Assembly, Gilded Balloon, Pleasance and Underbelly Summer Party and EdFest Programme Launch

by Bernie C. Byrnes

The Edinburgh Fringe is 70! Which makes me feel old because I first started going when it was a mere slip of a thing and 50. One of the most significant events that I can clearly remember was the new collaboration between the ‘top four’ that happened in 2008 (which is ten years ago – I know right! Ten years!) Since Assembly, Gilded Balloon, Pleasance and Underbelly joined forces under the banner of, the four venues have grown significantly in size, recognition and overall cool.

In its first year the Fringe saw eight companies performing in five spaces. In 2017 the EdFest Group (only part of the overall Fringe) will collectively bring 779 shows from 23 countries to perform in 87 theatres across 17 venues – that’s enough nervous energy to run the national grid. And last night the South Bank was bubbling over with excitement about announcing the class of 2017.

Bad weather (it positively felt like Edinburgh) drove us into the gorgeous Spiegeltent where the food, drink and networking were in full force. The event was definitely on better form than last year. I was still disappointed that there was no entertainment though – with another circus-filled line up, a couple of stilt-walkers would have rounded the evening off nicely. That said, everyone was in good spirits and bursting with excitement about this year’s programme.

Shows that I am particularly keen to look out for include Mies Julie at Assembly, The Tales of Peter Rabbit at Underbelly, Cirque Eloise (and their breathtaking show Cirkopolis, inspired by the legendary 1927 film Metropolis) at Pleasance, and Andy Gray and Grant Stott in Double Feature at Gilded Balloon.

It’s always an exciting time when everyone is gearing up for the Fringe. I can’t wait, even though I know by the end of August I will be crying into the wilderness and promising to never do it again.

Summer 2017 – bring it on!

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