10 families performing on stage together at the Edinburgh Fringe

Edinburgh is a great destination for the family – especially when you’re all on stage together!

Beth Vyse and Siblings
Beth Vyse and Siblings
© Right: idil Sukan, Myles Trimble

In terms of theatre families, the apple doesn't often fall far from the tree. This Festival there's a raft of Edinburgh shows that feature mothers, daughters, sisters, grandparents and cousins, delighting audiences across the month of August. Here are our top picks for families that are appearing together on stage.

1. Old Boy

Old Boy
Old Boy
© Brian Hartley

This piece looks as wholesome as they come. Performed by real-life grandfathers and grandsons Sam Murray and Peter Hennessey, Kai Johnstone and Les Johnstone, Eoin Mackenzie and Eoin McIntyre, the piece explores legacies, relationships and how notions of masculinity have altered through the ages.

Scottish Storytelling Centre, 18 to 19, 24 to 26 August, 11am

2. Tabarnak

© Audric Gagnon

Cirque Alfonse are a French-Canadian troupe that epitomise family values by doing things the old-fashioned way – before circus schools existed most troupes were formed from families after all. Here, three generations of circus performers come together to celebrate all things performance, with a variety of juggling, acrobatics and music on show. Originally the company was created when two siblings, Antoine and Julie, hatched a plan to put their father on stage for his 60th birthday, and 13 years later and they're still going – they had a smash hit with their Barbu in 2015, and return to the Edinburgh with new show Tabarnak.

Circus Hub, 4 to 25 August, 7pm

3. Unconditional

Unconditional by ThisEgg
Unconditional by ThisEgg

Already appearing on one of our top show lists, Unconditional is another case of an unnervingly talented theatre family coming together (think a form-busting Von Trapp sort of scenario). The piece combines the talents of theatre makers Josie Dale-Jones, Stefanie Mueller and Shôn Dale-Jones (the latter pair the parents of the former, and also co-founders of Hoipolloi theatre company) in an examination of inter-generational campaigns for equality.

Pleasance Courtyard, 1 to 26 August, 2.15pm

4. The Ballad of the Apathetic Son and His Narcissistic Mother

The Ballad of the Apathetic Son and His Narcissistic Mother
The Ballad of the Apathetic Son and His Narcissistic Mother
© Niall Walker

Creating a sense of rapport with an adolescent teenager is no easy feat, but real-life mother Lucy Gaizely and her 15 year-old son Raedie Gaizely-Gardiner have one major thing in common – they both love Sia. Using the Australian pop star's songs, they go on a quest to examine their relationship. Is it going to be Cheap Thrills or The Greatest? Maybe one of them will end up swinging from the chandelier…

Summerhall Main Hall, 14 to 26 August, 1.45pm


© Tatyana Kim

Two hundred thousand Koreans were deported from the Russian-Korean border by the Soviet government in 1937. Eighty-one years later, real-life wife-husband duo Tatyana Kim and Anatoliy Ogay have conceived a piece to explore the issue through the lens of one Soviet soldier of Korean descent. A compelling story, with some striking design ideas.

Underbelly Cowgate, 2 to 26 August, 6.40pm

6. Beth Vyse as Olive Hands: The Hand That Rocked the Cradle

Beth Vyse
Beth Vyse
© Idil Sukan

Beth Vyse has done five years at the Edinburgh Fringe and now comes back with new piece The Hand That Rocked The Cradle, exploring modern-day motherhood through a slightly surreal lens. Her angle? Co-hosting the piece with her baby. What could go wrong.

Monkey Barrel, August 1 to 26, 3.45pm

7. 3 Years, 1 Week and a Lemon Drizzle

3 Years, 1 Week and a Lemon Drizzle
3 Years, 1 Week and a Lemon Drizzle
© The Other Richard

Though the title sounds a bit like it might be about a Bake Off biography, Alexandra and Kate Donnachie have actually created a heartbreaking and hilarious exploration of living with an eating disorder. Real-life sisters blend performance and recollection in what looks like a tough exploration of a pertinent topic.

Underbelly Bristo Square, 1 to 27 August, 2.25pm

8. No Kids

Theatre Ad Infinitum's No Kids
Ad Infinitum's No Kids
(© Image by Pete Moffat with original photography by Alex Brenner)

Ad Infinitum (who used to go by Theatre Ad Infinitum) has long been a Fringe regular and a company with an impressive track record. After their ensemble-led Bucket List a couple of years ago, co-directors, co-writers, co-performers and co-habitors (their pair are a real-life couple) Nir Paldi and George Mann explore the idea of starting a family as a gay couple, and whether or not society is truly open to the idea of two dads.

Pleasance Courtyard, 1 to 27 August, 3.40pm

9. Siblings: Acting Out

© Myles Trimble

Want some absurdist performance fun with a special sibling twist? Step forwards Maddy and Marine Bye, who return to the Edinburgh Fringe after making their debut last year. With material "suitable for anyone who has or has seen a sister", this is family theatre at its most hilarious. Oh and the kicker? The two sisters are daughters of legendary comedian Ruby Wax and producer Ed Bye. Forget running in the family – this is marathon level familial theatre.

Underbelly George Square, 1 to 27 August, 6.40pm

10. The Gruffalo, The Witch and The Warthog

The Gruffalo, the Witch and the Warthog with Julia Donaldson
The Gruffalo, the Witch and the Warthog with Julia Donaldson
© Steve Ullathorne

Julia Donaldson, who created the legendary Gruffalo, may be best known as an author but she has also been known to lend her hand to stagecraft. In this brand new show for the Fringe she brings a cavalcade of her existing characters together in The Gruffalo, The Witch and The Warthog, which will be performed by a cast which includes her husband Malcolm. After a sell-out season a few years ago with her last piece, this looks like a great experience for pre-teens up in Edinburgh.

Underbelly George Square, 2 to 27 August, 11am

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