The Edinburgh Fringe, which starts on 5th August, is the largest arts festival in Europe, with thousands of performers converging on the historic Scottish capital for a three-week (Aug. 5-27) burst of theatrical creativity.
Begun as an alternative to the official International Festival, it has in effect become the main event, with the relatively serious and sedate "official" concerts and plays being swamped by the explosion of comedy, drama and music in what used to be a handful of "fringe" (I.e. supplementary to the main program) activities but which have now become the central focus of public and professional interest.
During this period the Fringe takes over Edinburgh, with performers using every conceivable space and, almost, every hour available—even with a time restriction of just over an hour for most shows the venues are occupied and buzzing from 10 AM to the early hours of the following day.
Making a splash at Edinburgh is one of the few ways unknown talents can make an impression on the movers and shakers of the London theatrical scene, many of whom - critics, producers, talent scouts – move up north for the duration. Although the Festival is perhaps best known as a showcase for stand-up comics and for fairly off-the-wall shows it is also a staging post for innovative new drama, for stylish one-man shows (David Benson's take on the late Frankie Howerd is much anticipated) and for interesting young theatre talent.
Theatrenow will be covering theatre events at Edinburgh, both at the International and Fringe festivals, with regular news, critics' round-ups, Fringe Firsts listings and editorial comments over the three weeks of the Festival, as well as the usual front-line reporting from the West End. —by Paul Webb Theatrenow