Virtual programmes and events in place of the Edinburgh Festivals

This article is from 2020

Virtual programmes and events in place of the Edinburgh Festivals

Scottish Chamber Orchestra cellist Su-a Lee performs in an empty Edinburgh Festival Theatre

Including scheduled online activities from Gilded Balloon, EIF and Fringe of Colour

It's safe to say that it's been a very strange summer across the board, with no festivals to look forward to or programme launches to get excited about. But while we all collectively mourn the loss of our favourite August activities in Edinburgh, venues and companies have been busy getting together alternative online and socially distanced plans to keep some of that Edinburgh Festival spirit alive. Here, we round-up some of the events we're most looking forward to enjoying from home.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society
The Fringe Society will be hosting a digital programme, with virtual events and activities planned to support venues and artists in place of a physical festival. Highlights include a new crowdfunding platform FringeMakers; Fringe Pick n Mix, where audiences can watch a mixed stream of entertainment or choose individual clips uploaded by artists; and a Virtual Fringe Central, which will host discussions, workshops and networking sessions.

Gilded Balloon
Team Gilded Balloon have some exciting virtual and non-virtual plans, taking place from 5 Aug. Greatest Ever Late'n'Live is a compilation of some of the most iconic performances from the Late'n'Live stage (live on YouTube, Saturdays at 9pm throughout Aug); Fringe Search Party is a socially distanced treasure hunt featuring a Fringe-themed trail of puzzles, games and clues to solve around Edinburgh; and So You Think You're Funny? Locked Down will provide this year's applicants the chance to be mentored by industry experts. You can support Gilded Balloon by donating to their Crowdfunder, with donations goings towards their staff, freelancers and artists, as well as their charity partner Intercultural Youth Scotland.

Edinburgh International Festival
In partnership with Scottish artists and national arts companies, EIF's My Light Shines On programme features original performances that have been filmed inside venues such as the Edinburgh Festival Theatre, The King's Theatre, Leith Theatre, The Hub, Usher Hall and The Queen's Hall, with the films to premiere on EIF's YouTube channel on Saturday 8 August. All activity will officially launch at 9.30pm, with a one-hour gala film hosted by journalist and TV presenter Kirsty Wark and cellist Su-a Lee, featuring famous faces from festivals across the years. Aside from the film series, My Light Shines On will feature an outdoor light installation by Scottish lighting designers Kate Bonney and Simon Hayes, in which Edinburgh's festival venues, including the Usher Hall, Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Bristo Square and the Castle Esplanade, are illuminated by hundreds of beams of light on the evening of Sat 8 Aug.

Fringe of Colour
Fringe of Colour launched their online arts festival and publishing platform Fringe of Colour Films on Sat 1 Aug. The independent streaming service will host over 40 films made by Black and Brown people/People of Colour throughout August 2020, with each collection available for seven days before the next collection is released. Audiences can enjoy work exclusively commissioned by Fringe of Colour, as well as co-commissions with partner organisations, and films that have been submitted to the festival by independent artists and performers, including Selina Thompson, Hannah Lavery, Sean Wai Keung and Nish Kumar.

Edinburgh International Book Festival
The Edinburgh International Book Festival has announced an innovative and wide-ranging online programme of 140 events, which will take place over 17 days in August. With live conversations, discussions and readings from 200 authors and illustrators, audiences will be able to access all events for free from Saturday 15 to Monday 31 August via the Book Festival's website, with the opportunity to also enjoy audience chat rooms, Q&A sessions, a new online Festival bookshop and face-to-face meetings with authors for book signings. Names on the line-up include Hilary Mantel, Arundhati Roy, Bernardine Evaristo, Elif Shafak, Marian Keyes and more.

The team behind ZOO have launched ZOO TV, a new digital collection of performances available for a limited period in lieu of what would have been ZOO's 20th year at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Launching on 17 Aug, the programme will feature a new handpicked selection each day of both live and recorded work from world-class theatre and dance companies, including the Wardrobe Ensemble, the National Dance Company of Wales, Imitating the Dog and Protein Dance. All productions will be available free of charge but audiences will be invited to donate to the ZOO's Crowdfunder, with donations going directly to performing artists and companies.

You might not be able to visit theSpace venues this August, but you can still enjoy some fine programmed performances online thanks to their recently announced Online@theSpaceUK. Featuring over 80 different shows, all written and produced during lockdown, the programme will be live from Sat 8 Aug, with new shows uploaded every week and a live performance every Saturday. Audiences can enjoy everything from theatre and cabaret to musicals and spoken word, each show running from 10-45 minutes and all completely free to watch.

Shedinburgh Fringe Festival
The brand new online festival and fundraiser aims to bring some Fringe favourites in comedy and theatre to people's homes, live via sheds across the country. The brainchild of multi-award winning duo, producer Francesca Moody and writer and performer Gary McNair, Shedinburgh Fringe Festival will take place from Fri 14 Aug to Sat 5 Sep, with daily live streamed events planned. Audiences can expect 'one night only' unique shed-based versions of performances; slots for new artists through Open Call Submissions; and industry panel discussions, with names like Helen Baer, Tim Crouch, Rosie Jones, Adam Kashmiry, Sara Pascoe, Steen Raskopoulos, Mark Thomas and more scheduled to participate.

This year, Army@TheFringe will be switching gears to a three-week programme of online workshops, readings, performances and discussions for the arts community and the public. From Mon 10 to Sun 30 Aug, the focus will be on providing practical insights and advice from a range of emerging and established arts and cultural practitioners, with more than 40 free online events planned. The programme includes films, live-from-home performances and screenings, plus rehearsed readings of shows that were scheduled to take place on stage.

Edinburgh Art Festival
The Edinburgh Art Festival will be going ahead in spirit, as ten artists from previous festival editions have been invited to help mark the dates of what would have been the 2020 festival. The artists will each present work, both online and around the city, combining archival presentations chosen for their relevance to our current social and political climate with specially conceived responses. Audiences can watch online screenings and live performances from Thu 30 July, and catch some of the projects around the city in public sites from then too.

Taiwan Season
This year, responding to the challenge of COVID-19, the organisers of the popular Taiwan Season have cooked up a virtual symposium, Connecting with Taiwan, spread across 16 sessions (including four repeats) from Tuesday 4 to Friday 28 August. The programme features a thrice-weekly series of artist interviews (Tuesdays, 1–1.45pm) and in-depth webinars (Wednesdays and Fridays, 1–3pm), with examinations into a handful of topics which are ideal for anyone curious about the current state of the arts in Taiwan.

#DANISH at EdFringe
Hosted by the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, #DANISH is an online event taking place on Tue 11 Aug at 11am, focusing on the collection of Danish performing arts companies who had planned to perform at Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2020. Join the event to hear from the likes of multiple award-winning director Tue Biering from Fix & Foxy, and artistic directors of dance company DON GNU Jannik Elkjær and Kristoffer Louis Andrup Pedersen. Attendees will also get to see a taster of shows Dust by Sew Flunk Fury Wit, as well as physical comedies The Letter and Jekyll On Ice by Paolo Nani.
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The Free Edinburgh Fringe Festival: Live & Online
The Free Edinburgh Fringe goes online for their 2020 programme, with daily broadcasts of comedy, cabaret, chat and theatre all month long. Performances take place via Zoom and other live streaming means.

Edinburgh Culture Conversations
Online panel discussion series produced by the University of Edinburgh's Festivals, Culture and City Events team examining how the arts and creative sectors can help society recover from the effects of COVID-19, hosted by director Janet Archer. Guests include Scots Makar Jackie Kay; CEO and Festival Director of the Edinburgh International Festival, Fergus Linehan; Chief Executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, Shona McCarthy; singer-songwriter Karine Polwart and British Art Show 9 artist Hanna Tuulikki.