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Assembly at 30: Not Out Yet

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Assembly celebrated their 30th anniversary on the Fringe with a season launch in the historic Assembly Hall on The Mound. Before the highlights show, founder William Burdett-Coutts recalled the humble beginnings of the now huge venue. Approaching the council for the use of one room in the George Street building. He was offered the use of the entire space. Each year Assembly has grown in size and a staff of 12 has become 350 for the 2010 Fringe.

Australian comedian, Adam Hills introduced a line-up, which included Fascinating Aida, Charlyne Yi,comedian Carl Barron, Gutted, A Revenger's Musical, illusionist Paul Zenon, Abi Titmuss with the cast of Up 'N' Under Julian Cottereau and Zambezi Express. The evening concluded with excerpts from one of Assembly's biggest shows, Soap! The Show.

Also appearing in the Assembly programme: Alan Cumming, Jennifer Coolidge, Ali McGregor, Ardal O'Hanlon, Simon Callow, Kevin Bridges. Frank Skinner hosts The Talk Show featuring performers from Assembly past and present. Veteran performer and producer Guy Masterson returns to his roots by presenting a series of one person plays. Another Fringe veteran Linda Marlowe appears in My Hamlet. Scottish theatre is represented in major adaptations of Sunset Song and The Silver Darlings.

The birthday celebrations continued with a party held in Assembly's newest venue in the Ross Bandstand in Princes Street Gardens. For the first time, a huge entertainment space has been created in the shadow of the Castle.

There is, however, doubt over the future of the main New Town venue. Edinburgh Council has proposals to pay for the refurbishment of the building by turning over ground floor space to retail use. The loss of performance space, say Assembly, would affect the financial viability of the venue.


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