UK

Edinburgh Festival Fringe booking opens

The performing arts festival is now in its 77th year and is championing inclusivity.

Strictly Come Dancing judge Anton Du Beke with dancers Kelly Chow (left) and Rosie Ward outside Underbelly Edinburgh’s McEwan Hall ahead of his Fringe Festival debut show .
Edinburgh Fringe Festival Strictly Come Dancing judge Anton Du Beke with dancers Kelly Chow (left) and Rosie Ward outside Underbelly Edinburgh’s McEwan Hall ahead of his Fringe Festival debut show . (Jane Barlow/PA)

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe has opened bookings early to allow performers to promote their work.

Tickets will go on sale at noon for 276 shows across 31 venues, including comedy, dance, physical theatre and circus, musicals and opera.

Another four batches of ticket sales will follow in April, May and June.

Organisers encouraged punters to book shows as early as possible, due to the financial challenges involved in putting on shows.

The festival, which runs between August 2 and 26, will be celebrating its 77th anniversary, and has been promoting values of inclusivity and accessibility.

Ahir Shah winner of the Sky Best Comedy Show at the 2023 Edinburgh Comedy Awards at the Dovecot Studios during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Edinburgh Comedy Award Ahir Shah winner of the Sky Best Comedy Show at the 2023 Edinburgh Comedy Awards at the Dovecot Studios during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (Jane Barlow/PA)

The new motto, “to give anyone a stage and everyone a seat”, is part of the reason for opening bookings earlier, in a bid to help artists promote their work.

Acts from as far away as South Australia and Hong Kong will be on the line-up for the first tickets available, along with a play about the Syrian civil war.

Shows available for bookings include This Old Cello Box at St Giles’ Cathedral, where South Australian cellist and songwriter William Jack will perform covers of hits by AC/DC, Bob Dylan and Oasis, while 1970s folk-rockers Lindisfarne will be at Queen’s Hall.

A Hong Kong community theatre company, Art Home, will use masks to “confuse the definitions of what is a human and who is a dog” in Hound In The Light, performed at theSpaceUK.

The story of a Syrian refugee’s “odyssey” with her toddler son to escape the civil war, Hagar: War Mother, will also be performed at theSpaceUK, written by Aksam Alyousef and performed by Amena Shehab.

Performer Peter Barratt pays tribute to his great-grandmother in Alice Hawkins – Working-Class Suffragette at the Arthur Conan Doyle Centre, while the All-New Crazy Puppet Magic Show at the Frankenstein Pub is tipped as having cross-generational appeal.

A biopic of a British Army doctor performed through poetry will take place in Frontlines and Lifelines – An Army Doctor in Crisis and War, at Forces @ The Fringe.

Shona McCarthy, chief executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, said: “It is always special to see the first batch of shows that will be performing at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

The cast of A Comedy of Operas at last year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Fringe performers The cast of A Comedy of Operas at last year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe (Jane Barlow/PA)

“Those working across the Fringe have been preparing for this moment for months – laying the groundwork for artists to come to this year’s festival and the creative explosion that is August in Edinburgh. Being able to browse the first set of shows always adds an extra level of excitement.

“It’s a reminder that the 2024 Fringe is just around the corner. I encourage audiences to support those performing at the Fringe this August by browsing shows and booking tickets as early as you can.

“It’s no secret that the cost of putting on a Fringe show can be a barrier to attending.

“Our role is in supporting artists in every way that we can, whether that’s keeping registration fees affordable, sourcing low-cost accommodation, seeking out direct routes to funding, or simply providing advice and information. Our team is on hand to offer advice around every aspect of putting on a show, so please do reach out to us.”

Shows can be booked at edfringe.com, with the full programme launch taking place on June 12.