The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is widely acknowledged to be the biggest arts festival in the world, taking in theatre, comedy, dance, physical theatre, musicals, operas, music and more, and takes place every August for three weeks in Scotland’s capital city.
Now in its 64th year, the Fringe is officially the biggest arts festival in the world, providing a typically diverse and exciting line-up comprising a staggering 2,453 shows throughout the month of August. Thousands of performers take to a multitude of stages all over Edinburgh to present shows for every taste. From big names in the world of entertainment to unknown artists looking to build their careers, the festival caters for everyone and includes theatre, comedy, dance, physical theatre, musicals, operas, music, exhibitions and events.
The Fringe story dates back to 1947, when eight theatre groups turned up uninvited to perform at the (then newly formed) Edinburgh International Festival, an initiative created to celebrate and enrich European cultural life in the wake of the Second World War. Not being part of the official programme of the International festival didn’t stop these performers – they just went ahead and staged their shows anyway. Year on year more and more performers followed their example and in 1959 the Festival Fringe Society was created in response to the success of this growing trend. The Society formalised the existence of this collective of performances, provided information to artists, published the Fringe programme and created a central box office. Its constitution was written in line with the ethos that brought these theatre companies to Edinburgh back in 1947: that the Society was to take no part in vetting the festival’s programme. To this day that policy remains at the core of the festival.