The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society announces that more shows for the 2023 Edinburgh Festival Fringe will be available to book at edfringe.com.
This year’s Fringe takes place from 04 – 28 August 2023 and will feature an exciting range of shows, with theatre, comedy, music, dance, circus, musicals, variety, cabaret, children’s shows, events and more all represented in the programme. Tickets for more than a thousand shows will be released at 12:00 BST today, with more shows set to be announced on Thursday 11 May.
The official launch of the festival, including the reveal of the iconic printed programme, will take place on Thursday 08 June.
Commenting on today’s announcement, Shona McCarthy, Chief Executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, said: “We’re now well on our way to Fringe 2023, and having so many more shows go live this week is yet another reason to get excited. It feels like August is just around the corner, and once again Edinburgh will be filled with artists, creatives, and people with amazing stories to tell.
Artists are the beating heart of this festival and central to everything we do at the Fringe Society. Our team are here to support artists at every step of their Fringe journey, including our participants hub, Fringe Central; full details of which will be announced in the coming weeks.
From theatre to comedy, cabaret to music, children’s shows to circus; the shows going on sale today represent the breadth and depth of creativity that will be bursting from every seam of Edinburgh this August. The Fringe and all its moving parts are still in recovery, I encourage you to support the artists and their work this summer, get browsing, get booking and come and see their shows.”
Below is a small representative sample of shows available to book from today. The full list of shows released today can be found at edfringe.com.
At theSpaceUK, The Quality of Mercy: Concerning the Life and Crimes of Dr Harold Frederick Shipman is a “drama examining the legacy of Britain’s most prolific serial killer, written and performed by the grandson of one of Shipman’s victims”. New Slang Productions is the company behind Tomorrow Is Not Promised at Underbelly, in which “a Black British woman finds herself homeless and alone after an earthquake”. Gilded Balloon hosts the latest world premiere from Henry Naylor, Let the Bodies Pile, displaying the playwright’s “characteristic blend of comedy and tragedy, and tackling the care homes crisis”. At Assembly, Blue by CCEGHM explores the fallout from “the death of a Black motorist during a traffic stop at the hands of a white officer”. The Edinburgh Little Theatre company presents The Court at Hill Street Theatre, a “courtroom drama [that] centres around the question of euthanasia”. And at The Royal Scots Club, crackers is “a darkly funny reflection on dealing with broken heads”.
In Modern Witches at Greenside, “lesbian actor Kate tries witchcraft to cure her relationship anxiety, but the real help comes when she accidentally summons the ghost of Virginia Woolf during a self-tape audition as the famous Modernist.” Meanwhile, Brandon Urrutia brings Lo Siento Mi Espanol Es Tremendo Mal to St Andrew’s and St George’s West, George St, exploring Hispanic culture and identity.
Soundplay Theatre Productions presents Sound Clash: Death in the Arena at Pleasance Courtyard, “a contemporary Romeo and Juliet, set in a dystopian world of reggae and dancehall music”. At Inverleith St Serf’s Church Centre, Leitheatre company presents A Midsummer Dream in Auld Reekie, moving Shakespeare’s original setting “from Greece to Edinburgh – the Athens of the North”.
The Counterminers are presenting two shows at Just the Tonic. In Hersterectomy, Carmel “plots to curate the perfect nuclear household” to qualify for an operation, while “fast-paced comedy” Lost and Found “follows three best friends from London, Leeds and Glasgow as they fight to find themselves, without losing each other”.
David Thill’s Exit 20:20 is at Paradise in Augustines; it follows 16-year-old Moses, whose high school board bans the graphic novel Maus. At PBH’s Free Fringe, Alexander Klaus, the One-Legged Shoemaker Man tells the story of a 16-year-old American Civil War veteran who “struggles to live a normal life on New York City’s Lower East Side”.
Elf Lyons and Duffy present Heist at Monkey Barrel Comedy, “a ridiculous bank heist conducted in Visual Vernacular, British Sign Language with very silly and violent live sound foley”. At Laughing Horse, Raul Kohli presents his new show Kohl and The Gang, selecting “five of the best upcoming acts on the circuit right now for a late-night comedy extravaganza”. Emmanuel Sonubi is back at the Fringe with Curriculum Vitae at Underbelly, “taking us through the life he led that brought him to the stage, via his work history”. And at PBH’s Free Fringe, Harun Musho’d is explaining Why I Don’t Talk To People About Terrorism.
Fresh from Vietnam, expat Parisian Francis Renaud hosts French Bashing by a Frenchman at Paradise in Augustines, “using comedic anecdotes, cultural comparisons and a wry sense of humour”. Panamanian-born, Florida-raised and Germany-residing Abigail Paul commits Involuntary Momslaughter at Greenside, serving “a biting dark comedy show about narcissistic personality disorder”. At The Voodoo Rooms, Joe Jacobs presents TurboFleshSuck5000, “a sex-positive, carbon-neutral, HIV-negative comedy hour”. And at Just the Tonic, Ali Al Sayed and Mina Liccione – “the UAE’s King and Queen of comedy” – have a Dubai Fling.
At Assembly, Anuvab Pal works for The Department of Britishness, selling “the idea of Britishness to India… there’s trouble ahead,” while Kuan-Wen Haung comes to Gilded Balloon with Ilha Formosa, telling how he traded his beloved Taiwan for the British Isles.
“Queer feminist and bloody lefty” Kathleen Hughes brings her work-in-progress show, One of the Girls, to the Scottish Comedy Festival @ Waverley Bar, asking what it means to be an independent woman. Frankenstein Pub hosts The Impro All Stars aka Stephen Frost, Ian Coppinger, Andy Smart and very special guests.
At theSpaceUK, Beehavioural Problems: Something Something Autism is a “new surrealist escapade” from Stephen Catling. In The Weegies Have Stolen the One O’Clock Gun! at St Columba’s by the Castle, “only Morningside Malcolm, quiet resident of the douce suburbs, can prevent aggro” between Glasgow and Edinburgh. Online, Clare McCartney’s Luck Court is a 25-minute sitcom pilot in which “a working-class woman in her 40s” who has been recently divorced is “left with nothing and has to start again”.
Fringe 2023 is also overflowing with faces familiar from off the telly and previous festival appearances. David O’Doherty, Ed Byrne, Frankie Boyle and Reginald D Hunter are all at Assembly; Robin Ince and Patrick Monahan are at Gilded Balloon; Ahir Shah, Jamali Maddix, Catherine Bohart and Luisa Omielan are at Monkey Barrel Comedy; Mark Watson, Rachel Parris and Rosie Holt are at Pleasance; Bridget Christie, Stewart Lee and Seann Walsh are at The Stand; and Craig Hill and John Robins are at Just the Tonic (the latter with Howl and a new work-in-progress).
The Jazz Bar hosts “an unmissable exclusive performance from legendary Russian-American trumpeter and Jazz Messengers alumnus, Valery Ponomarev” in 30th Anniversary! Valery Ponomarev: The Jazz Messenger. At Frankenstein Pub, Squeeze founder Chris Difford asks What Happened? 50 Lyrical Years, charting “the journey he has taken with songs from Take Me I’m Yours to Cool for Cats and Up the Junction”.
British composer Girish Paul and his virtual orchestra present The Diary of Anne Frank: Her Journey in Music at The Old Dr Bells Baths. At the Arthur Conan Doyle Centre, singer/songwriter Tim Hunter uses music to tell the story of Independent Yorkshire MP William Wilberforce, who “led the campaign to abolish the slave trade”, in The Progressive Campaign. And at Greenside, Soul Circus asks Who Walks This Path, a show that combines “interactive storytelling with original music and improvisation about loss, community, our human need for connection, and the pain and humour of the journey”.
In celebration of his 50th birthday, Scottish fiddler Alastair Savage presents “a unique series of concerts” at St Cuthbert’s Church, featuring guests Alice Allen and Laurence Wilson. Scottish Voices perform Nuadh-Òrain and Other Songs at the Scottish Arts Club – “settings of poetry in Gaelic and English by Scottish contemporary composers and poets including the premiere of a new work by poet Aonghas MacNeacail and composer Margaret McAllister”. Eilidh Steel and Mark Neal “weave together their own compositions and songwriting alongside interesting old melodies and songs from the Scottish west coast” – they’re at the Acoustic Music Centre @ UCC. And Stockbridge Church is hosting Haggis Ceilidhs, helping visitors “experience the very best Scottish ceilidh dancing with one of Scotland’s leading modern ceilidh bands”.
Fringe-goers can “experience the groovy energy, dreamy moods and relaxing sounds from South Korea’s Il Wol Dang Band” at Assembly this August, while Pharos’ Rave at Just the Tonic “is an immersive journey into the depths of electronic music, featuring hypnotic beats, intricate textures, and haunting melodies”. Arrive Alive is a collaboration between poet Blukat, music producer and DJ, Cream, along with musicians Dead Poets” – watch it online.
Memphis-born singer/songwriter/pianist Charlie Wood takes you on a live listening tour through the Blues in Trouble In Mind: 100 Years of the Blues at the Argyle Cellar Bar, while Peaks and Valleys “combine folk, punk, gypsy, and classical elements” – catch them during The Blue Hour at The Royal Oak. Pitchblenders Swing the Blues is at Valvona & Crolla, where “Christine Adams sings her favourite songs from the era of scandalous Harlem rent parties,” accompanied by “Dick Lee on reeds, guitarist Phil Adams and bassist Jerry Forde”.
The A Club at the Merchants Hall hosts The Katuns, a West Lothian band “whose catchy riffs and high-energy choruses are influenced by indie rock bands Arctic Monkeys and Nirvana”. At The Liquid Room, The Rising: The UK’s No 1 Tribute to Springsteen and the E Street Band returns to the Fringe for their 12th year. The Allman Brothers Project by Safehouse is at Stramash, including “Allman favourites Jessica, Whipping Post, Soulshine, Ramblin’ Man and Elizabeth Reed”. Le Monde is hosting a programme of tribute artists this August, with various shows dedicated to the music of Adele, the Beach Boys and Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. And Bannermans plays host to a pair of shows from rock’s experimental leftfield: Absolutely (not) Free – An Evening of Zappa by Pygmy Twylyte and Beefheart – Tropical Hot Dog Night! by Orange Claw Hammer.
The Edinburgh Renaissance Band’s New Frontiers 50th birthday is at artSpace@StMarks, exploring “medieval and renaissance Europe and Central America, accompanied by sackbuts, cornetts, serpent, viols, rebecs, harps, shawms, curtals, recorders, crumhorns and voices”. St Giles’ Cathedral hosts a series of Celebrity Recitals on its world-renowned Rieger organ, with performances from Matthew Owens, Jordan English and Michael Harris. Meanwhile, St Mary’s Cathedral hosts its own series of Cathedral Celebrity Organ Recitals, with Duncan Ferguson, David Goode and Imogen Morgan performing “popular organ music on the mighty Father Willis organ.”
At St Andrew’s and St George’s West, George St, Christine Hurley and Nancy Crook present Cello and Piano Recital: Music of Love, featuring compositions by Beethoven, Cesar Franck and Amy Beach. “One of the UK’s longest-established youth orchestras, conducted by Allan Young and featuring solo performers from within its own ranks,” the Perth Youth Orchestra is performing their Autumn Concert at Greyfriars Kirk. And the Royal Scots Club have a programme of classical recitals at breakfast, lunchtime and afternoon, “performed by some of the finest young talent in comfortable surroundings”.
The Sacred Arts Festival (a programme within the wider Fringe lineup) has music events in several Edinburgh church spaces, including new sacred compositions at Canongate Kirk, Schola Cantorum at St Mary’s Catholic Cathedral, a lunchtime choir recital at St Michael and All Saints and works by Bach and Handel at St Vincent’s in Stockbridge.
Guitarist and composer Daniel Martinez presents a concert of “emotive, exciting, moving and technically brilliant” Flamenco Guitar at Yotel Edinburgh and classical guitarist Jonathan Prag brings “music from Spain’s greatest composers” to St Columba’s by the Castle.
theSpaceUK is hosting Aca-Villa: The Love Island Musical, where “contestants navigate their road to true love through the medium of chart-topping songs, all performed a cappella”. Meanwhile Gilded Balloon is hosting at least two acapella shows this Fringe, with Aquapella representing Bath and The Oxford Gargoyles coming from – you guessed it – Oxford.
Cabaret and variety
Reuben Kaye returns to Assembly for his “queer, messy, and f*cking hilarious” late-night cabaret show, The Kaye Hole. “Destynee is a dramatic drag artist performing songs from some of the most fabulous divas and icons of all time” – you can catch her in An Evening With Drag Artist – Destynee at Planet Bar. Gilded Balloon hosts Divas: From Stage to Screen by BBD Productions, featuring “a live band and cast of fierce beltresses” celebrating “music, movies and musical theatre”. And at theSpaceUK, “gender euphoric cabaret” A Bit Too Much Hair is “a musical paradise for thems, mens, femmes, and everyone in between”.
Magical Bones returns to Underbelly with Soulful Magic – Volume Two, while magician and mind reader Tom Brace takes audiences on A Trick Down Memory Lane at Pleasance.
The Kaisa Ling Thing brings The Feminist’s Handbook for Eastern Europe to PBH’s Free Fringe, presenting “a vaudevillian blues portrait of modern life”. Blues and Burlesque at The Voodoo Rooms offers “original music by Pete Saunders (Dexy’s Midnight Runners)” alongside “classic striptease from Belle de Beauvoir”.
At Hill Street Theatre, the Machine Man Spectacle invites audience members to “participate in seven of the universe’s most spectacular machines, invented specifically to observe the human spiritual spectrum”. King of More is at Paradise in The Vault, using “music, interactions, quasi-workshop, laughter, tears and quantum physics” to explore “secret connection among all of us” in Veza.
Forth 1 returns to the Edinburgh Playhouse this August to host its annual Forth on the Fringe gala.
Dance, physical theatre and circus
In circus, Afrique en Cirque visit Assembly to display “gravity-defying moves and human pyramids, all to the contemporary sounds of African contemporary music”. Hong Kong physical theatre company Theatre de la Feuille present Fall and Flow at Underbelly, diving into “the depths of war, the power of love and hate as the futility and sorrow explode in front of you in six short stories”.
Katherine and Pierre at Gilded Balloon is “a gender-bent love story combining elements of drag with comedic dance choreography”, set to the music of Katy Perry. A/lone at Greenside is a “dynamic Australian work” exploring “the painful depths of loneliness and the profound joy of aloneness”.
At Just the Tonic, Fruit Salad is “a clown comedy of fruit-based stupidity by two Gaulier-trained comedians”. Klouns Theatre Company presents An Act of Seven Ages at Paradise in The Vault – a “clowning escapade of vignettes focused on a multitude of influences endured from birth until death”. And Släpstick return to the Pleasance with Schërzo, “a clown-esque concerto for the ages where a seemingly highbrow classical concert glissandos into a bacchanal of comical mishaps and absurdity”.
The Sacred Arts Festival presents drama at St Vincent’s with The Mysteries (reimagined by Peter Holloway), bringing to live “five Medieval guild plays” in a “warm, funny, yet gritty production”.
There’s a feast of flamenco at Fringe 2023, including Flamenco Fiesta at Alba Flamenca, 2Flamenco at Argyle Cellar Bar, Flamenco in Scotland at St Andrew’s and St George’s West, George St and Flamenco Fringe at Lunch at Yotel Edinburgh. Meanwhile, over at theSpaceUK, Giorgia Marchiori and Marcelo Guardiola present Los Guardiola – The Comedy of Tango, using “the universal and timeless language of movement to tell stories inspired by the world’s best-loved tangos”.
EN-PERFECIÓN is available to watch online, tracing “its roots back to the Ankoku-Butoh movement active in Japan from the 1950s, mixing it with contemporary dance and experimental theatre”.
Quebec circus clowns Brotipo return to Assembly with a family-friendly show “to make you laugh, dance and even sing”. At Gilded Balloon, Artiste is an “interactive exhibit of physical comedy and crafty clowning”, while “UK premier magician and kids entertainer” Leigh Milne brings The Crazy Puppet Magic Show to Frankenstein Pub.
The Blue Badge Bunch are back at Pleasance with ReRamped, “a hilarious, interactive game show where each game represents a disability and comedians battle it out”. One Step Ahead presents The European Extravaganza! at Greenside, “an interactive musical journey to some major European cities”. Inside The Robot: Kids vs Chaos! is “the world’s only theatrical escape room”, an “immersive, educational and hilarious spectacular suitable for ages 5+” – it’s at Just the Tonic. And Professors Lexi Con and Noel Edge present The Alphabet of Awesome Science at Underbelly, taking a “tongue-twisting race from A to Z that’s equal parts explosive, messy, hilarious, fascinating and gross”.
The Ancient Ballad of Thomas the Rhymer (Into the Woods) at artSpace@StMarks features “specially composed music performed by John Sampson, performed by Sampson, Julia Munrow and Pete Baynes”. Dragon Tales at LifeCare Centre is “an interactive storytelling show for 4–6-year-olds” using “felt puppets, percussion and harp”. And theSpaceUK features two adaptations as part of their children’s programme: Peter Pan and The Twits.
At St Andrew’s and St George’s West, George St, FlamenKids is an “original, well-made, fun, passionate and highly entertaining show where you’ll experience a breathtaking professional flamenco performance of eight artists interacting with the wee ones”. Recitals for Wrigglers presents two “fun, interactive and educational shows for babies and toddlers” at Stockbridge Church: Kings and Queens and Wriggle Around the World.
Amazing Prize Family Bingo at 9 Queen Street is exactly what it sounds like: “bingo with loads and loads of prizes”. Hill Street Theatre hosts Reach for the Stars, “a fun show showcasing Edinburgh’s young talent”.
Musicals and opera
OSCAR at The Crown (Assembly) takes place “in a secret bunker far in the fascist future”, and focuses on “one of history’s most flamboyant figures” – Oscar Wilde. Greenside hosts Fierce, in which “seven famous women tell their stories” to “a soundtrack of empowering music that’s sure to smash the patriarchy”. Two separate musicals explore the life of Alan Turing at this year’s Fringe. Alan Turing – Guilty of Love is at Hill Street Theatre, while Alan Turing – A Musical Biography is at Paradise in Augustines. And theSpaceUK welcomes Les Millénniables, “a pop parody about the plight of the generation deemed ‘millennials’”.
“Oliver Harris sings the great songs from Les Misérables, Chess, Phantom of the Opera, The Lion King, We Will Rock You and many more” in The Greatest Show Songs at Le Monde. Forth Children’s Theatre return “for their 42nd year at the Fringe with their spooky, kooky production of The Addams Family – A New Musical” at Broughton High School. And Captivate Theatre presents a programme of musical adaptations at the Edinburgh Academy: Les Misérables School Edition, Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical Jr, School of Rock and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Without is “an intimate and authentic new musical” at Underbelly, in which “a busker and a runaway find unexpected camaraderie and challenge together, discovering the importance of acceptance through conversation, confrontation and the power of music”. In On Your Bike at Gilded Balloon, “Gemma and Aidan deliver food they can’t afford for mega-corporation Eatsaroo, but things get messy when it cuts their pay and derails their budding romance”. “A Christmas Carol meets It’s a Wonderful Life meets… *NSYNC!” in Chriskirkpatrickmas: A Boy Band Christmas Musical at Pleasance. And at Stockbridge Church, Acceptance Pending tells the story of high-school senior Angela, who “fights through the daunting US college application process” and is “met with the harsh reality of the student mental-health crisis”.
Scotland’s professional touring company, Opera Bohemia, returns with John Leo Wilkie’s highly acclaimed production of Madama Butterfly at St Cuthbert’s Church.
LBC presenter Iain Dale hosts a series of talks at Pleasance this Fringe, meeting with Ian Blackford MP, Penny Mordaunt MP, Wes Streeting MP, Sir John Curtice and Brian Taylor. Over at The Stand’s New Town Theatre, Fair Pley’s conversation series features Scottish Labour Party leader Anas Sarwar, “guitarist, songwriter and DJ” Bobby Bluebell and BBC 6 Music presenter Tom Robinson.
Rob Redenbach shares his Conversations with Mandela at the Arthur Conan Doyle Centre, “recounting his journey from casino bouncer in outback Australia to working with Nelson Mandela’s bodyguard team in South Africa”. A “lifelong friend” of David Bowie shares stories at Blackwell’s Bookshop in Bowie, Cambo & All the Hype – An Evening with John Cambridge. Confessions of a Teletubby is at theSpaceUK, with “the original LaaLaa” Nikky Smedley sharing her experiences on the children’s TV show. And “ex-Hibs, Aberdeen, Tottenham Hotspur, Barcelona and Scotland striker Steve Archibald discusses his extraordinary football career” in Steve Archibald – An Evening With at Le Monde.
From Marlon Solomon, “the maker of Conspiracy Theory: A Lizard’s Tale,” comes How to Be an Antisemite, “a dark comedy about rising antisemitism, where it comes from and what we do about it”. It’s at Gilded Balloon, while at Hill Street Theatre, Good Grief: Five Deserts in Search of My Father is a one-man show by writer Jon Lawrence, recounting how he “walked 500km over five deserts on five continents to come to terms with the death of his father”.
Sacred Arts Festival hosts Spirituality, Faith and Belief: Voyages of Discovery, “an exploration of literary works as vehicles of spiritual discovery”, at Greyfriars Kirk, and Strafed by Splendour: Under Paolozzi’s Window at St Mary’s Cathedral, “a magnificent setting for poetry, music and an explanatory talk”.
Dean Tsang explores Our Anxious Measurements at PBH’s Free Fringe, probing “research and understanding” and questioning the “expectations placed on us and the ways apprehension can enter our lives”.
Caledonia – Words and Music for Sir Walter is a series of “short readings from Scott’s works on the themes of resilience and recovery, with contemporary choral settings of Scott’s poetry by Edinburgh composer Nigel Don”. It’s at St Vincent’s.