Pleasance, Assembly, Gilded Balloon and Underbelly launch 2017 brochure and app
Sue Perkins Live! in Spectacles heads to the Pleasance this Fringe / credit: Steve Ullathorne
The Fringe's 'Big Four' venues will bring over 750 shows to the 70th Edinburgh Festival Fringe
You can tell it's getting closer to Edinburgh Festival time when every week brings with it a new launch. Just now, it's the turn of the Pleasance, Assembly, Underbelly and the Gilded Balloon, who launch their joint EdFest.com brochure and their new app today.
Tickets for shows at all four venues have been on sale since mid-May, but today is the official brochure launch for the quartet who've now been collaborating for 10 years.
2017 marks the 70th anniversary of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and the official Fringe brochure will be released next week, on Wed 7 Jun. Shows from the Pleasance, Assembly, Underbelly and the Gilded Balloon account for 779 of the Fringe total, with acts from 23 countries set to perform in 87 theatres across Edinburgh, in 17 different venues.
There are a few new venues to look out for too. The Rose Theatre on Rose Street will be run by the Gilded Balloon this year – audiences can see ex-Late Late Show host Craig Ferguson at the venue, in his first Fringe appearance in 24 years.
The Pleasance celebrates 33 years at the Fringe with a new pop-up venue, which will become Pleasance Beside at the Courtyard in August; there'll be a variety of shows in that space, including the latest from last year's Edinburgh Comedy Award Best Newcomer nominee Brennan Reece.
And Assembly Festival returns to the Assembly Rooms on George Street, its original home. Shows at the venue include Pauline Goldsmith's Bright Colours Only, Jerry Sadowitz: Comedian, Magician, Psychopath! and technology festival FuturePlay.
Underbelly are also expanding their popular Circus Hub on the Meadows, as the big tops return for their third year. In 2017, the venue will welcome pioneering Ethiopian circus troupe Circus Abyssinia, Australian superstars Circa, RuPaul's Drag Race star Courtney Act and perennial favourite Camille O'Sullivan among its programme. The iconic Udderbelly will return to George Square Gardens this year too.
Among the 779 shows to choose from at the four venues are likely to be some of this year's most popular Fringe acts. Hit comedians Sue Perkins, Sara Pascoe, James Acaster, Adam Riches and Tape Face are at the Pleasance and will likely sell out fast.
In addition to US superstar Craig Ferguson, the Gilded Balloon welcomes last year's Best Newcomer winner Scott Gibson, Scotland's Fred MacAulay, Fringe comedy superstar Luisa Omielan and US comic-of-the-moment, Hasan Minhaj.
Among Assembly's highlights, you'll find Hannah Gadsby – Nanette, which won the Best Show award this year at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, as well as new shows from former Comedy Award winner Sam Simmons, mime artist Trygve Wakenshaw (a 2015 Fringe sleeper hit) and How to Win Against History – a huge success in 2016, when it topped our own Top Rated Shows list.
And Underbelly welcomes back Aussie comedian Steen Raskopoulos (one of our favourites from last year), and Phoebe Waller-Bridge's Fleabag, a big Fringe success in 2013 that's gone on to even greater heights since its successful BBC3 adaptation.
Pick up the EdFest.com brochure in the 1 Jun issue of The List, and download the app at edfest.com. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe runs from Fri 4–Mon 28 Aug.