WHAT THE FRINGE?! THE EDINBURGH FESTIVAL FRINGE LAUNCHES
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is back with an innovative, international and adventurous festival, bound to provide many unforgettable moments for festival goers travelling to Scotland’s capital city from all around the world. With theatre, dance, circus, physical theatre, comedy, music, musicals, opera, cabaret and variety, children’s shows, free shows, exhibitions, events and spoken word on offer, there truly is something for everyone. And something new for everyone to experience.
2015 will see 50,459 performances of 3,314 shows from 49 countries in 313 venues across Edinburgh. The number of shows reflects a 3.8% increase on last year’s programme, with 14 new venues becoming involved in the Fringe from across the city.
Kath M Mainland, Chief Executive of The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society said:
“It’s great to be launching the 2015 Edinburgh Festival Fringe programme.
“The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the largest, oldest, most well renowned festival in the world.
“Every year we think we know what it’s going to deliver, but every year it surprises, delights, amazes and inspires. The Fringe is a festival like no other. Completely open access – where artists don’t need to wait for an invitation, where anyone with a story to tell is welcome. Where there’s no curator, no vetting, no barriers. Just incredible talent from almost fifty countries all over the world.
“It’s also an incredibly important festival for Scotland, the UK and our performing artists. A vital platform to showcase the range and diversity of creative skills on offer. A profoundly international market place which can have transformative effects on careers. An explosion of culture which can be life changing for the audience. And lots and lots of fun.
“I can’t wait for the 2015 Edinburgh Festival Fringe to start and look forward to welcoming the participants and audiences to this great festival city in August.”
Fiona Hyslop MSP, The Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs said:
“This year’s programme shows once again why the Edinburgh Festival Fringe is one of the most important events in the international cultural calendar. The festival is a premier event bringing thousands of people to Scotland. It demonstrates the scale of Scotland’s creativity and ambition and raises our standing on the world stage.
“As one of the most significant arts market places in the world, with over 1,000 arts professional attendees each year, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe offers unrivalled opportunities for Scottish, UK and international artists. We are committed to supporting the festival and the ambitions of the Scottish creative talent at the Fringe through the Made in Scotland programme as part of the £2.25 million Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund.”
Cllr. Richard Lewis, the City of Edinburgh Council’s Festivals and Events Champion said:
“Edinburgh has been working since 1947 on expanding and bettering our festivals offering and this longevity and growth is one of the greatest reflections on their success. Almost 70 years on, thousands of visitors and journalists continue to travel from all over the world to experience Edinburgh in August.
“Last summer the Fringe put on almost 50,000 performances of more than 3,000 shows across 300 venues making it the largest scale Fringe. This year is set to be just as adventurous and entertaining. The range of artists coming to Edinburgh from around the world is as diverse as ever, and we will also see a wealth of Scottish performers taking part.”
Janet Archer, Chief Executive of Creative Scotland said:
“The Edinburgh Festival Fringe continues to provide an important platform for Scottish artists to showcase their work to local and international audiences. It is also an unrivalled opportunity to make and develop touring contacts, to forge creative partnerships and to see artistic excellence from around the world.”
This year the Fringe Society has unveiled a new strategic partnership with Airbnb to help increase the range and diversity of accommodation options available to visitors to Edinburgh during August.
James McClure, Country Manager Airbnb UK & Ireland said:
“Airbnb is all about connecting people from all around the world and helping travellers enjoy destinations through the host experience and their local lens. The Fringe is an extremely exciting time not only for the residents of Edinburgh but for the thousands of visitors that descend on the city during August – and what better way to bring people together than through the arts and entertainment! We are very proud to be working with the Fringe Society to make sure that everyone who comes to Edinburgh during August gets the warmest of Edinburgh welcomes during their visit.”
This will also be the second year that the Fringe Society has had a ticket collection point at Edinburgh Airport. Last year, a staggering 14,000 tickets were collected from the airport. This year, the ticket collection point will be operating from 03 August, in plenty of time for the first Fringe visitors stepping off their planes.
Gordon Dewar, Chief Executive of Edinburgh Airport said:
“The airport ticket machine was a big success last year with over 14,000 tickets being collected in the terminal. We’re delighted to be working with the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society to offer our passengers this option again this year. I used the ticket machine myself several times last summer and am looking forward to seeing what will be on offer at this year’s festival.
“We love thinking outside the box and giving our passengers a great experience. Summer is always an incredibly busy time for us and this year will be no exception as we get ready to welcome hundreds of thousands of passengers from all over the world. Festival-goers will soon be able to collect their tickets as soon as they arrive into Edinburgh.”
As the Edinburgh Festival Fringe continues to grow and evolve, 14 additional new and unique venues will play host to performing companies this year. Underbelly will introduce Circus Hub, formed of two big tops calledThe Lafayette and The Beauty situated on the Meadows in the city’s southside. The new circus venue will provide a space for the most technically ambitious circus performances on a scale the Fringe has never seen before. The Circus Hub’s pop-up sister venue, the giant purple cow Udderbelly will move to within a stone’s throw away, in George Square. The hit show The Lady Boys of Bangkok will move to their new location at Fountainbridge, alongside the beautiful Union Canal.
Next door, the new Big Sexy Circus City will complete an immersive circus landscape with shows taking place in marquees. Now under the management of Momentum Venues, St Stephen’s Church, a Grade-A Georgian listed building almost 200 years old in the vibrant area of Stockbridge will offer a magnificent space for performers and audiences alike. St Stephen’s Church has been run in previous Fringes by a number of different groups, most famously by Aurora Nova. These days Aurora Nova might not be running their own venue but they are a considerable presence at the Fringe with eight shows spread over four venues this year, covering themes ranging from life in a war zone (B-Orders, Underbelly, p.187) to a study of human relationships (Portraits in Motion, Summerhall, p.359).
SpaceUK will debut a new venue for 2015 called SpaceTriplex in The Prince Philip Building at 19 Hill Place, this new state of the art facility will spread over three floors, located next door to theSpace @ Surgeons Hall and theSpace @ Symposium Hall. Hardeep Singh Kohli’s Communal Craft Beer and Curry Bar V Deep in Leith will turn into a performance space, as will The Laundrette, 342 Leith Walk hosting performances ofMedea of the Laundromat (p.347) after hours. Heroes @ Bob’s BlundaBus is new for 2015, the double-decker bar and venue will be parked on South College Street throughout the Fringe, and will go ‘on the road’ around town every Wednesday. For the first time in some years The Ross Bandstand in West Princes Street Gardens will host a programme of open air music concerts in the heart of the city during the Fringe. Greenside will open a new venue in 2015, Greenside @ Infirmary Street, on the back of their Nicolson Square venue which opened in 2014.
For those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, Crichton Collegiate Church in Midlothian – a stunning fifteenth century church, will once again turn into a performance space hosting Plainsong at Crichton (p.255), a choir recreating a mediaeval vespers for the Feast of the Assumption in a one-off setting. The Village Pub Theatre in Leith will take part in the Fringe for the first time with its grassroots new-writing theatre programme. Gilded Balloon will celebrate their 30th anniversary with a star studded one-night performance at the Edinburgh Playhouse. The Gilded Balloon 30th Anniversary Gala (p.101) line-up includes Johnny Vegas, Ross Noble, The Boy with Tape on His Face, Alan Davies, Stephen K Amos and many more.
DANCE, PHYSICAL THEATRE AND CIRCUS
The increasing popularity of circus and physical theatre is evident in this year’s programme. While companies familiar to the Fringe such as Circa will return with their show Close Up, (Underbelly, p.188)other companies such as Ockham’s Razor will make their Fringe debut, with Ockham’s Razor: Arc and Every Action (Underbelly, p.197). Belgian company Theatre d’un Jour will use their unique kind of storytelling circus in L’Enfant qui (Institut français d’Ecosse, p.195). UK based contemporary circus company Lost In Translation will bring their spectacular family show The Hogwallops (Underbelly, p.193) to the brand new Circus Hub on the Meadows. Hitch! (Big Sexy Circus City, p.193) a circus and cabaret show based on the life and work of Alfred Hitchcock will be performed by Mary Bijou Circus Theatre Company. The Famous Spiegeltent will play host to VELVET (p.16) – a sexy, spectacular and sparkling show by La Clique which completely redefines cabaret as a disco inferno.
A number of familiar faces and well-known names from the world of comedy will return to the Fringe. Jo Brand (Gilded Balloon, p.117) will take a break from her regular prime time TV appearances while fellow female comic Nina Conti will bring her show In Your Face (Pleasance, p.145) to the festival. Ed Byrne(Gilded Balloon, p.88), Al Murray, (Assembly, p.54) Sue Perkins (BBC @ Potterrow, p.64), Fred MacAulay(Assembly Rooms, p.96), Patrick Kielty (Assembly, p.149), Paul Merton (Pleasance, p.151), Alan Davies(Gilded Balloon, p.51), Trevor Noah (Assembly, p.177), Marcus Brigstocke (Assembly, p.134) Katheryn Ryan (The Stand, p.123), Mark Thomas (The Assembly Rooms, p.136), Josh Widdicombe (Assembly, p.121), Michael Che (The Stand, p.138) and Reginald D Hunter (Pleasance, p.156) will also bring their material to the festival in 2015. Jo Brand, Phill Jupitus, Mark Thomas, Susan Calman, Bridget Christie, Liz Lochhead, Arthur Smith, Fred MacAulay and more will come together for special night of comedy celebrating the great talent that was Linda Smith in Loving Linda Smith Gala Concert: In Aid of Target Ovarian Cancer (The Assembly Rooms, p.131).
Recognisable names will also be treading the boards across Edinburgh. Renowned Hollywood and Scottish actor John Hannah will take to the stage as a mysterious illusionist in the UK premiere of the Bulgarian playThe Titanic Orchestra (Pleasance, p.375). Meanwhile actors widely known for their roles in Hollywood will travel from across the pond to perform at the Fringe. Valorie Curry and Sam Underwood will star in One Day When We Were Young by Nick Payne (Assembly, p.354) a two-hander set in the period of World War Two. Renowned virtuoso percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie and acclaimed Russian visual artist Maria Rud deliver an unforgettable sound and image fusion in The Animotion Show (George Heriot’s School Quad, p.204). A cast led by Kevin McNally will lovingly recreate BBC Radio 4’s hit Hancock’s Half Hour – The Missing Hancocks: Live in Edinburgh (The Assembly Rooms, p.141), bringing back to life missing episodes rediscovered by actor Neil Pearson.
The Fringe is a great level playing field, providing an opportunity for emerging talent to rub shoulders and share facilities with established stars, for new material to be tested and new talent to be discovered. Ones to watch in 2015 include Fern Brady: People Are Idiots (The Stand, p.93), Rhys James: Remains(Pleasance, p.156) Michael J Dolan: Miserable Guts (The Stand, p.138) and Susie McCabe: The Drugs Don’t Work (The Stand, p.172).
England cricket hero Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff will make his Fringe debut with Freddie Flintoff 2nd Innings(Pleasance, p.284), joined on stage by comedy writer Clyde Holcroft in an unscripted trip down memory lane offering insights into the world of cricket. One of the best known British parliamentarians and Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow will discuss his career, the role of the Speaker and the future of Westminster (University of Edinburgh Business School, p.209). Ricky Tomlinson: Guilty My Arse (The Assembly Rooms, p.288) is a no holds barred conversation with Ricky Tomlinson about how he and his building site workmates were stitched up and sentenced to three years imprisonment in 1973, in a trial that in today’s money cost around £10 million. Meanwhile Fashion and the Selfie Culture (Stand in the Square, p.284) debates the role that fashion plays in stereotyping ideals of beauty by looking at the rise of the ‘me, me, me’ selfie culture and asking whether empathy can ever change the strict doctrines of current beauty codes. Jon Ronson: So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed (The Assembly Rooms, p.286) is an illustrated one-man show about the renaissance of public shaming. Author of the successful book The Psychopath Test, Jon Ronson has spent three years with people who have been torn apart on Twitter, or have been part of tearing someone apart on Twitter, and is ready to tell the tale.
THEME: POLITICS AND POLITICIANS
In the year of the general election, politics and politicians are a key theme. The premiere of Walking the Tightrope: The Tension between Art and Politics (Underbelly, p.382) will see short political plays by the likes of Caryl Churchill, Neil LaBute and Timberlake Wertenbaker followed by a post-show panel discussion exploring the freedom of expression in the UK arts today. Another series of political short plays by leading writers will take to the stage at Summerhall in Theatre Uncut (p.373). When Blair had Bush and Bunga(Pleasance, p.384) is a new comedy by Patrick Ryecart about mistaken identities, unruly maids, a marauding US president and a phone call from the Pope. Written and directed by RADA graduates and founders of Hell Bent Theatre Company, UKIP! The Musical (SpaceUK, p.277) uses satire and original music. A brand new show So That’s What We Voted For? (Assembly Rooms, p.167) takes a look back at the past year in Scottish politics using stand-up, chat and comment. A satirical look on the life and politics of Boris Johnson in Boris: World King (p.302) will play at the Pleasance Courtyard. Comedian and impressionist Matt Forde, fresh from his appearance in BBC Two’s Rory Bremner’s Election Report, will look at the outcome of the election in Get the Political Party Started (Pleasance, p.137). Chris Mullin: The Art of Political Leadership (The Assembly Rooms, p.283) sees political diarist and former Labour minister Chris Mullin examine the qualities of the great British political leaders of the twentieth century and question whether today’s politicians are minnows by comparison.
THEME: FATHER AND CHILD RELATIONSHIPS
The father and child relationship is a common theme in this year’s programme. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Family (p.333), a one-man show about love, loss and the search of a father by UK poetry slam champion Ben Norris will play at Underbelly, Cowgate. Comedian Jimmy McGhie brings his show Jimmy McGhie – Winged Goddess of Victory (Pleasance, p.117) to Edinburgh and confronts masculinity, early childhood humiliations and the sins of the father. TheatreState blend video and performance in their showTribute Acts (Assembly, p.379) asking the question, are we all a tribute act of our fathers? John-Luke Roberts presents Stdad-Up (PBH’s Free Fringe / Voodoo Rooms, p.120) a comedy show about having and then not having a father while John Hastings: Marked from the Start (Pleasance, p.119) looks at what’s brought him and his father close together, and becoming a godfather to his nephew. So It Goes (Underbelly, p.368) the wordless, 2014 sell-out hit returns for one week only and tells a moving and frank true story about the loss of a father.
THEME: POPULAR MUSICIANS AND POPULAR CULTURE
Shows based on, and inspired by, musicians and popular culture also feature heavily at this year’s festival.Five Feet in Front (The Ballad of Little Johnnie Wylo) (Summerhall, p.324) is inspired by the lyrics to Eminem’s seminal hit Stan and tells a tale of obsession, murder and tragedy. Lennon: Through a Glass Onion (Assembly Hall, p.246) celebrates the genius and music of John Lennon. This year also sees the first stage performance of John Lennon’s In His Own Write (PBH’s Free Fringe / The Voodoo Rooms, p.340) while cabaret artist Michael Griffiths will perform Annie Lennox’s unforgettable songs from her time with the Eurythmics and her solo career in Sweet Dreams: Songs by Annie Lennox (Assembly, p.22). Regular Music and National Theatre of Scotland’s Janis Joplin: Full Tilt (p.338) will play at The Queen’s Hall in the form of part theatre, part live gig following its success at last year’s Fringe, winning Best Performance Award at the UK’s 2014 Musical Theatre Network Awards. A play based on the story of The Beatles’ road manager and his personal involvement with the band A Life with the Beatles (p.343) by Italian playwright Davide Verazzani will play at Sweet Grassmarket.
THEME: WOMEN’S EXPERIENCE
The experiences of girls and women in the past and present is also a prominent theme. A new writing piece,Brute (Underbelly, p.303) takes a look at the experience of a new girl who’s just started at an all-girls state school in a provincial English town, and how girls are treated at school. Girl from Nowhere (Pleasance, p.328), set in Texas in 1969 tells the story of rock singer Jeannie, and the small-town values of a home she’s outgrown. This new play looks at how women were treated in the 1960s, often recognised for their bodies more than their talent. Where Do Little Birds Go? (Underbelly, p.384) is a one-woman play based on the true story of an 18 year old woman abducted by the Kray twins in London in the 1960s, and looks at the exploitation of women. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (Underbelly, p.384) is written and performed by Rebecca Crookshank based on her time in the Royal Air Force serving Queen and Country, and what it means to be a woman in that role. Women’s Hour (Summerhall, p.387) is a piece of comedy and performance art theatre which asks questions such as what happens when women are given a whole hour a day to think about what it is to be a woman.
THEME: CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE ENVIRONMENT
Climate change, ecological disasters and the environment are also major themes in 2015. FellSwoop Theatre’s piece Current Location (Summerhall, p.312) presents an allegorical response to the ongoing and ever-increasing number of ecological disasters. Baba Brinkman’s Rap Guide to Climate Chaos (Gilded Balloon, p.361) takes a comedic look at global warming, identifying which people are in a better position to capitalise on it, and which species can do well from it. Martin Kiszko’s Green Poems for a Blue Planet(Gilded Balloon, p.284) is a dramatic stand-up performance poetry accompanied by Wallace and Gromit creator Nick Park’s images, based on their books Green Poems for a Blue Planet and Verse for the Earth. Northern Stage’s Going Viral (Summerhall, p.329) explores how things such as disease, panic and idea spread. Rhapsody In Green by Mike Maran (Valvona & Crolla, p.362) is a one-man show and emotional declaration of love for the wilderness, which celebrates the life and work of mountaineer, pioneering environmentalist, founder of the American national parks and storyteller, John Muir. Fausted (C venues, p.322) from Fitchburg State University, USA, is a story about an environmentalist who resorts to summoning the devil to help save mankind.
THEME: MENTAL HEALTH – DEMENTIA AND ALZHEIMERS
Mental health, often a common theme, is once again prominent within the programme, with many works specifically relating to dementia. The world premiere adaptation of Sarah Moore Fitzgerald’s novel about Alzheimer’s and time travel Back to Blackbrick (Pleasance, p.296) has a live original folk score. Bedsocks and Secrets (Spotlites, p.298) deals with the controversial subject of dementia care, exploring the changing relationship between a mother and son as her symptoms worsen and his feelings of guilt and isolation spiral.Tomorrow (Traverse, p.376) is a profound, original meditation on needing care and needing to care, telling the story of a young man who suddenly finds himself in an alarming unfamiliar place, where everyone has his best interests at heart but he is not allowed to leave. Spillikin – A Love Story (Pleasance, p.368) is a play with four actors, live music and a real robot, about one man’s attempt to make a better version of himself to look after his wife, who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, when he’s gone. Camera Obscura – A Way of Seeing (C venues, p.188) by the Street Dance Club is an emotionally-charged performance which moves sensitively through the shadows of grief and loss experienced in dementia.
A number of new works based around gender will play a part in this year’s Fringe. Trans Scripts(Pleasance, p.378) created from actual interviews will explore gender identity through the struggles and triumphs of six transgender women. The Gospel According to Jesus, Queen of Heaven (Summerhall, p.330) is written and performed by trans playwright, performer and poet Jo Clifford. Bread is shared, wine is drank and familiar stories are reimagined by a transgender Jesus. The Traverse Theatre will present the world premiere of Swallow (Traverse, p.371), a new play by Stef Smith which takes a long, hard look at the extremes of modern life with questions of identity, heartbreak and hope. From the Czech Republic Boys Who Like to Play With Dolls (DanceBase, p.187) is contemporary dance show set in a world in which masculinity and femininity are unrelated to male and female forms, attacking conventions and clichés of gender.
Sexuality is also a key theme. By the Bi (Spotlites, p.187) uses a unique cohesion of modern dance, physicalised movement and spoken word, and unpacks how society’s isolation of bisexual culture perpetuates harmful and hurtful stereotypes of bisexuality that include confusion, greediness and promiscuity. The International Stud (C venues, p.337) is an award-winning play which follows drag queen Arthur on his search for love in the backrooms of the 1980s gay scene. These Troubled Times (C venues, p.374) is a comedic and irreverent exploration of homophobia, religion and the meaning of family. How to Keep an Alien (p.334) will make its debut at the Traverse. Based on a true story, Irish Sonya meets Australian Kate and they fall in love, just weeks before Kate’s visa is up and she must leave Ireland. Together they have to find a way to prove to the Department of Immigration that they have the right to live together.
A range of notable performance companies and production houses will bring their work to the Fringe in 2015. The UK’s premiere centre for contemporary dance The Place will make their Fringe debut with Idiot-Syncrasy (Summerhall, p.194). Fuel Theatre Company will bring four pieces of work to the Fringe this year.Portrait (Pleasance, p.359) and I am Not Myself These Days (Pleasance, p.336) will premiere at the festival and Fiction (Pleasance, p.323) will play after its sold out run at Battersea Arts Centre. Fuel is also Associate Producer on Clod Ensemble’s The Red Chair (Summerhall, p.362). Shakespeare’s Globemakes their Fringe debut this year with two shows from Globe Education’s family-friendly series – Romeo and Juliet (The Party Planner’s Tale) and Titus Andronicus (The Piemaker’s Tale) (Pleasance, p.44). The two shows will be co-presented with Seabright Productions. Northern Stage’s work will play at Summerhall for the first time. Here is the News From Over There (Over There is News from Here) – A Borderless Twitter Ballad Fresh from the Middle East (p.333) is a new story from Middle Eastern and UK writers told in the form of tweets, music and contemporary storytelling. Paines Plough will return to the Fringe producing and co-producing a number of shows including Our Teacher’s a Troll (Summerhall, p.41)The Human Ear (Summerhall, p.335) Every Brilliant Thing (Summerhall, p.320) and Lungs (Summerhall, p.345).
Music forms 14% of this year’s programme, with a diverse mix of genres for audiences to choose from. Ali Affleck’s Speakeasy Sessions, New Orleans Jazz and Blues, Moody Moonshine (Outhouse, p.223) promises to transport music lovers to the prohibition era with the early jazz and blues divas. Africa Live!(Central Hall, p.222) showcases some of the very best African music today, featuring a new line-up every night. Film, TV and West End star Anita Harris (Brunton Theatre, p.224) sings her favourite songs every night while the Edinburgh Youth Chamber Orchestra with Julian and Jiaxin Lloyd Webber (Greyfriars Kirk, p.238) will perform the greats – Haydn, Mozart, Elgar and more. Award-winning a cappella group The Sons of Pitches (Gilded Balloon, p.260) will sing live in Edinburgh after their huge success on YouTube.Alien Lullabies – Songs from a Decaying Future (Summerhall, p.223) merges 3D animation and off-world electronica and stunning live vocals to evolve into a multimedia artwork. The Edinburgh International Conference Centre will play host to the China Conservatory Orchestra 2015 Concert (Venue [email protected], p.234) a Chinese folk music show representing over three thousand years of tradition using several traditional instruments such as Bangdi, Liuqin and Zheng.
A variety of musicals will take to the stage at this year’s Fringe. Award-winning satirical musical Urinetown(Assembly, p.278) tells the tale of a town fit to burst, where peeing is a privilege and no relief is rent free. 2 Become 1 (C venues, p.277) is a comedy pop-musical following four 90s girls embarking on a wild night of speed dating, full of infectious pop anthems and ballads. Telling the life story of poet Robert Burns A Man’s a Man (Clifton Hall, p.272) stars award-winning traditional Scots singers Claire Hastings and Robyn Stapleton, and introduces Kieran Bain as Burns. After Freedom: New Rhythms of Soweto (Central Hall, p.266) brings mind-blowing energy, fresh vibes and enticing rhythms from South Africa, blending tribal and urban andAround the World, My Journey Continued After You Left (New Town Theatre, p.266), is a new musical from award-winning Chinese director Zhao Miao and tells the story of a lost love and the journey made to rediscover life.
There are 807 free shows taking part in this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe. There are three organisations producing most of the free shows in the Fringe programme; PBH’s Free Fringe, the Laughing Horse Free Festival and La Favorita’s Freestival. PBH’s free line-up includes Butt Kapinski (PBH’s Free Fringe / Liquid Room Annexe, p. 71) who invites the audience to co-star in a film noir fantasia. Harry Baker – The Sunshine Kid (PBH’s Free Fringe / Banshee Labyrinth, p.285) follows Harry’s journey to becoming the youngest ever World Poetry Slam Champion with raw honesty and tongue-in-cheek humour. Phill Jupitus is Porky the Poet in Apologist Now! (PBH’s Free Fringe / Liquid Room Annexe, p.288) sees Phill Jupitus return with his poetic alter-ego. The Laughing Horse Free Festival’s shows include Abigoliah’s GoPro Comedy Talk Show! (The Laughing Horse Free Festival / The Free Sisters, p.26), a devised talk show involving the audience which is filmed and then uploaded to the internet to share. Chris Martin: This Show has a Soundtrack (The Laughing Horse Free Festival / The Free Sisters, p.75) sees observationalist stand-up perform to an original soundtrack. Freestival also host a number of acts including Canadian Rasta Oh It’s That Guy! Comedian Matt Henry (St Mary’s, p.147). The Glummer Twins (Fingers Piano Bar, p.284) put the 21st century to rights using rock, rhyme and poetry.
International work from 45 countries will travel to the festival city this August to take part in the Fringe. A showcase of four pieces of work from Finland will play at the festival, in Start to Finnish. Loranga, Masarin and Dartanjang (Pleasance, p.37) is a play for families based on Barbro Lindgren’s award-winning novel while The Outsider (New Town Theatre, p.355) uses the visual style of silent films, taking them into a contemporary format, forming a delightful fantasy for grown-ups. The Year of the Hare (Pleasance, p.387) tells the story of a middle-aged, middle-class hero who works 12-hour days in his office cubicle, when an eccentric hare re-awakens his lust for life. Finishing the showcase, a sell-out hit in Finland Dark Side of the Mime (Assembly, p.82) is an audacious, dark and dirty romp full of raunchy humour and a new kind of mimical clownery.
The Taiwan Season will present Gaze of the Kavaluan (DanceBase, p.201), a contemporary dance piece exploring self, art and sexuality and the traditions of female chastity among indigenous Paiwan and Rukai people. The Paper Play (Summerhall, p.45) is a double bill for younger audiences and their families, exploring the incredible storytelling power of ordinary paper.
Assembly will host a Korean season with a programme of five shows across three genres – theatre, dance and a children’s show. One Fine Day (Assembly, p.197) sees one of Korea’s most celebrated contemporary dance companies, EDx2 Dance Company, present two of their most acclaimed works in a tender and playful double bill. PAN (Assembly, p.356) is a Korean word meaning ‘festival’. This performance fuses modern and traditional drumming and dance with colourful exuberance and folksy sensibility.
A variety of work will come from the Czech Republic, including Czech Dance Piece of the Year Correction(Zoo, p.189) which uses humour, passion and live music by Clarinet Factory, and puts seven performers in a perfect line and shows that limits can result in comfort, relief and happiness. Cirk La Putyka will make their UK debut with Dolls (Underbelly, p.190) using multidiscipline masters of trapeze, acrobatics and contemporary dance from Prague presenting stories of obsession, joy and longing.
Fourteen shows will come from France including Skins and Hoods (Institut franҫais d’Ecosse, p.367), a new writing multimedia theatre piece by Gustave Akakpo performed by Cie du Veilleur. Oh Là Là! Starring Isabelle Georges (Assembly, p.20) features the Parisian cabaret star embarking on a passionate journey through the French repertoire and beyond, with a five-piece band. Homme │Animal (Greenside, p.193) is a breathtaking dance piece about the animal in all of us and our complicated emotional states, while Cathedral Chamber Music – Piano (St Mary’s Cathedral, p.232) sees exciting young French pianist Louise Cournarie perform music by Handel, Schubert and Mendelssohn.
Germany will also bring an eclectic mix of shows to the Fringe including The Power of Music (SpaceUK, p.255) about the unsung heroes of music – jingle writers. Portraits in Motion (Summerhall, p.359) witnesses performer Volker Gerling recount the stories of people he met while walking over 3,500 km through Germany, creating photographic flip books. Fold (SpaceUK, p.192) from Hong Kong presents a striking innovative piece uniting the art of origami and dance. Ireland has a strong presence at this year’s Fringe with shows including an adaptation of Eimear McBride’s A Girl is a Half-formed Thing (Traverse, p.328) by The Corn Exchange, adapted for the stage by Annie Ryan and Little Thing, Big Thing (Assembly, p.344) – a thriller with an ex-con and a nun chased through Ireland for a roll of film.
Japan will bring 20 shows to the Fringe this year. Siro-A (Assembly, p.199) uses dance, technology and music to create a visual sensation on a whole new frequency for all the family and Messages from Japan / Super-cussion (SpaceUK, p.250) a unique drum show of Japanese traditional music created by an ensemble of drummers. Mexico will bring Vagabond (New Town Theatre, p.47) a children’s story of three vagabonds in search of happiness and how a dandelion transforms the meaning of their lives.
Russia will also present a colourful, interactive, dance-acrobatic family show to the festival named Colors(Spotlites, p.31) exploring the values of friendship, equality of rights, understanding and love. Russian performer Nastya Rybachuk’s premiere of her provocative and witty show For Big Boys Only (St John’s, p.15) uncovers the linguistic layers of a Russian doll, using a showcase of pop-art poems.
Science stand-up comedian Lieven Scheire comes from Belgium with The Wonderful World of Lieven Scheire (Gilded Balloon, p.184). Aunty Donna return from Australia with a new comedy sketch show (Gilded Balloon, p.59) and South African comedian Tats Nkonzo: The African with Wifi (Pleasance, p.172) will perform his UK and Edinburgh debut.
BRITISH COUNCIL SHOWCASE
Thirty companies from around the UK will come together for the 2015 British Council Showcase, a snapshot of the diverse work currently being created in the UK. The main programme includes devised, visual and physical theatre; new writing; live art and installation; interactive and immersive theatre; and dance theatre. The programme will be presented to a delegation of visiting international programmers so that a new global audience can experience British performances. The showcase includes Edinburgh Fringe First Winner Bryony Kimmings’ new work about clinical depression and men, Fake It ‘Til You Make It (Traverse p.321), Ramesh Meyyappan’s Butterfly (Greenside, p.304) a striking adaptation of Madame Butterfly told with beautiful, handcrafted puppets and Backstage in Biscuit Land (Pleasance, p.296), a two-woman show which explores disability through comedy, puppetry and song.
MADE IN SCOTLAND
Twenty-one companies and artists will take part in 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 The Secret Life of Suitcases(Scottish Storytelling Centre, p.44) about a character called Larry whose world is turned upside down by a fantastical flying suitcase. On the dance front, Douglas (Zoo Venues, p.190) is both a reflection on human physical contact with the world and a lo-fi take on choreography that extends beyond the body. And as a part of the music programme, Dedicated (Broughton High School, p.237) refines the modern classical music scene with original music dedicated to the lives and achievements of pioneering women from throughout history.
BBC AT THE FRINGE
The BBC returns to Edinburgh to broadcast 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.
A number of national TV and radio networks will broadcast from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe during August. There will be a brand new show with Kaye Adams (BBC Scotland), while Janice Forsyth (BBC Scotland)Simon Mayo Drivetime (Radio 2) and In Tune (Radio 3) will return to the city to broadcast their shows live. Radio 1’s Fun and Filth Cabaret (Radio 1) Front Row and Just A Minute (Radio 4), Afternoon Edition(Radio 5 Live), Shaun Keveney (Radio 6 Music), and Asian Network’s Big Comedy Night (Asian Network) will also make appearances.
The Fringe Society’s Participant Centre, Fringe Central, will be split across two buildings in 2015. For the seventh consecutive year the University of Edinburgh’s Appleton Tower will host practical resources and facilities including a café/ bar for participants and will be home to the Fringe Society’s Media Office. For the first time the University of Edinburgh’s David Hume Tower will also be utilised to house the Fringe Society’s Arts Industry Office and event and rehearsal room facilities. Fringe Central offers an unrivalled, unique and a completely free programme of professional and career development opportunities for everyone participating in a Fringe show.
Following the success of the ticket collection point based at Edinburgh Airport last year, with over 14,000 tickets were picked up, the collection point will return to domestic arrivals in the terminal building. From 04 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. There are over 20 collection points throughout the city open during the Fringe. For a list, and for more information please go to edfringe.com.
VIRGIN MONEY STREET EVENTS
The Royal Mile and The Mound will once again be vibrant focal points where street entertainers busk and perform extracts of their shows on the cobbles, thanks to the support of Virgin Money. Over 250 shows will take place between the two locations every day between 11am and 9pm, providing a carnival atmosphere in the streets of the festival city. Last year over 6,000 separate performances by 912 groups across 22 performance spaces took place outdoors in Edinburgh, as a part of the Fringe.
Fringe Facts 2015
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2015 features 50,459 performances (up from 49,497 last year) of 3,314 shows (up from 3,193 shows last year) in 313 venues (up from 299 venues last year).
Comedy makes up 34% (compared to 34.5% last year)
Theatre makes up 27% (compared to 27.5% last year)
Music makes up 14% (compared to 13.1% last year)
Musicals and Opera makes up 3% (compared to 3.4% last year)
Children’s Shows make up 5% (compared to 5% last year)
Dance, Circus and Physical Theatre makes up 4% (compared to 3.6% last year)
Events make up 4% (compared to 4.3% last year)
Cabaret and Variety makes up 4% (compared to 3.2% last year)
Spoken Word makes up 4% (compared to 3.9% last year)
Exhibitions make up 2% (compared to 1.6% last year)
There are 807 free shows, 1,778 premieres and 49 different countries represented.