Theatre News

Programme launched for 2015 Edinburgh Fringe

This year’s festival features a record 3,314 shows

This year's festival slogan is 'What The Fringe?!'
This year's festival slogan is 'What The Fringe?!'
(© Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society)

The programme has been launched for the 2015 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, which runs in the Scottish capital from 7 to 31 August – in tandem, for the first time, with its parent the Edinburgh International Festival (EIF).

The figures are once again eye-watering. This year will see 50,459 performances of 3,314 shows from 49 countries in 313 venues across Edinburgh.

The number of shows reflects a 3.8% increase on last year's programme, with 14 new venues becoming involved in the Fringe this year.

Kath M Mainland, chief executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, described it as the "largest, oldest, most well renowned festival in the world".

"Every year we think we know what it’s going to deliver," she added, "but every year it surprises, delights, amazes and inspires. The Fringe is a festival like no other."

The growth of circus is reflected in the launch of new spaces including Underbelly's Circus Hub, formed of two big tops called The Lafayette and The Beauty situated on the Meadows in the city's Southside.

Adjacent to this, the 'Big Sexy Circus City' will feature an "immersive circus landscape with shows taking place in marquees."

See Also: All you need to know about the Edinburgh Fringe

In keeping with the Fringe's rich tradition of shows being performed in unexpected places, a double-decker bus – Bob's BlundaBus – will be parked on South College Street hosting shows throughout the Fringe, and will go 'on the road' around town every Wednesday.

The Gilded Balloon, one of the Fringe's biggest venues, will celebrate its 30th anniversary with a star studded gala at the Edinburgh Playhouse featuring famous Fringe faces such as Johnny Vegas, Ross Noble and Alan Davies.

Other big names heading to the Fringe this year include comedians Jo Brand, Sue Perkins, Marcus Brigstocke and Reginald D Hunter, as well as cricketer Freddie Flintoff and House of Commons speaker John Bercow.

On the theatre front, Shakespeare's Globe makes its Fringe debut this year with two family-friendly productions – Romeo and Juliet (The Party Planner's Tale) and Titus Andronicus (The Piemaker's Tale) at Pleasance.

As previously reported, Northern Stage’s work will play at Summerhall for the first time. Meanwhile, the British Council Showcase includes Fringe First winner Bryony Kimmings' new work about clinical depression and men, Fake It 'Til You Make It at the Traverse.

The Traverse also hosts the 10th anniversary production of Tim Crouch's An Oak Tree, the world premiere of Swallow by Olivier award-winner Stef Smith and Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour, a new musical based on Alan Warner's novel The Sopranos directed by Vicky Featherstone and adapted by Lee Hall.

Michael Coveney writes:

Kath M Mainland, chief executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, dashed down from the Scottish launch yesterday to herald this year's record-breaking programme in the august premises of the British Academy behind the ICA in the Mall.

She reiterated the open access status of the fringe – "We don't control it, we underpin it" – and hopes that her office supports, encourages and advises anyone who wants to take part. She is particularly committed to accessibility issues on behalf of the physically and socially disadvantaged as well as the geographically remote, and is proud of the fringe's internationalism: this year, 49 countries are represented.

With the drinks and canapés came a taster of a new star, possibly, at the Pleasance this year: Jess Robinson, is a mighty atom of an impressionist singer, offering a medley of old school divas from Liza Minelli to Shirley Bassey, and she's supported by a wistful no-hoper (the description would be hers, not mine) of a tentative folk singer, Kirsty Newton.

Here was the alpha and omega of the fringe in a nutshell: brash, brassy, "I can do anything" optimism and the more downbeat, apologetic submission of talent by stealth.

Look out for our list of Edinburgh Fringe picks. For more on the Edinburgh Festivals visit