Tickets for 670 shows now on sale with Fringe a week away
29 July 2021
Tickets for a further 184 Fringe shows will be available to book at edfringe.com from 12:00 BST today, bringing the total number of 2021 Fringe shows to just over 670.
A representative selection of this week’s newly announced shows are listed below. For the full programme and further ticket information, visit edfringe.com.
More theatre at Assembly Roxy has been announced this week, including Isabelle Farah: Ellipsis. This piece explores grieving, authenticity and being funny in the world of stand-up comedy. Meanwhile, Watson: The Final Problem sees Sherlock’s old ally Watson tell his tale of long-buried secrets, betrayal and death. Based on the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Watson is written with Bert Coules (BBC's Sherlock Holmes) and performed by Tim Marriott (TV's Brittas Empire).
Styx – the Total Theatre Award-shortlisted, Fringe World Award-winning theatre concert – is at Assembly George Square Gardens in a completely new form. This exploration of family, myth and memory loss comes back with remixed music and bearing wounds wrought by 18 months of disrupted human connectivity.
I Am Not Victoria Wood is at Pleasance Courtyard. Maddie North is a former Victoria Wood tribute act now recording vlogs in her mum's spare room. This touching and funny show sees Maddie revisiting her successful career and paying tribute to one of the UK's most loved comedians.
Patricia Gets Ready (For a Date With the Man That Used to Hit Her) is at Pleasance at EICC. Patricia has spent a year crafting a kick-ass speech while recovering from an abusive relationship. But when she bumps into her ex on the street, and accidentally agrees to dinner with him that night, she's got some big decisions to make.
Catching Up is at theSpace @ Symposium Hall. This dark comedy portrays all the nuances of trying to maintain a childhood friendship you’ve grown out of. At the same venue, The End of the Line follows characters Tom and Marley as they meet at London Victoria tube station. With announcements signaling long delays, they explore the series of events that led them to that point and what awaits them after.
Tortive Theatre have a series of Bard Heads shows at The Georgian House. These one-actor plays star pull in stories, characters and themes from Shakespeare.
Aalaapi is available to watch via Assembly Showcatcher. This hybrid project combines both theatre and radio. Over eight months, five young Inuit women from Northern Quebec speak about their lives by means of a radio documentary. On stage, two other Inuit women spend a day together while the documentary plays on their radio. The sense grows that, at some point, they need to challenge it.
Arthur Smith: SYD is available to watch via Pleasance Online. This piece is a touching and funny tribute to Arthur Smith's father, Syd Smith, who fought at El Alamein, became a prisoner of war, and ended up in the notorious Colditz Castle in Germany. Also on Pleasance Online, Prison Game is a one-man physical theatre performance exploring how prison can define a man, developed using real life accounts of extraordinary experiences.
Cash Point Meet is on Fringe Player. This exciting debut by writer Niamh Murphy follows two Irish women as they enter the world of sex work. What follows is a darkly comic exploration of labour rights and intimacy, spanning over a year in the lives of these women and the characters they encounter.
Mark Watson is previewing his new tour, This Can’t Be It, at Pleasance Courtyard. Expect ‘spiritual enquiry meets high-octane observational comedy’. At the same venue, Mervyn Stutter celebrates his 34th Fringe with Mervyn Stutter and Friends. This year, he's hosting a much smaller, intimate, Covid-safe show of chat, chuckles, songs and great guests.
Following sell-out runs in 2018 and 2019, John Luke Roberts: Terrible Wonderful Adaptations is back at Assembly Roxy. In this, JLR ‘wrangles together an all-star cast of the best comedians and worst idiots’. Also at the Roxy is Joanne McNally: The Prosecco Express Reimagined. Join Joanne as she revisits her irreverent and critically acclaimed show, The Prosecco Express.
There’s a wealth of shows at Monkey Barrel Comedy, including Liam Withnail and Marc Jennings (WIP); Luke Rollason: Bowerbird (WIP); Stephen Buchanan and Liam Withnail (WIP); Alex Kealy Comedy and Krystal Evans. Plus, The Big Show returns this year. This top-rated, sell-out weekend extravaganza is on every night (not 12th), with a top mixed-bill line-up each evening.
Glenn Wool: The Tiny Kings of Winter is at Gilded Balloon. Expect an hour of unsettling stories about settling down. Growing up, growing out and dropping off (kids at school), getting older, dumber and wiser in equal measures.
Also at Gilded Balloon is Rich Wilson (WIP). Rich Wilson is fast becoming one of the most in-demand comedians in the land with his award-winning shows, podcasts and radio shows. This year sees him embark on building a brand-new hour show.
And at the same venue, Just These Please will return with 25 sketches and songs in 55 minutes. With over 40 million views online and 'a formidable gag rate', three actor-comedians and one maritime lawyer bring you a mixture of old favourites and some brand-new material.
Best of the Fest is back at Assembly George Square Gardens. Theis mixed-bill comedy night is the perfect way to experience the festival. Previous guests include Nina Conti, Adam Hills, Jason Byrne, Desiree Burch, Josh Widdicombe, Phil Wang, Kiri Pritchard-McLean, Milton Jones, Vir Das, Joe Lycett, Phoebe Robinson and many more.
There’s plenty of laughs in store via Scottish Comedy Festival @ The Beehive Inn. Acts include Gareth Waugh, Connor Burns and Liam Farrelly; Daniel Downie; Gareth Mutch and Joe McTernan; Gary Little; and Raymond Mearns.
PBH’s Free Fringe is back for 2021. Shows include Late and Lovely – a late night show with games, jokes and a house band – plus stand up from the likes of Laura McMahon and Tom Little. Venues this year include Subway, Canons’ Gait, Banshee Labyrinth, Globe Bar and Ciao Roma.
Comedy for the Curious is the comedy chat show which sees three stand-up sets all around the topic at hand (this month will be covering personality, motivation and ADHD).
HaHanitarian Intervention is a stand-up comedy show from a group of international artists united by comedy and lead by the slogan 'make jokes, not wars'.
There’s a wealth of live music at Acoustic Music Centre. BrÒg features Gary West on pipes, whistles, vocals and guitar, virtuoso fiddler Greg Borland on fiddle and bass, and the sensational Sandy Brechin on accordion.
Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year 2018 winner Hannah Rarity is returning to the venue after sell-out appearances in 2017 and 2019.
Scottish folk singer Iona Fyfe – the youngest ever winner of the Scots Trad Music Singer of the Year Award – is appearing with Michael Biggins, BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year.
And following two acclaimed solo music theatre shows, Pulse and Auld Lang Syne, Mairi Campbell returns in concert.
Pleasance at EICC is home to Interstellar Duo's collection of original music. In this, sisters Charlotte and Heather Sterland perform their work inspired by music from many genres such as jazz, classical, dance and folk music.
There’s also a programme of music at St Mary's Cathedral from the Cathedral Choir, the only choral foundation in Scotland with the tradition of daily services.
Journey Across the Impossible is on Fringe Player. This work from Carrot Productions is an hour-long selection of short films, many from the experimental days of film in the early 1900s, set to original scores by the Apollo Saxophone Quartet.
Scottish Arts Club Online is hosting Virtual Fridays on the Fringe, with performances from Euan McLaughlin and Nicky Kirk, Jessie Bates and Haftor Medbøe, and Nikita Lukinov playing Beethoven, Scriabin and Debussy.
Cabaret and Variety
Dave Alnwick is at PBH's Free Fringe @ Canons' Gait. The Fringe stalwart performs his unique brand of exceptional magic in two separate shows.
Still Alive and Kicking is a multi-award-winning show in which the insights of life, through the reality of death, are powerfully shared using the languages of art and jazz. Available via Black Box Live: From Australia.
Dance, Physical Theatre and Circus
There’s a programme of work available as part of Horizon Online. BLKDOG Part 1 is Botis Seva’s Olivier award-winning commentary on surviving adulthood as a childlike artist. A genre-defying blend of hip-hop dance and free-form antics, BLKDOG explores the inner battlefield of an ageing artist trying to retain his youth.
In Future Cargo, a truck arrives from an unknown location loaded with a mystery shipment. As the sides roll up a strange and unstoppable process is set into motion. This sci-fi dance show is performed in a 40-foot haulage truck and promises to deliver the delicate integrity of a deeply intimate experience within a large-scale dance spectacle.
East Meets West is available via Fringe Player. This show is a fusion of Chinese and Western culture. The whole performance consists of three chapters: The Beauty of Dynasty – Chinese ethnic and folk dances; The Beauty of Tradition – classical Chinese dance; and The Beauty of Modern Times – Contemporary Dance.
O'DD is at Assembly Showcatcher. This sci-fi-inspired duet of acrobatics and live music takes you on a cinematic journey of ultra-physical circus. O'DD is a bold continuum to Race Horse Company's shows like Petit Mal and Edinburgh Fringe 2019 favourite Super Sunday.
The Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas is happening at The Stand. In this series of shows, three top academics, chat about three dangerous ideas along with host, comedian Susan Morrison. Shows include Dementia, Quantum Particles and AI Creativity; Dancers, Algorithms and Speech; and Fake News, Alexa and Networking.
A Rubbish Midsummer Night's Dream is at Pleasance Courtyard. In this, ‘four idiots wearing bed sheets for togas attempt to stage Shakespeare's mischievous comedy, using only a box of pound-shop props, a camel onesie, some lightsabers and a ladder they found by the bins’.
Drag Queen Story Hour is at Assembly Roxy. This show features inclusive storytelling from Aida H Dee, the Storytime Drag Queen.
Elliot Bibby: Leftover Lunch is at Assembly George Square Gardens. Being an international, multi-award-winning magician means performing at all times of the day. This often means that Elliot must fit his lunch in wherever he can – Including during this captivating, family magic show.
Roald Dahl's The Twits is at Pleasance Courtyard. Adapted from Roald Dahl's classic story, join storyteller John Kirk as he invites you into a brilliantly bonkers world of upside-down monkeys, wormy spaghetti and sticky-hug-tight glue.
The Anterbury Tales is ‘Chaucer, but with insects’. Taking place at Laughing Horse @ The Counting House, join the Earwig as he battles fearsome creatures in his quest for fabulous treasure. Meanwhile, the Ladybird community build a Golem for protection – but who will protect them from their own creation? Storytelling and performance.
Cecily's Belly Laugh Picnic – Musical Balloon Band is at Laughing Horse @ The Counting House. Suitable for all and ideal for under-8s, audiences can hop, bounce, jump, wave and sing along with Verona's Musical Balloon Band.
Science Adventures – The Power Pickle is available via Pleasance Online. Professor McGuffin's groundbreaking Sub-Nuclear Optical Transmitter (S.N.O.T.) has stopped working and it's jeopardising the whole mission. This fantastical show will explore science with fun and accessible adventure stories.
Also on this platform, The Snail and the Whale is inspired by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler's much-loved book. Join an adventurous young girl and her seafaring father as they re-imagine the story of a tiny snail's incredible trip around the world.
How this year’s Fringe will work: online, in-person and on-demand shows
This year’s Fringe will look a little different. In 2021, audiences will be able to access a wide range of amazing Fringe shows through socially distanced in-person events, scheduled online performances and on-demand digital shows. Tickets and information for all kinds of registered Fringe shows – live, online, paid and free – can be found at edfringe.com.
In-person shows: Registered live, in-person performances taking place at various outdoor and indoor venues must comply with City of Edinburgh Council and Scottish Government covid-related regulations.
One metre social distancing will be in place, masks should be worn indoors and regular hand washing and clear ventilation is strongly advised. Many Fringe venues are operating outdoors in 2021.
The Scottish Government has advised that regulations could lift on 09 August (though this is contingent on covid levels and the continued vaccination roll out in Scotland and is subject to review).
The Fringe Society will be updating audiences and artists regularly on what changing restrictions mean for in-person performances at the Fringe.
Online shows: There will be two kinds of online events available this year: scheduled and on demand.
- With scheduled shows, audiences can buy tickets as they would to a traditional in-person event. Shows will have a dedicated start and end time and are treated as an ‘appointment to view’ event.
- For on-demand shows, audiences can buy tickets to watch at their leisure.
Some online shows will have a viewing window (where the content will be available to watch for a set amount of time). Detailed information about how each individual online event is viewed is clearly available at the point of booking.
Fringe Player and other online platforms: Audiences can view Fringe shows via the brand-new Fringe Player. Available via edfringe.com, this bespoke digital platform offers audiences an exciting new way to engage with Fringe content.
The player will be accessible to audiences from 06 August, with captioning built in. Both on-demand and scheduled online shows are available on this platform.
Where other platforms (such as Zoom, YouTube and Vimeo) are being used to host online work, information on how to access these is clearly provided at the point of purchase.
Online shows will be available to watch from August but can be pre-booked from today.
Tickets and programme: This year and in keeping with reducing contact during in-person interactions, all events will be e-ticketed and shows will be listed online, as there won’t be a printed programme this year. Audiences will be able to attend shows without using paper tickets. More information on ticketing can be found on edfringe.com.
Access at the Fringe
This has been a challenging year, and a lot has changed about the way live entertainment is presented. But our commitment to making the Fringe accessible will always be a priority.
The Fringe Society provides free a personal assistant ticket for anyone who needs it. You can register for this by emailing [email protected]. We will also provide a bespoke access bookings service on the phone or in-person by appointment.
This year, we are also continuing our sensory backpack scheme for autistic people, to help make the Fringe experience as enjoyable as possible. Each bag includes a fidget spinner, earplugs, water bottle, stress reliever and a social story. These items are designed to help users relax and overcome stressful or intense situations. This year, to keep things as safe as possible, we are sending the bags out to key partner organisations who will distribute them to their users.
Show announcements still to come
The landscape for live events has been incredibly uncertain for the last few months. The Fringe is nothing if not creative and adaptive, and even when faced with massively reduced timescales, Fringe artists and operators are still getting ready to announce new and innovative work.
As we all keep working to put on the best Fringe we can, we’re excited to see more shows being announced throughout August. Keep an eye on edfringe.com for more.
Sponsors and supporters
As a charity, the work of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society would not be possible without the valuable support of our partners, sponsors and funders. We are delighted to be working with Johnnie Walker for the third year running as our official whisky partner.
We are excited to be partnering with the newly opened St James Quarter, and Crowdfunder through our FringeMakers fundraising platform, supporting Fringe artists and venues with vital fundraising efforts. This will be launched in the coming weeks. We would like to thank Lothian Buses for their continued support of our Fringe Days Out programme.
We’re thrilled to welcome Edinburgh Gin on board as a partner in 2021 and look forward to working with them.
We are grateful for funding through the PLACE Programme, a partnership between the Scottish Government – through Creative Scotland – the City of Edinburgh Council and Festivals Edinburgh; Scottish Government for Made in Scotland through the Festivals Expo Fund – managed through Creative Scotland – and the continued support of the City of Edinburgh Council. Thanks also to Scottish Government for funds from their Get into Summer campaign.
We are grateful for funding from the Pivotal Event Business Fund, the SCVO Adapt and Thrive programme, and the UK Government to enhance our digital capabilities.
Our thanks also to the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, the Pump House Trust and the Turtleton Charitable Trust.
Our thanks also to our Fringe Angels, Patrons, Friends and supporters whose passion and generosity made a real difference this year.