Among the big names involved in the theatre line-up this year are: Oscar-winning actress Emma Thompson, who's producing a show about sex trafficking; Simon Callow, playing the bard in one-man show Shakespeare – the Man from Stratford; glamour model-turned-actress Abi Titmuss, starring in an anniversary revival of John Godber's Up 'n' Under; Gyles Brandreth, who has written a new piece based on Alice in Wonderland; and Clarke Peters, who leads the cast in a revival of his Olivier Award-winning musical Five Guys Named Moe, which transfers home to London’s Theatre Royal Stratford East immediately after the festival.
As well as the shows, there a several venue changes this year. Foremost among them, Assembly Rooms, as part of its 30th birthday celebrations, has created a new venue in the city's Princes Street Gardens, which will feature music, comedy, theatre and cabaret as well as an outdoor programme of free. After a year off for maintenance, the Famous Spiegeltent returns in George Square, where the Musical Theatre @ George Square, which for the past few years has been the only Fringe venue dedicated exclusively to musicals, is no more, replaced by C Plaza, an extension C venues.
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 Film Festival and the Book Festival - of which the Fringe is, by far, the largest, representing 75 percent of the overall festival market share and annually generating around £75 million for the local economy.
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