This year's programme reaches 406 pages
This year's programme reaches 406 pages

The programme for the 2014 Edinburgh Fringe has been published, featuring over 3,000 shows for the first time in its history.

This year will see 50,771 performances of 3,193 shows in 299 venues across Scotland's capital, marking an 11% increase on last year's programme.

A number of new and returning venues will be hosting work this year, from Riddle's Court, a 16th-century house set behind the Royal Mile, to the reopened La Belle Angèle on Cowgate, which was destroyed by fire in 2002.

Northern Stage is moving to a new venue at King's Hall on Clerk Street, and the south side of the city also sees new venues Greenside in Nicolson Square and C south on Lutton Place.

The typically eccentric range of venues includes a caravan on Niddry Street with a maximum audience capacity of eight.

Among the big names featured in this year's programme are retired Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman, performing a one-man show titled PAXO, and comedian Jack Dee, who is returning to the Fringe for the first time in 20 years.

The theatre programme at the Traverse includes premieres of work by Owen McCafferty, John McCann, Valentijn Dhaenens and Chris Goode, while "all-round arty mischief-maker" Mark Thomas returns with his new show Cuckooed.

SmallWar, from the creators of 2012 Fringe sell-out BigMouth, is one of a number of shows marking the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War.

"Embodying the spirit of the Festival all year round, the Traverse continues to be a unique landmark on Edinburgh's cultural landscape and is the beating heart of new writing in Scotland," said artistic director Orla O'Loughlin.

Northern Stage, Nancy Dell'Olio and Scottish independence

Northern Stage will host 200 performances and events at their new Clerk Street venue, including artistic director Lorne Campbell's production of David Ireland's "shocking rom-com" I Promise You Sex And Violence.

Nancy Dell'Olio will perform a one-woman show
Nancy Dell'Olio will perform a one-woman show
© Dan Wooller

The company is also collaborating with Paines Plough to present work in their portable Roundabout space at Summerhall.

Fringe stalwart Simon Callow will reprise one of his early solo successes in Juvenalia, about the famed Roman satirist, at Assembly Hall; Nancy Dell'Olio will 'share her secrets to surviving with glamour' at the Gilded Balloon; and, as previously announced, Golden Globe winner Anne Archer will star in The Trial of Jane Fonda at the Assembly Rooms.

A number of shows will tackle the issue of the upcoming Scottish independence referendum. All Back to Bowie's (Stand in the Square) was prompted by the pop legend's supposed comments at the Brit Awards, while MacBraveheart: The Other Scottish Play (Assembly Rooms) is billed as "a dystopian view on Scottish identity and independence".

Comedy continues dominate the Fringe programme, making up 34 percent of the total shows, compared to 28 percent theatre. Other categories include cabaret, spoken word and music.

Kath M Mainland, chief executive of The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, said: "This programme is the culmination of the creativity and hard work of thousands of people. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is many things to many people and part of the success of the Fringe is that whatever you are looking for, and in whatever capacity you are looking, you can almost certainly be satisfied by what you find."

For more information the 2014 Edinburgh Fringe and to book tickets, visit edfringe.com. WhatsOnStage will be covering the Fringe in depth again this year - look out for the launch of our dedicated Edinburgh Festivals site next month