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Join the Alliance of Defiance: The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Launches 70th anniversary programme

Published: 07 Jun 2017

The 2017 Edinburgh Festival Fringe programme was launched today. The 70th anniversary edition of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe will take place from 04 – 28 August 2017. Tickets on sale at edfringe.com. Photo by Neil Hanna
Photo by Neil Hanna

The official 2017 Edinburgh Festival Fringe Programme was launched today with shows catering for all ages and appetites, inviting performers and spectators from around the world to join the Alliance of Defiance and celebrate 70 years of defying the norm at the Fringe.

Over the last 70 years the Edinburgh Festival Fringe has gone from strength to strength, inspiring a global network of more than 200 fringes and establishing itself as the largest platform for creative freedom in the world. On the 11 July, fringes from around the world will come together for the inaugural World Fringe Day (worldfringeday.com), supported by the Scottish Government's Expo Fund through Creative Scotland and EventScotland (part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate), an international celebration to mark the 70th anniversary of the birth of the fringe movement.

The Fringe began in 1947 when eight theatre companies turned up uninvited to perform at the inaugural Edinburgh International Festival. The companies were refused entry to the programme but decided to perform on the fringe of the Festival anyway. The Fringe has remained true to the defiance expressed by the eight companies who performed here in 1947, upholding its open access principle that permits anyone with a story to tell and a venue willing to host them to participate. People travel from all over the word to take part in the Fringe, creating an international melting pot of culture and art in Scotland’s capital city every year. This year’s programme is as varied as ever, offering theatre, dance, circus, physical theatre, comedy, music, musicals, opera, cabaret and variety, children’s shows, free shows, exhibitions, events and spoken word.

Shona McCarthy, Chief Executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society said: “It’s an honour to be releasing the 2017 Edinburgh Festival Fringe Programme today.

“This is a very special year for the Fringe as we celebrate 70 years of defying the norm, of championing artistic freedom and providing a platform for artists around the world to come and present their work in a truly unique environment that is inclusive, inspiring, and often life-affirming.

“The fringe movement has circled the globe and inspired a worldwide network of over 200 sister fringes, with fringes now taking place on every continent except Antarctica. In the current climate of global uncertainty, fringes are more crucial than ever, continuing to provide artists with a space to express themselves without fear of censorship.

“The 2017 Fringe Programme reflects the principles that guide the fringe movement, it is diverse, topical, challenging and of course, exciting. I hope that as many people as possible will join us here in Edinburgh for the 70th anniversary edition of the Fringe, to witness and participate in this joyous international celebration of arts and culture.”

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs said: “The 70th anniversary edition of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Programme is as varied as ever and features artists from all over the world. Edinburgh’s festivals are now world renowned and it is remarkable to think the fringe movement that began here in 1947 has developed into a worldwide network of fringes.

“The Scottish Government is proud to support the Fringe Made in Scotland showcase and World Fringe Day through our Expo Fund, which provides a platform for artists from across Scotland. I am proud that Scotland is the home of fringe and has joined with others across the globe to celebrate the 70th anniversary and the ongoing success of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.”

Janet Archer, Chief Executive of Creative Scotland said: “The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is a globally recognised platform that provides an important space for artists from Scotland and the world to show their work to international audiences, develop their skills and meet with arts industry professionals from across the world. Since the very first Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1947, the Fringe has successfully embraced an open access policy which has enabled performers at every stage of their development to take part. I look forward to seeing what the 70th anniversary edition of this fantastic festival has in store for audiences and performers alike.”

Paul Bush OBE, Director of Events, VisitScotland said: “EventScotland is delighted to be supporting the 70th anniversary edition of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and the inaugural World Fringe Day. Edinburgh is renowned as a world class festival city and the Fringe is a leading festival model that continues to be emulated across the globe with more than 200 fringes taking place around the world. The Fringe continues to draw significant visitors to Edinburgh every year, showcasing why Edinburgh and Scotland are the perfect stage for events. Scotland's Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is an ideal opportunity to celebrate the remarkable story of one of Scotland's signature events.”

The 2017 Edinburgh Festival Fringe will run from 04 – 28 August. Explore the programme at https://www.edfringe.com/experience/programme-order.

Fringe facts 2017

Total shows: 3,398 (up 3.9%)

Total venues: 300 (up 2%)

Performances: 53,232 (up 5.9%)

Countries represented: 62 (up 29%)

International countries: 58 (up 32%)

Cabaret and Variety makes up 4% (compared to 4% last year)

Children’s Shows make up 4% (compared to 5% last year)

Comedy makes up 35% (compared to 34% last year)

Dance, Circus and Physical Theatre makes up 4% (compared to 3% last year)

Events make up 3% (compared to 4% last year)

Exhibitions make up 1% (compared to 1% last year)

Music makes up 14% (compared to 15% last year)

Musicals and Opera makes up 3% (compared to 4% last year)

Spoken Word makes up 3% (compared to 3% last year)

Theatre makes up 28% (compared to 27% last year)

There are 686 (up 6.7%) free shows, 215 (up 31%) pay what you want shows, 1,683 (down 2.8%) premieres and 62 (up 29%) different countries represented.


Notes to Editors

The 2017 Edinburgh Festival Fringe will run from 04 – 28 August.

Box Office
edfringe.com +44 (0)131 226 0000

Creative Scotland
Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits Scotland. Creative Scotland enables people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life. Creative Scotland distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery. For further information about Creative Scotland please visit creativescotland.com / @creativescots / facebook.com/CreativeScotland

EventScotland is working to make Scotland the perfect stage for events. By developing an exciting portfolio of sporting and cultural events EventScotland is helping to raise Scotland’s international profile and boost the economy by attracting more visitors. For further information about EventScotland, its funding programmes and latest event news visit EventScotland.org. Follow EventScotland on Twitter @EventScotNews.

EventScotland is a team within VisitScotland’s Events Directorate, the national tourism organisation which markets Scotland as a tourism destination across the world, gives support to the tourism industry and brings sustainable tourism growth to Scotland. For more information about VisitScotland see www.visitscotland.org or for consumer information on Scotland as a visitor destination see www.visitscotland.com.

2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology

  • 2017 is the year to delve into the past and discover Scotland’s fascinating stories through a wide-ranging variety of new and existing activity to drive the nation’s tourism and events sector, boosting tourism across Scotland.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology begins on 01 January 2017 and will end on 31 December 2017. It will build on the momentum generated by previous themed years in Scotland including the 2015 Year of Food and Drink, Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Creative Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Built Environment Forum Scotland, Heritage Lottery Fund, Museums Galleries Scotland and Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is supported by £570,000 of Scottish Government funding.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology events fund is managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.
  • For more information visit visitscotland.com/HHA2017 or join the conversation at #HHA2017