Edinburgh Festival Fringe gets underway with over 700 in-person and online shows

The world-renowned Edinburgh Festival Fringe officially comes to life with an exciting hybrid programme of over 700 in-person and online shows.

From 06 – 30 August, Edinburgh will once again be host to a diverse and exciting selection of work from the worlds of theatre, dance, circus, comedy, music, musicals and opera, cabaret and variety, children’s shows, spoken word, exhibitions, events and more.

This year’s Fringe also features a scaled-back programme of street events in managed locations; a range of community engagement work, including the return of Fringe Days Out; and a programme of activity for artists and arts industry professionals via Fringe Connect and Fringe Marketplace.

All work is being delivered in strict accordance with Scottish Government covid-19 guidance, to ensure a safe, secure and enjoyable festival for artists, audiences and residents. More information can be found below.

Commenting on the launch of the festival, Shona McCarthy, Chief Executive, Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, said: “The Fringe is always a remarkable feat, but this year, it’s nothing short of extraordinary. In the face of complex restrictions and enormous challenges, the Fringe community has created a diverse and engaging programme of over 700 shows to entertain us, bring us joy, and ultimately, do what culture does best: tell stories that help us understand where we are, what we’ve been through, and where we need to go. I’m enormously proud of the artists, venues, creatives and workers that have made this festival not only possible, but safe, engaging and entertaining. It’s so good to be celebrating the Fringe again this August, and I’d like to thank every artist, producer, worker, audience member, funder, sponsor and supporter that has got us here today.”

Phoebe Waller-Bridge, President, Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, said:“The Edinburgh Fringe is back. In an act of pure artistic heroism, the Fringe Society and thousands of artists, writers, dancers, actors, designers, comedians, musicians and creatives have fought to bring this festival back to the streets of glorious, glittering Edinburgh. We have a lot of time to make up for and this festival is more than ready for you. With hundreds of live and online events you can see as many shows in a week than you would have in the whole of last year and we are finally able to reconnect, inspire, surprise, and entertain each other like we used to. I have never wanted to have a leaflet thrusted at me more. We’re being offered a giant cultural sprinkler after a year of drought and I can’t wait to jump through it, shrieking, with you all.”

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.

Around 440 shows are taking place in person. Many shows are taking place in new, creative outdoor locations across Edinburgh, including a football ground, a car park and a racecourse.

Familiar Fringe operators such as Acoustic Music Centre, Assembly, Dance Base, French Institute, Gilded Balloon, Laughing Horse Free Festival, Monkey Barrel, PBH’s Free Fringe, Pleasance, Scottish Storytelling Centre, the Stand, theSpaceUK, Summerhall and Zoo are all taking part in this year’s festival with physical spaces in the city.

All in-person performances will be fully Covid compliant, following the latest guidelines on social distancing, mask wearing, ventilation and hygiene.

Currently, live events must operate at one-metre distancing. On 09 August, Scotland moves to level zero and restrictions on distancing will be dropped.

Every Fringe venue operates individually. For up to date information on capacity and distancing at individual Fringe shows, please check with the relevant venue.

In an exciting move for the festival, more than 260 shows are taking place online, providing a global platform for artists, while enhancing the Fringe’s commitment to accessibility and sustainability.

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.

Audiences can view Fringe shows on online platforms including the new Fringe Player streamed by Brightcove (NASDAQ: BCOV), the global leader in video for business. Available via edfringe.com, this bespoke digital platform offers an easy-to-use viewing experience for audiences whilst giving artists a platform to present and showcase their work digitally. The player will be accessible to audiences from 06 Aug, with auto-subtitling 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.

The city’s world-famous street events are returning this year, with a scaled-back programme of live performances.

A fantastic starting point for any Fringe-goer, events will run daily from 11.30am until 8.30pm in the High Street’s designated Fringe safe street performance area, West Parliament Square.

There will also be a programme of activity on the Mound, as well as additional opportunities for buskers and other street artists well known in the Fringe landscape.

All performances will be delivered in accordance with current and relevant Covid guidelines. Limits on audience numbers will be introduced in line with social distancing, and event details will be published online to audiences in advance to allow them to plan.

Strict hygiene measures will also be in place, including masks and sanitisation, to help everyone enjoy the events safely.

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The Reviews Hub - Scotland

The Scotland team is under the editorship of Lauren Humphreys. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. We aim to review all professional types of theatre, whether that be Commercial, Repertory or Fringe as well as Comedy, Music, Gigs etc.

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