The 2002 Edinburgh Fringe programme, published today, features a number of "art imitates life" productions, not least a clutch of premieres inspired by 11 September. The 56th annual Festival Fringe, running this year from 4 to 26 August, includes 1,491 shows in total, 40% of which are premieres (25% world, 5% European and 10% UK premieres).

Last year's attack on the World Trade Center resonates throughout the programme. Project 9/11 relates seven personal accounts of living in New York City on the day of the disaster, while Jumpers follows four New Yorkers coping with its aftermath. Dance, poetry and music are used to examine the ramifications of the terrorism in Bodies in Crisis, as are physical theatre techniques in The Art of War.

American political provocateur Michael Moore delivers his own take on the events in his first ever live one-man show, and drag-star Tina C performs a biting satire on the media reaction to the event in her Twin Towers Tribute. Media fairness and accuracy in the wake of the attacks also figure in Correspondent, The Critics and Safety.

Other highlights of the Fringe theatre programme include: Morris Panych's Aunty and Me, starring comedian Alan Davies; new plays by Rona Munro (Iron) and David Greig (Outlying Islands) at the Traverse Theatre; the premiere of My Matisse by the creative team behind Picasso's Women; Zipp, 90 minutes of the best and worst of musical theatre with Gyles Brandreth; the BAC hit Jerry Springer - the Opera; 5678, a slasher take on the musical Fame; and numerous World Cup-inspired productions, such as Theatrum Botanicum's outdoor event The Boy with Magic Feet and The World Cup Is Not Enough.

Commenting on the launch of the 2002 programme, Fringe director Paul Gudgin said: "It's headlines that sell shows at the Fringe, but this year the headlines are the inspiration for many of the shows themselves. Supporting this strong news theme, however, is an exceptional programme of home-grown and international performances."

Over the four weeks, there will be a total of 20,342 performances involving 11,713 performers from 619 companies in 183 venues. A quarter of the productions are presented by groups from abroad (a 3% increase on the 2001 festival). Theatre, including musical and dance theatre, comprises 46% of the entire programme, the most popular art form of all.

More than half a million people plan their August holidays each year around a trip to Edinburgh. Though commonly seen as one single festival, the event is in reality several different festivals - the main ones being the original Edinburgh International Festival, the Edinburgh Fringe, the Military Tattoo, the Jazz Festival, the Film Festival and the Book Festival - of which the Fringe is, by far, the largest. The Edinburgh International Festival, parent to the Fringe, runs this year from 11 to 31 August.

To access the full 2002 Edinburgh Fringe programme, visit the festival website.

- by Terri Paddock