilise artificial intelligence to reconstruct his deceased lover in Tsai Pao-Chang’s multimedia solo piece Solo Date (Assembly, p.364). The Adventure of Puppets (Summerhall, p.45) encourages children (and adults) to let their imaginations run wild as a series of everyday objects are transformed into colourful characters, and Resident Island Dance Theatre present Lost in Grey (Dance Base, p.190), a hard-hitting and intensely human reflection of mental health disorders in Taiwan and beyond using dynamic movement, multimedia projection and an experimental rock soundtrack.

Comedian Mike Ward is among 31 Canadian shows, a controversial star in Canada already, he makes his Fringe debut with Mike Ward: Freedom of Speech Isn't Free (Gilded Balloon, p.132), four of Canada’s best-known poets come together at the Fringe for the first time in The Shaken and the Stirred (Scottish Arts Club, p.281) and Canada’s Celtic music ambassadors The Barra MacNeils (p.219) perform at The Queen’s Hall.

Top European performers also bring their shows to the Fringe this year. Institut français d'Ecosse hosts shows from around Europe in the sixth edition of their Vive Le Fringe! series including Chiffonnade (p.29) from French dance company Carré Blanc Cie, The Story of Mr B. (p.45) from Berlin based company Shake Shake Theatre and The Other (p.346) from French Brazilian performer Gael Le Cornec. Finland’s Start to Finnish showcase returns with three shows including ACE Production’s The Chicken Trial (Pleasance, p.294), a political comedy inspired by the 2008 trial of art student Makode Linde, prosecuted for bringing a magician’s hat full of chickens to an animal-themed art event at a nightclub. Elsewhere Italian guitarist Luca Villani brings Guitar Homages (p.234) to Valvona and Crolla, and Catalan based theatre company Atresbandes present their striking new theatre piece All In (Summerhall, p.284).


18 companies and artists will take part in 19 shows for 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 Expensive Shit (Traverse, p.307), a new play from Adura Onashile, that tells the story of a nightclub toilet attendant in a fictional club based on the Shimmy Club in Glasgow. Her conflicted journey is spliced with flashbacks to the toilets of the Shrine nightclub in Lagos, Nigeria, where her younger self dreamed of revolution. Cora Bissett and David Greig’s song-filled Scottish drama Glasgow Girls (Assembly, p.314) is based on the true story of seven teenagers, whose lives change forever when their school friend and her asylum-seeking family are forcibly taken from their home to be deported. On the dance front, Barrowland Ballet presents Whiteout (Zoo, p.193), a dance theatre piece that gives resonance to the complexities of bi-racial relationships, and as a part of the music programme Anatomy of the Piano (for Beginners) (Scottish Storytelling Centre, p.27) introduces children to the world of the piano.


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 2015 there were 6,713 performances by 1,128 groups over 23 performance spaces. Performers already confirmed for this year include Australian strong lady Charmaine Childs, who will perform elegant but impressive feats of physical strength, Japanese rhythm painter Yukinko Akira, who creates an original work of art in every performance, incorporating dance and music with his unique painting style, and Australian street performing legend Anthony Livingspace, returning to the Fringe for the first time in seven years.


The BBC, broadcasting from their new base at George Heriot’s School, will present a programme of highlights and daily live performances across radio, TV and online, capturing the festival’s most exciting new talent, biggest names, hidden gems and Fringe stories. The semi-finals and final of the BBC Radio New Comedy Award (Radio 4) will take place in Edinburgh for the first time this year. BBC Radio 4 favourites Loose Ends, Front Row, and Just a Minute return to the Fringe, while two editions of BBC Radio 2’s Saturday morning show will be broadcast from Edinburgh with special guest host Al Murray. Steve Wright in the Afternoon (Radio 2) and The Janice Forsyth Show (BBC Scotland) will broadcast their shows live, while BBC Two’s Artsnight (BBC Two) takes on its Edinburgh Nights mantle for a series of shows which will be recorded across the city.


The Fringe Society’s Participant Centre, Fringe Central, also moves to a new location this year on Edinburgh’s Infirmary Street. The Fringe Society’s Arts Industry Office and Media Office will both be based at Fringe [email protected] Street in the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation, providing practical resources and facilities for participants and assistance for members of the press. Fringe Central will once again offer a unique and a completely free programme of professional and career development opportunities for everyone participating in a Fringe show.


The Fringe Society works continuously to improve the accessibility of our Box Offices and supports Fringe venues to be as accessible 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. In 2015 the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society developed a staff training programme to explore issues in relation to inclusion and to offer insight into customer service best practice. In 2016 the Fringe Society isworking towards becoming an Accredited Attitude Champion with Attitude is Everything.


From 08 June tickets will be available for collection from the Fringe Box Office, 180 High Street, Edinburgh EH1 1QS and from the University Visitor Centre, 2 Charles Street, Edinburgh EH8 9AD. From 01 August, for the third year running, there will be a collection point in Domestic Arrivals at Edinburgh Airport. 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.

Fringe facts 2016

Comedy makes up 34% (compared to 34% last year)
Theatre makes up 27% (compared to 27% last year)
Music makes up 15% (compared to 14% last year)
Musicals and Opera makes up 4% (compared to 3% last year)
Children’s Shows make up 5% (compared to 5% last year)
Dance, Circus and Physical Theatre makes up 3% (compared to 4% last year)
Events make up 4% (compared to 4% last year)
Cabaret and Variety makes up 4% (compared to 4% last year)
Spoken Word makes up 3% (compared to 4% last year)
Exhibitions make up 1% (compared to 2% last year)

There are 643 free shows, 164 pay what you want shows, 1,731 premieres and 48 different countries represented.

Notes to Editors

The 2016 Edinburgh Festival Fringe will run from 05 – 29 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 01 – 29 August from 10.00 – 20.00 BST daily (please note we will close at 18.00 BST on 28 and 29 August).

Box Office
tickets.edfringe.com +44 (0)131 226 0000

Creative Scotland
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 www.creativescotland.com / @creativescots / www.facebook.com/CreativeScotland