The official 2018 Edinburgh Festival Fringe Programme was launched today, inviting performers and audiences from across the globe to leap into the unknown and embark on their very own Fringe adventure.

This year’s programme covers a wide range of themes and includes new venues, wellknown names, upcoming talent, international work, and the 10th anniversary of the Made in Scotland showcase. With 3,548 shows covering theatre, dance, circus, physical theatre, comedy, music, musicals and opera, cabaret and variety, children’s shows, free shows, exhibitions, events and spoken word, there is something for all tastes and interests.

2018 will also see the relaunch of the Virgin Money Street Events on the High Street and Mound Precinct, 20 years after the Fringe Society first took over responsibility for the area. Highlights include brand new, fully accessible stages, spectacular entrance archways, specially programmed showcases, and hundreds of brightly coloured pigeons, all designed to provide a more welcoming, high quality introduction to the world of the Fringe.

Launching the 2018 Fringe Programme, Shona McCarthy, Chief Executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, said:

“On behalf of the artists, producers and venues that make the Fringe happen, I am thrilled to reveal the 2018 Edinburgh Festival Fringe Programme. This year’s programme contains an eclectic mix of creative endeavour from across the globe that will move, challenge and, of course, entertain.

“This year we are encouraging everyone who comes to the Fringe to take a leap into the unknown. Whether this is your first or your 50th time visiting the Fringe as a performer or audience member, this is a place where new discoveries wait around every corner. There is no other festival in the world that offers such a broad or diverse range of cultural experiences. The Fringe is a festival that empowers its audiences to create their own adventure.

“Last year we celebrated the 70th anniversary of the Fringe, but we also used it as a time to reflect, question, recalibrate and look to the future. Alongside this year’s programme, the Fringe Society has produced a blueprint of ambitions that will guide our activities in the run up to our 75th anniversary in 2022, to ensure the continued success of this amazing festival for everyone involved.

“The Fringe Blueprint identifies new approaches to ensure anyone can participate, regardless of their background. From driving down the cost of attendance to engaging young people in the arts and reaching out to underrepresented groups in Edinburgh and further afield, we want the Fringe to be the greatest festival on earth at which to perform, run a venue, develop a career, see shows and discover talent.

“We look forward to audiences and artists from around the world joining us to take a leap into the unknown at the 2018 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.”

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

“The Fringe continues to innovate, inspire, challenge and delight audiences, providing Scottish artists the opportunity to showcase their work on a renowned platform to industry professionals from across the globe. It enables the international arts community to experience all that Edinburgh, our world-renowned festival city, has to offer.

“As we celebrate Made in Scotland’s 10th anniversary, we are proud to have provided just under £5.5 million through our Festivals Expo Fund to support Scottish artists and creative companies with their careers. This funding demonstrates the talent and creativity of Scotland at the largest arts festival in the world.

“I look forward to taking a leap into the unknown at the 2018 Fringe and enjoying some of the many fantastic shows in this year’s programme.”

Cllr Donald Wilson, Culture and Communities Convener, City of Edinburgh Council, said:

“It is impossible to imagine Edinburgh without its festival offering each year; all the razzmatazz and colour on the Royal Mile and general buzz and excitement that the Fringe and other summer festivals bring to our city every summer.

“Building on the wonderful 70th anniversary celebrations last year, this year’s Fringe programme once again offers something for everyone, regardless of their age, taste or background, and I particularly welcome the Blueprint as a means of boosting participation, particularly amongst young people.

“We know from our People’s Survey that over three-quarters of Edinburgh residents have enjoyed a festival show in the last two years and, if the breadth and depth of this programme is anything to go by, I’m sure local residents will continue to delight in everything the Fringe has to offer.”

Explore the 2018 Fringe Programme

Click on the links below to discover more about the 2018 Edinburgh Festival Fringe Programme:

VIRGIN MONEY STREET EVENTS

Street theatre has long been an important part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and 2018 marks the 20th year that the Fringe Society has managed the Virgin Money Street Events. To celebrate this milestone, the Society will be unveiling a new look street events arena on the Royal Mile, featuring new stages and performance areas, making space for an even wider range of Fringe shows and street theatre spectacles.

With over 250 shows a day, there’s always something to see. Highlights include the West Parliament Square Spectacular, which takes place most days at 13:15 and 20:15, featuring some of the biggest and brightest shows at the Fringe, and Fringe Sunday Comedy on the Mercat Stage, every Sunday at 13:00. From 10 to 12 August, Let’s Circus will bring their aerial rig to the High Street to host some of the Fringe’s best aerial performers, and The Big Street Showcase will take place on West Parliament Square at 13:15 on 19 August.

The redevelopment will also make the Virgin Money Street Events more accessible than ever before, with dedicated viewing areas for those with access needs, BSL interpreted performances, fully accessible stages and sensory backpacks available for children and adults on the autism spectrum. 


SPONSORS

As a charity, the work of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society would not be possible without the generous support of our many partners and sponsors – Virgin Money, Caledonian Brewing Co, Victor and Carina Contini and many more. We are delighted to welcome Alba Cola on board as a new sponsor for 2018.


VENUES

New and unusual venues and spaces across Edinburgh feature in this year’s programme. Fireside on East Market Street will host shows in their four grand arches for the first time, while close by Cranston Caravan Club offers a mix of performances and exhibitions in a repurposed 1960s caravan. Theatre Bath Bus will park up on the Meadows with a programme of shows from Zenith Youth Theatre in their intimate, wheel-based auditorium. Heroes @ The SpiegelYurt is a new cabaret venue located at Potterow Underpass, and the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh - Pyrus Lawn is home to Pianodrome, a unique venue made entirely from 55 recycled pianos that will host a programme of community-based events.

Sweet Venues launch Sweet Novotel on Lauriston Place, while the French Institute presents its Vive le Fringe! programme in its new premises on West Parliament Square. Pleasance Pop-Up: Power Play HQ on Broughton Street hosts an immersive, site-specific showcase, featuring four plays written by and predominantly starring women, staged within the rooms of a house. User Not Found (p.398) takes place in Traverse at Jeelie Piece Café on Leven Street, while the Crags Community Sports Centre will be transformed into Assembly High for a one off 1950s-themed event, Max and Ivan’s Prom Night (p.142).

Historic and brand-new Edinburgh watering holes will host Fringe shows this year, including the iconic Waverley Bar on St Mary’s Street, famous for its association with Billy Connolly, and BrewDog Lothian Rd, that will run PBH’s Free Fringe shows everyday in the former Clydesdale Bank building. Leith Dockers Club is a Fringe venue for the first time, with historical drama Dancing With Mrs Murphy (p.323), and Laughing Horse @ The World's Smallest Fringe Venue occupies a city centre-based chicken coop for The World’s Smallest Comedy Show (p.194).
 

 FAMOUS FACES

A plethora of well-known names from the world of film, TV and comedy appear in this year’s Fringe Programme.

Fringe debuts come from Hi-de-Hi! star Su Pollard, who stars in solo show Harpy (Underbelly, p.343), the story of a hoarder’s quest to find something stolen from her a long time ago; the IT Crowd’s Katherine Parkinson brings her debut play Sitting by Katherine Parkinson (p.385) to Gilded Balloon; and Jason Donovan (Assembly, p.21) addresses the triumphs and challenges of his career in a show featuring conversation and the occasional song.

Broadcasting legend Esther Rantzen (Gilded Balloon, p.19) takes to the stage with her daughter, journalist Rebecca Wilcox, to discuss highlights of her 50 years in show business, while Maureen Lipman (Assembly, p.25) returns to the Fringe for the first time in 50 years to share stories from her illustrious film, theatre and TV career.

TV stars Robert Bathurst (Cold Feet, Downton Abbey) and Rebecca Johnson (The Trip) join forces for The Song of Lunch (Pleasance, p.386), a theatrical comedy about a couple’s disastrous attempt to rekindle lost love; actress Julie Hesmondhalgh (Coronation Street, Broadchurch) appears in The Greatest Play in the History of the World... (Traverse, p.342); author, actor and former MP Gyles Brandreth (Pleasance, p.110) returns to the Fringe with a show celebrating all things theatrical; and Absolutely Fabulous’ Helen Lederer brings not one but two shows with Helen Lederer Asks Why The Fuss? (Laughing Horse @ The Pear Tree, p.112) and Helen Lederer: I Might as Well Say It (Underbelly, p.112).

Big names returning to the Fringe from the world of comedy include Rory Bremner and Jan Ravens (Underbelly, p.164), Jack Docherty (Gilded Balloon, p.119), making his first appearance for 25 years, and Lee Ridley, winner of Britain’s Got Talent 2018, who brings Lost Voice Guy: Inspiration Porn (p.136) to Gilded Balloon. Fringe anniversaries include Reginald D. Hunter (Pleasance, p.161) and Craig Hill (Pleasance, p.88), who both celebrate their 20th year at the Fringe, while Jimeoin (Pleasance, p.123) and Vladimir McTavish (The Stand, p.187) celebrate a remarkable 25 years at the festival.

Comedy stars crossing the pond this year include American comedian and actress Janeane Garofalo (Gilded Balloon, p.120), 30 Rock actor Judah Friedlander (Gilded Balloon, p.126), and comedian Myq Kaplan (Underbelly, p.145). And from India, renowned writer and comedian Anuvab Pal (p.67) makes his Fringe debut at Pleasance.

From the world of children’s entertainment, Once Seen on Blue Peter (Assembly, p.367) is a theatrical tribute to the world’s longest-running children’s TV show, starring former Blue Peter presenters Peter Purves, Janet Ellis, Peter Duncan, Mark Curry, Tim Vincent and surprise celebrity guests. Comedy double act Dick and Dom (Underbelly, p.39) make their Fringe debut with an interactive show featuring games, song and mess, and the UK’s bestselling children’s author Julia Donaldson (p.43) brings some of her favourite characters to life through songs and puppetry at Underbelly, George Square.
 

UPCOMING TALENT

Performers taking their first steps into the unknown at the Fringe this year include duo Bread and Geller: Prime Time (p.79), who bring their debut hour of character comedy, observational sketch and musical parody to Just the Tonic at The Caves. In Hal Branson: Mbolo (Just the Tonic, p.110), Hal shares his story of taking a trip to Uganda to overcome his marijuana habit. Sindhu Vee: Sandhog (Pleasance, p.173) is the highly anticipated debut show from the host of BBC Radio 4's Comedy of the Week podcast, while in Catherine Bohart: Immaculate (Pleasance, p.82), the rising comedy star discusses the pros and cons of being the bisexual, OCD daughter of an Irish-Catholic deacon. In The Homesick Submarine Broadcasting Company (The Stand, p.113), comedian John Whale and musician Kieran Rafferty ditch dry land in favour of a life under the sea, producing pirate radio.

Gigglemug Theatre present their debut musical Timpson: The Musical (C venues, p.288), a theatrical look at the origins of the well-established cobblers; poet and performer Rosy Carrick makes her playwrighting debut with Passionate Machine (Zoo, p.372), inspired by her favourite sci-fi movies; while three sisters try to overcome the issues that divide them in Hoard by Bim Adewunmi (Underbelly, p.344), the first play from Buzzfeed’s senior culture writer.


KEY THEMES IN 2018

First World War centenary
As centenary commemorations continue, many shows at this year’s Fringe explore and remember the impact of the Great War. Musical Fall of Eagles (Gilded Balloon, p.278) uses humour and song to examine the absurdity that led to the outbreak of war and the loss of millions of lives. Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo (Underbelly, p.375) tells the story of a young soldier's final day at war, while in Tobacco Road (Pleasance, p.394), five men and women attempt to carve out a place for themselves in the aftermath of the conflict, in the murky underworld of 1920s London. The Troth (Army @ The Fringe in Association with Summerhall, p.208) uses dance, original music and archive film to tell the tale of a group of young Indian men sent to Belgium to fight for the Allies. Earnest & Wilde: Let's Face the Music (and Franz) (C venues, p.330) offers an irreverent musical retelling of the life and untimely demise of Archduke Franz Ferdinand through vintage jazz covers of contemporary songs, while in Letters for Peace (Out of the Blue Drill Hall, p.254), award-winning composer and guitarist Graeme Stephen and Mr McFall’s Chamber String Trio present a new work inspired by the stories and letters of conscientious objectors who refused to fight in the war.

Class
Class, poverty and social mobility are high on the agenda of performers at the 2018 Fringe. KillyMuck (Underbelly, p.352) explores the trials and tribulations of being a child in a housing estate built on a paupers’ graveyard in 1970s Ireland, where lack of opportunity, educational barriers, impoverishment, addiction and depression are the norms. In The Political History of Smack and Crack (Roundabout @ Summerhall, p.374) Ed Edwards draws on personal experience to tell the story of the fallout for communities in the UK, crushed by the heroin epidemic of 1981. Bloomin' Buds Theatre Company consider the struggles that young, working class women face today in Brenda's Got a Baby (theSpace, p.315), and Aye, Elvis (Gilded Balloon, p.309) follows the struggle of a female Elvis impersonator, caring for her elderly mother, who escapes into a fantasy world emboldened by her love for The King. Rap artist Darren McGarvey, aka Loki, brings to life the themes of social mobility, class and identity explored in his recent book, challenging outdated political notions of poverty in Loki, the Scottish Rapper: Poverty Safari Live (The Stand, p.296), while in Martha McBrier – Fur Coat Nae Knickers (Laughing Horse @ The Counting House, p.140), Martha reflects on growing up poor and trying to forget your past, while also trying to stay true to yourself and your roots.

Healthcare
2018 marks the 70th anniversary of the National Health Service in the UK and health and  healthcare are subjects explored widely at the Fringe this year. In Mark Thomas – Check Up: Our NHS at 70 (Traverse, p.359), Mark examines the current state of play in the NHS, drawing on a series of interviews with leading experts and residencies in hospitals and surgeries. At Summerhall, New Perspectives collaborate with Michael Pinchbeck on A Fortunate Man (p.337), a mixed media performance that considers how GP practice has changed in the last 50 years and, in Where It Hurts (p.402), director Jeremy Weller brings together 18 local non-actors to share their experiences of seeking and providing care in the NHS.

Performers also share their personal experiences of coming to terms with medical conditions. In Paul Mayhew-Archer: Incurable Optimist (Underbelly, p.154), the TV and screenwriter behind The Vicar of Dibley takes a humorous look at how his life has changed since being diagnosed with Parkinson’s, while in Grace the Former Child: The Bi-polar Express (Heroes @The SpiegelYurt, p.109), Grace shares her surreal journey through adolescent mental health services. Coming to terms with a recent diagnosis of autism and agoraphobia is the subject matter in Bethany Black: Unwinnable (The Stand, p.75), and in Maisie Adam: Vague (Gilded Balloon, p.139), the 2017 So You Think You’re Funny winner explores the difficulties of maintaining a balanced lifestyle when you have Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy.

Sex and consent
As #MeToo continues to send shockwaves around the world, Fringe shows consider issues around sex and consent in 2018. It's True, It's True, It's True (Underbelly, p.350) follows 1612 trial of Agostino Tassi for the rape of baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi in Renaissance Rome and asks how much has changed in the last four centuries. In Ayesha Hazarika: Girl on Girl (Gilded Balloon, p.70), Ayesha offers a searing interrogation of where feminism finds itself in the wake of #MeToo, while Harriet Kemsley: Slutty Joan (Voodoo Rooms, p.111) explores the culture of slut shaming, and asks why sexual promiscuity carries such negative connotations. Jet of Blood (Zoo, p.350) is a docudrama telling the true story of a 14-year-old boy, sexually assaulted at one of the oldest and most prestigious prep schools in North America; Freak (theSpace, p.337) follows the sex lives of two women of different ages, exploring female sexuality, self-image, and sexual exploitation; and in Cock, Cock... Who's There? (Summerhall, p.321), Samira Elagoz looks at desire, the power of femininity and the male gaze in a world in which the virtual and the real are inextricably intertwined.

It’s a family affair
Family is a key theme at the 2018 Fringe as relatives take to the stage together to tell their stories. In UNCONDITIONAL (Pleasance, p.397), Josie-Dale Jones and her mother Stefanie Mueller explore the struggles and joy of parent/child relationships, in a celebration of equality and liberation between a mother and her grown-up daughter, directed by Shon Dale-Jones. In 3 Years, 1 Week and a Lemon Drizzle (Underbelly, p.392), two sisters share their experiences of growing up together and managing their close bond when older sister Alexandra developed a severe eating disorder, while in The Ballad of the Apathetic Son and His Narcissistic Mother (Summerhall, p.310), mother Lucy and her 15-year-old son Raedie find a way to connect through the music and motifs of Australian popstar Sia. In Beth Vyse as Olive Hands: The Hand That Rocks the Cradle (Monkey Barrel, p.75), Olive attempts to resurrect her daytime TV career with the aid of her son Henry (Beth’s real-life son), while Glas(s) Performance explore the unique bond between grandfathers and grandsons, male family relationships and the legacy that is passed down through generations in Old Boy (Scottish Storytelling Centre, p.367).

Our lives online
As people find themselves living more and more of their lives online, artists ask where the boundaries lie and what the digital future looks like. One Life Stand (Roundabout @ Summerhall, p.367) explores the impact online dating has had on modern relationships, where expectations of love and lust are ever-changing. Community (theSpace, p.322) explores the growing compulsion people have to display themselves online and measure success through their presence on social media, while in You Only Live + (Greenside, p.404), a woman downloads a life simulation app and starts to lose sight of where its algorithm ends, and the real world begins. Angry Alan by Penelope Skinner (Underbelly, p.306) follows Roger, a man on the edge, who is radicalised by an online activist, while in The Last Straw (Summerhall, p.353), experimental theatre collective People Show explore the rise of fake news and the communications overload we face every day. In Anya Anastasia: The Executioners (Gilded Balloon p.12), cabaret star Anya takes on techno obsessives and self-congratulatory slacktivist keyboard warriors, while in Bilal Zafar – Lovebots (Just the Tonic, p.76), Bilal fights back against online bots sent to spread hate and fear by creating his own bots, designed to spread love and compassion.

Disability
Shows exploring disability and starring disabled artists at the Fringe this year include Statements (Gilded Balloon, p.388), a theatre piece that explores the lives of three boys with autism, Asperger’s and Down Syndrome. In their 25th anniversary year, Birds of Paradise collaborate with National Theatre of Scotland for My Left Right Foot – The Musical (Assembly, p.283), following an amateur theatre group as they attempt to stage a production of oscar-winning film My Left Foot. Inclusive theatre company Hijinx partner with Spymonkey for The Flop (p.337) at Summerhall, an anarchic tale set in 17th century France, when impotence was illegal. Captain Cane and Brace Boy return to the Fringe with Prophets of Imperfection (theSpace, p.158), taking a superhero-inspired look at the past, present and future of disabilities, and in Tim Renkow Tries to Punch Down (Monkey Barrel, p.183), Tim considers his position on the social ladder as a disabled Jewish comedian.

Faith
Performers look at religion and faith from different perspectives at this year’s Fringe. At Summerhall, Trojan Horse (p.396) delves into the story behind the government enquiry set up in 2014 to investigate Muslim teachers in 25 Birmingham schools, and in Revelations (Summerhall, p.379), James Rowland shares a story of love, faith and trying to do the right thing by his friends. Rhum and Clay bring Mistero Buffo (p.361) to Underbelly, a retelling of Dario Fo’s seminal masterpiece which takes aim at those who manipulate truth and belief for power and control. At Gilded Balloon, Thomas Green: Doubting Thomas (p.182) looks at life after leaving religion, while in Chris Forbes: Prophecy, (p.83) the Scot Squad star shares his experience of meeting a man who claimed to be the son of God. Judaism comes under the comedic microscope in Ari Shaffir: Jew (Heroes @ The Hive, p.67), Brand-New Jew, a DNA Comedy (Sweet Venues, p.314), and Ashley Blaker: Observant Jew (Underbelly, p.68), and in Eshaan Akbar: Prophet Like It's Hot (Gilded Balloon, p.100), Eshaan looks for humour in the Qur’an and talks about his relationship with faith.

CABARET AND VARIETY

Cabaret stars from around the world will perform at the Fringe in 2018. Australian cabaret sensation Yana Alana makes her Fringe debut in Yana Alana – Between the Cracks (p. 33) at Assembly Checkpoint. In Le Gateau Chocolat: Icons (Assembly, p.23), Gateau glides across genres, exploring the songs and music of his personal icons, while in Comfort Food Cabaret (C venues, p.16), Michelle Pearson serenades her audiences while cooking them a three-course meal. 2017 Celebrity Big Brother winner Courtney Act returns to Underbelly’s Circus Hub with Courtney Act: Under the Covers (p.16), Sven Ratzke explores the fatal, peculiar and enigmatic in Sven Ratzke: Homme Fatale (Assembly, p.31), and Pauline M. Hynd and Stephen Lee team up to crush the American dream in cabaret noir The Onion Club: American Apocalypse Now (Gilded Balloon, p.27).

CHILDREN’S SHOWS

Drag stars Denim bring their party hits for kids to Assembly for Denim: The Denim Juniors (p.39), while MamaBabaMe (Pleasance, p.47) is a dance, physical theatre and live music experience for babies and children aged 0-3, exploring the connection between parents and their children. Circa: Wolfgang (p.38) reinvents the life and music of Mozart with a circus twist at Underbelly’s Circus Hub, while Chores (Assembly, p.38) uses comedy and acrobatics to tell the story of two mischievous young boys playing in their messy bedroom. David Baddiel's AniMalcolm (Gilded Balloon, p.39) brings Baddiel’s bestselling book to the stage through comedy, storytelling and musical theatre, while children’s classics The Famous Five (C venues, p.334) and Just William's Luck (Underbelly, p.352) are also revisited at the Fringe this year.

DANCE, PHYSICAL THEATRE AND CIRCUS

2018 marks 250 years since the birth of circus in the UK and the genre continues to thrill audiences and break new boundaries at the Fringe. Underbelly’s Circus Hub on the Meadows hosts Tabarnak (p.207), a new show from Cirque Alfonse, and presents the UK debut of American circus sensation Universoul Circus: Hip Hop Under the Big Top (p.209). Aerial arts take centre stage in Operation EVAsion (C venues, p.203), a multimedia show inspired by the bizarre but factual account of the multiple disappearances of the corpse of Eva Peron, and Egg (Summerhall, p.199), a show that explores female fertility, sexuality and choice. Casting Off (Assembly, p.197) is a cross-generational show in which three female acrobats share their stories of living life on the edge, while Casus: You & I (Assembly, p.198) celebrates the loving relationship between two circus performers, using acrobatics, trapeze, magic and dance.

At Dance Base, Finnish dancer and choreographer Ima Iduozee creates a striking minimalist landscape in This Is the Title (p.207), while Hong-Kong based artist Joseph Lee challenges the rules and structures of contemporary dance in Folding Echoes (p.200). Mexican dance artists Romina Soriano and Luciana Turegano explore the impact of digital imagery in our lives in the European premier of GIF (C venues, p.200), Israeli choreographer Gal Sabo brings the stories of three women to life in Triptych (Sweet Venues, p.208), and Canadian ice skaters Le Patin Libre bring their ice dance fusion Vertical Influences (p.209) to Assembly at Murrayfield Ice Rink. 5 Days of Falling (Zoo, p.200) uses b-boying and contemporary dance to tackle men’s inability to articulate, highlighting increasing rates of male suicide, and in As Far as We Are (Zoo, p.196), human limits of stress and tolerance are tested by Salzburg dance company CieLaroque.

MUSIC

Super Furry Animal’s frontman Gruff Rhys plays songs from his four-decade career in Gruff Rhys: Resist Phony Encores! (Pleasance, p.248), while Stewart D’Arrietta’s Belly of a Drunken Piano (Assembly, p.233) offers imaginative arrangements of songs from some of the most enigmatic and influential songwriters of the age. The Queen’s Hall presents a programme of music including country star Beth Nielsen Chapman with Special Guest Robert Vincent (p.233) and An Evening With Amanda F*cking Palmer (p.246), while at the Jazz Bar Colin Steele Quintet Play Miles Davis (p.240) in a show featuring Konrad Wiszniewski, Scottish Jazz Musician of the Year 2017. Summerhall’s Nothing Ever Happens Here returns to the Fringe with shows from Pussy Riot, who bring a mix of punk, electronica, theatre, documentary footage and protest in Pussy Riot: Riot Days (p.262). NEHH Presents...The Kevin Rowland DJ Show (p.258) features the Dexys’ frontman behind the decks, singing along to some of his favourite records, while Italian horror soundtrack maestro Claudio Simonetti and his band Goblin perform their classic 1978 score to a live screening of George Romero's cult film Goblin Perform Dawn of the Dead (Live) – 40th Anniversary (p.248).

MUSICALS AND OPERA

Musicals and opera at the Fringe this year include We've Got Each Other (Pleasance, p.401), the almost entirely imagined musical set to the music of Bon Jovi, and Bon the Musical (Greenside, p.276), a musical look at the life of AC/DC frontman Bon Scott, starring ex-Nazareth vocalist Linton Osborne. Superheroes try to stop the end of the world in Thor and Loki (Assembly, p.288), while the President of the United States continues to cause a stir on a global scale in Trump the Musical (C venues, p.288). Opera Bohemia present Verdi’s Falstaff (p.279) at St Cuthbert’s Church, starring former Scottish Opera emerging artists Andrew McTaggart and Hazel McBain, and Edinburgh Studio Opera presents the premier of The Tumbling Lassie (Hill Street Theatre p.288), written by author Alexander McCall Smith, with music by Tom Cunningham. At theSpace Triplex, the Mzansi Ensemble present Mandela Celebration (p.282), a South African musical extravaganza of traditional music, jazz and Township big bands, honouring the life of Nelson Mandela.

SPOKEN WORD

Bestselling author and most watched poet of all time Neil Hilborn (p.296) brings his second collection of poems to Summerhall, while at Voodoo Rooms Phill Jupitus presents Phill Jupitus Is Porky the Poet in Living in a World Where They Throw the Ducks at the Bread (p.297). Ed Miliband and Geoff Lloyd record their hit podcast Ed Miliband and Geoff Lloyd: Reasons to Be Cheerful (Pleasance, p.292) at the Fringe, discussing politics and ideas with each other and special guests, and in For the Record (Pleasance, p.292), Toby Thompson shares his poetry accompanied by songs from some of his favourite records. Poetry meets stand-up in Greg Byron: Wordshow (Assembly, p.292) as the performance poet tackles the political issues of the day, while Rowan McCabe shares his experience of offering to write poems for strangers in Door-to-Door Poetry (Bourbon Bar, p.291). The Stand’s New Town Theatre returns with its In Conversation With…series, which includes MP Mhairi Black (p.294), human rights campaigner and Scotland’s Lawyer of the Year 2017 Aamer Anwar (p.293), musician KT Tunstall (p.294) and current Scotland football manager Alex McLeish (p.293).

FREE SHOWS

There are 697 free shows and 260 pay what you want shows in this year’s programme. In Ahir Shah: Duffer (Laughing Horse @ Cabaret Voltaire, p.59), Ahir discusses life, death and Bohemian Rhapsody, while in The Ballad of Sarah Callaghan (Laughing Horse @ Finnegan's Wake, p.70), award-winning comedian Sarah offers a mash-up of comedy and poetry about gangs, fitting right in and feeling left out. In Dominic Holland – The Glory Year (Voodoo Rooms, p.96) the comedian, author and broadcaster asks why we bother with dinner parties, while in Chris Cook: Concealed (p.16), Chris brings his close up magic tricks to The Street. Roselit Bone (p.264) play apocalyptic cowboy music inspired by the desolation and violence of the American West, both the past and present at Laughing Horse @ The Phoenix, and guitarist Ty Gill makes his Fringe debut with Ty Gill: FingerStyle (Leith Depot, p.271) exploring cultures, genres and styles from around the world through his original compositions. The Bureau of Untold Stories (Museum of Childhood, p.37) utilises live sound effects, improvisation and unconventional storytelling to replicate the intrigue of an old radio mystery for children, while The Puppets' Orchestra and the Children's Ball (Laughing Horse @ The Counting House, p.48) is an interactive show, giving children the opportunity to animate puppets and play musical instruments.


MADE IN SCOTLAND

In 2018, the Made in Scotland showcase celebrates 10 years of bringing the best of Scottish made theatre, music and dance to the Fringe, with a programme of 23 shows. Since 2009, the showcase has featured over 200 shows and the Onward Touring fund has enabled 74 productions to visit 35 countries across the world.

This year’s programme includes the world premiere of Heroine (Assembly, p.344) based on the true story of Danna Davis, who served for 10 years in the US Army. A survivor of military sexual trauma, Dana’s story explores healing, forgiveness and what speaking your truth really means. First Snow / Première neige (CanadaHub @ King's Hall in association with Summerhall, p.336) also makes its world premiere, written and performed by artists from Scotland and Québec, exploring family dynamics and how attitudes change between generations, while in What Girls Are Made Of (Traverse, p.401), Cora Bissett relives her rollercoaster ride as a teenage rock star, accompanied by a live band.
In Blue Rose Code Presents: This is Caledonian Soul (Queen’s Hall, p.234), Ross Wilson takes a musical look at what we mean by Caledonian soul, joined by his 14-piece band and a selection of special guests, while NEHH, Made in Scotland and Meursault Present… Crow Hill (Summerhall, p.258) features a performance of Meursault’s Crow Hill in its entirety, accompanied by dancers, actors and projections.

Indepen-dance 4, Scotland’s inclusive professional dance company, present Four Go Wild in Wellies (Dance Base, p.41), a show for audiences aged 3-5 years that looks at how friendships are built, broken and mended, and in Brocade (Dance Base @ Edinburgh City Chambers, p.197), historical and contemporary notions of craft and physical work are explored by an ensemble of female dancers and musicians.

INTERNATIONAL WORK

51 countries will present work at the Fringe this year. Vive le Fringe! 2018 at the French Institute presents a programme of work including choreographer Constant Vigier's response to the French motto 'liberté, egalité, fraternité' (Mes)dames (p.202), examining womanhood and equality, set to the music of Christine and the Queens, and Forbidden Stories (p.337) a multimedia performance from Ludens Ensemble that explores the theme of borders in the segregated island of Cyprus.

CanadaHub @ King's Hall in association with Summerhall returns with five shows including Huff (p.346), a darkly comic tale of indigenous brothers caught in a torrent of solvent abuse, struggling to come to terms with the death of their mother, and Famous Puppet Death Scenes (p.335) a parade of theatrical puppet demises, delivered by The Old Trout Puppet Workshop.

Taiwan Season includes indigenous Taiwanese dance from Tjimur Dance Theatre in Varhung – Heart to Heart (Dance Base, p.207), and a documentary-style depiction of local contemporary life in the Chiayi area of southern Taiwan in The Delusion of Home (Summerhall, p.390), which incorporates elements of Shakespeare's King Lear. The Korean Season features Sweet Tango (Assembly, p.269), a musical experience that combines a passion of Argentinian tango with traditional Korean instruments and music, and About Lady White Fox With Nine Tales... (Assembly, p.302), a retelling of Shakespeare’s Macbeth based on the mysterious and exotic White Fox legend of the Orient.

Made in Adelaide 2018 features solo cabaret from storyteller and songstress Deborah Brennan in The Hummingbird Effect (C venues, p.21), Kokoda (Gilded Balloon, p.353) tells the story of a soldier fighting in the South Pacific in 1942, and Aphrodite and the Invisible Consumer Gods (Zoo, p.307) combines humour, audience interaction and dance to highlight the objectification of women in the media. Start to Finnish brings All the Lights Are On (Summerhall, p.305), a theatre piece that follow a couple’s journey as they come to terms with a diagnosis of brain cancer, and The Sauna (Summerhall, p.205) tells the story of an old woman who is taken through the chapters of her life by a Finnish mythical creature, the sauna elf.


FRINGE FACTS 2018

  • Total shows: 3,548
  • Total venues: 317
  • Performances: 56,796
  • Countries represented: 55
  • International countries: 51
  • Genre breakdown: Cabaret and variety 6%, children’s shows 4%, comedy 35%, dance, circus and physical theatre 3%, events 2%, exhibitions 1%, music 14%, musicals and opera 4%, spoken word 4%, theatre 27%.
  • There are 697 free shows, 260 pay what you want shows, 1,937 premieres.

NOTES TO EDITORS

The 2018 Edinburgh Festival Fringe will run from 03 – 27 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.
media@edfringe.com / +44 (0)131 240 1919.

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

Fringe World Congress 2018 will take place from 16 - 20 August in Edinburgh. Congress is attended by fringe organisers from around the world. The programme includes keynote speakers, panel discussions and networking events, as well as masterclasses on the practical elements of delivering fringe festivals. Congress will also look to the future, asking how the global fringe community, made up of over 200 fringes, can better work together. For more information visit fringeworldcongress.co.uk.

Ticketing information
From 06 June tickets will be available for purchase and collection from the Fringe Box Office, 180 High Street, Edinburgh EH1 1QS. This year there will be a box office at Waverley Station, in partnership with Virgin Trains, where tickets can be collected and purchased (card sales only) from 30 July. Also from 30 July, there will be a collection point in Arrivals at Edinburgh Airport. There are over 30 collection points throughout the city open during the Fringe. For a full list, and for more information, please go to edfringe.com.

Accessibility
The Fringe Society is committed to ensuring the Fringe is as accessible as possible to everyone who wishes to attend, and works continuously to improve the accessibility of our box offices. 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. Our main box office on the High Street has level access. If you require a personal assistant (PA) to help you attend the Fringe, you are entitled to a complimentary PA ticket. Wheelchair users requiring a PA ticket should phone +44 (0)131 226 0002. Non-wheelchair users requiring a PA can register online at tickets.edfringe.com/box-office/accessibility.

The Society supports Fringe venues to be as inclusive as possible through our Venue Access Award scheme. We also list specific access information for individual venue spaces on our website. In 2018, a Mobiloo mobile changing place for Fringe audiences will once again be available. The Mobiloo is the world's first attended, mobile toilet and changing facility for disabled people. It will be parked next to Fringe Central, on Windmill Street, open daily during the Fringe from 10:00 – 22:00.

Sensory backpacks
In 2018, the Fringe Society will have a number of sensory backpacks that are available to borrow (free of charge) for children and adults on the autism spectrum. Each backpack contains a fidget toy, earplugs, a photo story describing the Street Events (also available to download from our website), a map of Edinburgh, and a list of relaxed performances at the Fringe. The backpacks can be borrowed from the Fringe Shop (180 High Street) and a number of other locations across the city on a first-come, first-served basis – visit edfringe.com/accessibility for more information. To borrow a backpack, please bring a form of photographic ID with you. We are grateful for the support of the Edinburgh Festivals’ 70th Anniversary Legacy Tourism Innovation Fund, and Deaf Action in providing sensory backpacks and BSL interpretation.

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society is a charity that was established by participants to act as the custodian of the Fringe. We exist to support and encourage everyone who wants to participate in the Fringe; to provide information and assistance to audiences; and to promote the Fringe and what it stands for all over the world. Based on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, the Society has a full-time team of just over 20 people, who work year-round to assist all the participants and audiences who make up the world’s greatest arts festival.

Fringe Central is operated by the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society and is a home for participants, media and arts industry professionals taking part in the Fringe. Centrally located in Appleton Tower, the centre provides internet access, a cafe, meeting rooms, rehearsal space and staff to give support and advice on taking part in the Fringe, including marketing and media campaigns and how to make the best use of the development opportunities on offer. Fringe Central celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2018, offering a programme of 125 professional and career development events designed to help Fringe participants get the most out of the Fringe. All events are free for registered Fringe participants.

Fringe Central, Appleton Tower, corner of Windmill and Chapel Streets, Edinburgh EH8 9LE.

The Fringe Media Office @ Fringe Central will be open from 30 July – 27 August from 10:00 – 20:00 BST daily (please note we will close at 18:00 BST on 26 and 27 August).