Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2015 programme launch: what to see

This article is from 2015

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2015 programme launch: what to see

Early highlights from the 2015 lineup are in, time to start planning

It’s finally here. The Fringe has been selling 2015 tickets since before Christmas, and the ‘big four’ venues (Pleasance, Assembly, Underbelly and Gilded Balloon) announced their 2015 programmes a few weeks back. But today the Fringe announces its full programme for 2015 – and it’s a big one.

Here's the vital statistics: 50,459 performances of 3,314 shows from 49 countries in 313 venues across Edinburgh, with 14 brand new venues added becoming involved in the Fringe.

'Every year we think we know what it's going to deliver, but every year it surprises, delights, amazes and inspires,' said Kath Mainland, Chief Executive of The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society. 'The Fringe is a festival like no other. Completely open access – where artists don't need to wait for an invitation, where anyone with a story to tell is welcome. Where there's no curator, no vettting, no barriers. Just incredible talent from almost fifty countries all over the world.'

Today’s announcement completes the picture of all the Fringe venues’ offerings for 2015. And, as ever, it’s wild, unpredictable, provocative, and sometimes downright bewildering.

The Traverse Theatre’s Fringe season is headed by two productions from its own company: Stef Smith’s Swallow, about the extremes of everyday life, and psychological drama Crash, premiered as part of A Play, A Pie and A Pint back in November. Elsewhere, there’s Vanishing Point’s new show Tomorrow, on growing old, needing care and needing to care, and new musical Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour, based on Alan Warner’s novel The Sopranos, from the National Theatre of Scotland. BigMouth and SmallWar performer Valentijn Dhaenens returns with three-hander Pardon/In Cuffs, and Jon Spooner and Chris Thorpe of Unlimited Theatre take the late-night slot with stories and songs about death in Am I Dead Yet?. Provocative Belgian company Ontroerend Goed brings the interactive A Game of You, which challenges six audience members to pass judgement on each other, and there’s even off-site opera in The Garden from Zinnie Harris and John Harris.

Summerhall has announced collaborations with a host of international organisations, including London’s The Place dance space, Aurora Nova, Northern Stage, The Arches and Big in Belgium, plus the return of Paines Plough’s circular Roundabout venue, unveiled last year. There’s a new show from Grid Iron, a look at globalisation and poverty in Ndebele Funeral from New York’s Smoke and Mirrors Collective, and revered theatrical innovators Forced Entertainment in Tomorrow’s Parties. Summerhall’s visual arts programme offers nine free exhibitions this year, including installations, paintings and sculptures from outstanding disabled artists, and One Million Years of Laughter on the history of humour.

The Institut Français d’Écosse has five shows, including a return for last year’s magical L’enfant qui… from Belgian-based circus artists Théâtre d’un Jour in Randolph Crescent Gardens, plus Skins and Hoods from Cie du Veilleur, a show for young audiences on race and identity. There’s also a dance response to Puccini’s Madama Butterfly for very young audiences, from Cie Nathalie Cornille.

Over at C, there are over 160 shows across six venues, including a new Wild West Frontier Trilogy (Blood Red Moon, The Clock Strikes Noon and The Rattlesnake’s Kiss) from immersive innovator Jethro Compton, a blindfold version of Samuel Beckett’s Roughs (for Radio) from Monkfish Theatre, and a show from Riau Rhythms Chamber Orchestra, music group Kande and Papermoon Puppet Theatre celebrating 70 years of Indonesian independence. Among the theatre, musicals and kids’ shows are also a trilogy of comedies from Melbourne company Attic Erratic, including Get Ready. Get Set. Ahh F*%ck It.

Spotlites has a gender-bending Hamlet and a Chinese Titus Andronicus among its eclectic offerings, which also include a World War One-themed The Unknown Soldier. And ZOO Venues offers a strong programme of theatre and dance, including YAMA from Scottish Dance Theatre, three shows from disabled artists (Mark Brew’s For Now, I am; Stopgap Dance’s Artificial Things; and Rowan James’s Easy for You to Say), as well as FEAST from grotesque absurdists the Clout Ensemble and 1972: The Future of Sex from the Wardrobe Ensemble.

Armed with this bite-sized slice of the glorious Fringe pie, we recommend to start planning your strategy for the 2015 festival.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe runs 7–31 August at various various across the city.