Today, 07 July, we are delighted to launch the official 2022 Edinburgh Festival Fringe programme. After the challenges of the last two years, it feels more important than ever to celebrate the diverse selection of work on display at the Fringe, spanning the genres of theatre, dance, circus, physical theatre, comedy, music, musicals, opera, cabaret, variety, children’s shows, spoken word, exhibitions and events.
As published in June, our shared vision for the Fringe is to give anyone a stage and everyone a seat.
This year’s programme features work across 3,171 shows, from 58 countries, with themes tackling some of the most topical issues in the world today. From migration, refugees and displaced people, to race and identity, women’s safety, disability, mental health and climate change, as well as an exploration into gender, queer identity and drag, true crime and more along the way. As might be expected, lockdown and wider isolation are prominent themes, as well as a focus on parent and child relationships through various generations. Joyously, this year’s Fringe brings together many well-known names, as well as emerging talent, in work both homegrown and international.
New for 2022 is an extension of the popular Fringe Street Events, which will invite audiences to enjoy performances in new locations, including St Andrew Square and St James Quarter.
In addition, Fringe Central – the festival’s home from home for Fringe artists, journalists, venue operators, creative industries, and visiting curators – is moving to St James Quarter for the first time. In previous years this dedicated participants’ hub has played host to over 1,000 national and international media representatives, alongside 1,200 arts industry professionals looking for shows to book as well as co-commissioning and touring opportunities, making the Fringe one of the world’s foremost places for performing artists to do business, and to find opportunities to share their work in other festivals and on stage and screen.
Launching the 2022 Fringe Programme, Shona McCarthy, Chief Executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, said:
“As we celebrate the festival’s 75th anniversary year, the launch of today’s programme reflects the regenerative nature of a cultural icon that has weathered many storms since its inception. Featuring 3,171 shows from 58 countries, this year’s programme represents a glorious return to fully live shows in theatres, venues and public spaces across Edinburgh, in one of the greatest annual celebrations of culture and creativity in the world.
“As a festival which offers anyone a stage and everyone a seat, we can’t wait to welcome artists, writers, staff, crew, venues, producers, creatives, residents and audience members together this August, after two years of uncertainty and reinvention. We are hugely thankful to all our sponsors and supporters – those who have backed us through the tough times and those who have come on board to ensure the Fringe returns to its full stature in itscelebratory 75th year.
“Venues, producers and artists have created an amazing array of performances and events which dig into some of the most topical themes being discussed in the world today. This is an opportunity for us all to laugh, cry, celebrate and be entertained together, living in this one incredible moment and looking ahead to the future of the Fringe and the many momentous moments yet to come.”
Culture Minister Neil Gray said: “It’s fantastic to see the Fringe unveiling such a varied and exciting programme for its 75th anniversary celebrations this year. Over the decades, as part of the Edinburgh Festivals, the Fringe has been pivotal in shaping and promoting our cultural identity on an international stage.
“To support the return and delivery of Fringe 2022, the Society has received £1.58 million through our PLACE Resilience Fund with £305,000 of this going towards maintaining the Society’s arts industry and media services and supporting the Fringe street events.
“The remaining £1.275 million in the fund has gone to venue producers so that they can continue to programme work of the highest quality. This benefits artists, workers and audiences by protecting jobs an increasing local employment as well as promoting accessibility, sustainability, diversity and inclusion.
“I would encourage everyone to visit the Fringe this year, and to do so safely and with consideration for those around you.”
Cllr Cammy Day, Council Leader of City of Edinburgh Council, said:“This is a very special year for the Fringe, not only does it see the return of a jam-packed programme of artists and performers from across the globe, it is also marks 75 years of this remarkable festival. The Fringe’s varied programme promises to impress, entertain and educate audiences of all ages with performers visiting the capital to showcase their work and meet new audiences.
“This year also marks the fifth year of Fringe Days Out where people have the opportunity to enjoy the Fringe. Through partnerships with schools, community groups, charities and organisations Fringe vouchers, bus tickets and additional support is provided to offer residents the choice to visit the festival. I would encourage everyone to explore this year’s programme– it’s not to be missed.”
Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: “The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is a fantastic platform for artists, performers and communities to connect, enjoy and share memorable experiences. It is also a key part of Scotland’s portfolio of world-class events and having the Fringe in our calendar further strengthens the country’s position as a leading events destination and the perfect stage for events.
“The launch of the 2022 programme is a wonderful milestone as we celebrate 75 years of this amazing event and return of an international cultural icon. Whether it’s comedy, music or theatre, now is the time to plan and enjoy experiences that stir the emotions and elevate in-the-moment moods.”
James Stafford Head of Partnerships & Community at TikTok said: “The Edinburgh Fringe is a unique moment that brings together emerging artists in a celebration of creativity. Our partnership places TikTok’s global community at the heart of the iconic festival, and celebrates our joint belief that creativity is for everyone. TikTok is the home of entertainment and creativity and I know our community will welcome the opportunity to discover new artists, collaborate, and be inspired.”
Barbara Smith, Managing Director of Johnnie Walker Princes Street, said: “The Johnnie Walker Princes Street team is delighted to be on board as Official Partner of The Edinburgh Festival Fringe in its momentous 75th year. 2022 is a big year for us, too, as we’ll enjoy our first summer open, and we can’t wait to help entertain the festival crowds when they arrive come August. We’re very much looking forward to hosting our own unmissable programme of events in our ‘Label Studio’ space as part of our ‘Pick of the Fringe’ series. Our guests can expect to enjoy an exciting and diverse mix of comedy, music, and theatre, paired with some of the most creative cocktails and tastiest drams Scotland has to offer.”
KEY THEMES IN 2022
Gender and gender identity
A hot topic for many artists this year, gender and gender identity take centre stage for ALOK, an acclaimed writer, performer and public speaker who brings their new comedy and poetry show to the Fringe this year (Traverse, p.49). Jeena Bloom the Homecoming Queen is a show about a transgender woman’s journey through America (Gilded Balloon Teviot, p.97) and Will Hodgson: Barbicidal Tendencies brings “Chippenham’s cult-favourite, genderqueer, punk storyteller” back to the Fringe (Just The Tonic @ the Caves, p.154). Aidan Sadler: Tropicana (Assembly George Square, p.12) explores the gender-binary with “80’s synth-pop nostalgia punctuated with world class stand-up comedy”, while in Some Other Mirror (Pianodrome at the Old Royal High, p.317) a “performer fights to come to terms with being a trans man and is visited by alternative versions of himself who offer advice”. In A Boxing, Crossdressing, Commando Show (Laughing Horse @ City Café, p.60), identity is the question for three characters, “from three different perspectives and comedy styles”
Blood, Sweat and Vaginas is at Pleasance Courtyard with “hypnotic melodies, searing honesty and humour” as Carolann “stumbles out of her super-woman bubble to discover her sexuality is fluid, soul music is the language of her soul and menopause has definitely arrived” (p.254); at the same venue, Chloe Petts, “one of the most exciting acts on the UK scene” brings her new show Transience (p.65); Rob Madge: My Son’s a Queer (But What Can You Do) is an attempt to recreate a full-scale Disney parade from their youth, a “joyous, chaotic, autobiographical story” (Underbelly George Square, p.311); at Laughing Horse @ City Café Eliott Simpson: (A)Sexy and I Know It (p.78)explores “the bizarre life of an asexual man trying to survive in a sex-obsessed world”. Queenz – The Show with Balls! Returns to the Fringe, “featuring mind blowing live vocals, and not a lip-sync in sight” at Assembly Halls (p.23).
Ali Woods: Best Friend Ever sees the award-winning Scottish comedian cover “Scottish mothers, sex parties, karate teachers, and mental breakdowns” at Underbelly Bristo Square (p.47), while What Mental Health Crisis? at The Stand’s New Town Theatre (p.241) sees Professor Stephen Lawrie argue for funding of mental health services while in A Depression-Cure Show, Jonathan Winfieldlooks at family trauma with a comedic twist involving “therapy puppets, silly dancing, the royal family and Lycra” (theSpace @ Surgeons Hall, p.74). Tom tracks a father’s search for meaning in his son’s suicide (Assembly Rooms, p.323) and I Was Naked, Smelling of Rain is a “life-affirming” story of “absence, presence, loneliness and dis/connectedness through the lens of weather, climate change and wellbeing”, part of the Horizon showcase and at ZOO Playground (p.283). Alfie Brown: Sensitive Man asks “does emotion help us make moral judgments?” at Monkey Barrel Comedy (p.47), and at Summerhall, He’s Dead is a “dark fantasy choreography” which discusses whether Tupac was depressed to “unearth the unspoken dehumanisation of marginalised people and Black experience of mental health” (p.163) Looking at mental health in a more comedic way, Moni Zhang: Child from Wuhan takes on “trauma, love and diarrhoea” (Laughing Horse @ The Three Sisters, p.117) and Jacob Hawley: Bump (Monkey Barrel Comedy (The Hive), p.95) asks “if he’s finally graduated from drugs to antipasti”. Caroline McEvoy and Farah Sharp: 60 Minutes to Self-Destruct is a split-bill show from two comedians who are “used to conflict”, though their greatest enemies are themselves (Just the Tonic at The Mash House, p.62).
The Rainbow – A Rehearsed Reading of a New Adaptation is at ZOO Southside (p.309), a show from award-winning neurodivergent playwright Nicola Werenowska “focusing on three Polish women”. Buzzing Anonymous (Arthur Conan Doyle Centre, p.258) explores the friendships made in an ADHD support group in a dramatic comedy, while The Changeling Girl tells the story of “Agnes, an autistic girl living in medieval England who is accused of being a fairy changeling” (theSpace on North Bridge, p.260). In comedy, Ian Lynam: Autistic License covers “diagnosis, relationships, sexuality, creativity and the history of autism”(Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose, p.92); Clare Harrison McCartney: Box Ticker chats about her Britain’s Got Talent performance and lockdown while “having to mask her neurological disorders” (PBH’s Free Fringe @ Brewdog Doghouse, p.67); in Alice Brine’s show Brinestorm at Gilded Balloon Teviot “the award-winning, sell-out New Zealand comedian rips the lid off the reality of life with ADHD” (p.47) and Sean Logan: Full Spectrum at the Pianodrome at the Old Royal High brings “funky and furious keyboard acrobatics” with thoughts on life as a neurodiverse musician (p.215).
Race and racial identity
Blood and Gold at Royal Lyceum Theatre is a contemporary exploration of the legacy of colonialism and slavery by award-winning Scottish/Kenyan storyteller Mara Menzies. At Pleasance Dome, Brown Boys Swim is a new writing piece on coming of age and swimming where “Karim Khan examines the pressures faced by young Muslim men in this exhilarating new play about fitting in and striking out” (p.257), and at the same venue Kai Samra: Native will discuss “race, class, immigration, youth homelessness, India and, more importantly, 2010 indie-rock bands” in a new hour of stand-up (p.102). Aliya Kanani: Where You From, From “takes us on a turbulent journey around the world with tales of fitting in, sticking out and standing up” in an internationally sold-out show at Just the Tonic at The Tron (p.48).From Paines Plough and Rose Theatre Kingston, Half-Empty Glasses explores the lack of Black British history in Toye’s school curriculum as he prepares “to enter a prestigious music school” (Roundabout @ Summerhall, p.277). Delving into “the challenges a Black woman faces when daring to move into her power”, Black Sheep is at Assembly Rooms and showcases “one of the UK’s up-and-coming Black voices”, Livia Kojo Alour (p.253), while Isto é um Negro? (This is a Black?) is at Summerhall, and investigates what it is “to be a black artist in Brazil today” (p.287). At Underbelly, award-winning Sudanese-Aussie comedian Emo Majok “will be digging into his experiences of culture clashes, with side-splitting stories of adjusting from a refugee camp in East Africa to gifting out jokes globally” in his Edinburgh debut with African Aussie (p.79).
Blindingly Obvious comes to C venues from “Britain’s friendliest blind physicist”, award-winning broadcaster Richard Wheatley (p.60). Aaron Simmonds: Hot Wheels talks about being in a wheelchair, his “really cool nickname” and more at Pleasance Courtyard (p.43), and from the award-winning writer of Rust, Blue & Pip is a “modern-day folktale about endometriosis, the patriarchal healthcare system and the ebbing of the tides” at theSpace on North Bridge (p.255). Earwig is at Assembly Rooms, the story of a deaf entomologist in 1927, fighting to be heard “amidst flappers, jazz and an overbearing husband” (p.268); Deaf Action have a host of shows including Spill Your Drink: A Deaf Cabaret, “rude, riotous celebration of Scottish deaf talent” (p.24), and part of the CODI showcase is The Sign Language Myth, where Annelies Kusters “asks if the global deaf community need to be multilingual or could there be a single sign language understood world-wide” at The Stand’s New Town Theatre (p.239). At Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose, Tinted is a monologue by Amy Bethan Evans about “a visually-impaired, hot nerd” called Laura and the intersections between consent and disability (p.323), and at PBH’s Free Fringe @ The Street, The Azure Sky in Oz, Yellow and Special “follows two women whose lives are profoundly changed by their immersion in the world of the other-abled” (p.250).
Deborah Frances-White and guests are back with The Guilty Feminist at Gilded Balloon Teviot (p.88), proving that “you don’t have to be perfect to smash the patriarchy”, and Eme Essien: Flat Shoes In The Club (Underbelly, Bristo Square, p.78) looks at the “internal conflict of a woman trying to achieve modern ideals” in Underbelly, Bristo Square. More comedy includes The LOL Word (Monkey Barrel Comedy, p.108), back with “queer women, trans and non-binary stand-up” and in cabaret, The Sian Clarke Experience (Underbelly Cowgate, p.315) is “an ode to every man who has belittled her, made her feel unsafe, objectified her, told her she can’t be funny, called her a slut, told her to smile more”. Part of The Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas selection is Can the Police Be Feminist? (The Stand’s New Town Theatre, p.232), where Emily Mann questions whether policing and feminism are compatible. Apradhini – Women Without Men (Laughing Horse @ The Counting House, p.247) has two actors performing five stories from incarcerated women in India, while, at Dance Base, Nutcrusher looks at “sexual objectification and power” as part of the Horizon showcase (p.166), and The Grandmothers Grimm at Greenside @ Riddles Court (p.276) explores the women’s voices lost in the editing of the dark fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm.
In Antennae (C venues, p.246) a “gender non-conforming praying mantis named E” prompts a Zoom confessional, and Lag: A Zoomsical Comedy (p.224)shows the musical side of a self-care and meditation class moving online at the beginning of the pandemic (Fringe Online). Love in the Time of Lockdown (The New Variant) returns with a story which goes from “harrowing to hilarious” (theSpace @ Surgeons Hall, p.293) and Nancy Clench: If Your Symptoms Aren’t Life-Threatening, Please Hold! (Just the Tonic Nucleus, p.118) returns with the drag queen’s thoughts on “life in the pandemic, her own medical woes and some advice for you”. Exploring loneliness and isolation, Pernille Haaland: Resting Confused Face sees the comedian sign up for online therapy after moving back home to rural Norway (Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose, p.126); Box’d (Greenside @ Infirmary Street, p.255) portrays the “intricacies of a toxic relationship and domestic imprisonment”, and Ice Age presents the collaboration between visually impaired choreographer Chung An-Chang and disabled choreographer Maylis Arrabit, “evoking lockdown coexistence between parallel realities” (Dance Base, p.264).
Experiences of migration
Paines Plough returns to the Fringe with A Sudden Violent Burst of Rain; from award-winning playwright Sami Ibrahim, it presents a “poetic fable of an impenetrable immigration system” (ROUNDABOUT @ Summerhall, p.318). Admiral details the story of Admiral; invited to Britain as part of the Windrush Generation, he faces being sent back to a land he doesn’t know at the age of 71(theSpaceTriplex, p.243). Silkworm asks how two women seeking asylum in the UK based on their sexual orientation will prove their claim (Assembly Roxy, p.315). Migrant Shakespeare sees migrant actors deliver some of the Shakespeare’s best-loved speeches to explore what happens when the bard “is migrated to an alien environment” (C venues, p.297), and Daddy Issues is a dark comedy delving into “sex work, taboos, feminism, immigration and trauma” at Pleasance Courtyard (p.264. In comedy, Vidura Bandara Rajapaksa: Monsoon Season (Monkey Barrel Comedy (The Hive), p.153) traces the story of how the comedian and his family left “left war-ridden Sri Lanka in search of a better life” and ended up in a Scottish nightclub; and Abigoliah Schamaun: Legally Cheeky (Just the Tonic at The Tron, p.43) ridicules bureaucracy as she tells of fighting for her right to remain.
From award-winning Chalk Line Theatre, Blanket Ban dissects Malta’s abortion laws in a show “propelled by three years of interviews with anonymous contributors and their own lived experience, actors and activists Marta and Davinia interrogate Malta’s restrictions on the freedom of women” (Underbelly – Cowgate, p.253). Some specifically British political shows include Bloody Difficult Women at Assembly Rooms, inspired by the court case brought by Gina Miller against Theresa May’s government, “revealing – often hilarious – theatre, but ultimately it’s a tragedy” (p.254). Independence at Hill Street Theatre (p. 286) deals with the matter of Scottish independence, going from 2014 to the present day “with wit and humour as two families decide how to vote”. Boris the Third (Pleasance Courtyard, p.255) imagines how Boris Johnson might have played Richard III in his school play, “A possible origin story for one of the most colourful and divisive figures in modern British politics”.Broadcaster Iain Dale is back with his “incisive insight on current affairs” and interviewees including Keir Starmer, Nadine Dorries, Ash Sakar and Ruth Davidson at Pleasance at EICC (p.234-4), and Edinburgh-born supermodel Eunice Olumide brings her show AfroPolitiCool to The Stand’s New Town Theatre (p.45) to deep-dive into “mind-boggling conundrum of narcissists, sociopaths and psychopathic leaders and HR Karen’s running and ruining the planet worldwide”. Party sees “small minds tackling big issues” as five idealists form a political party “to save the world from itself” and eat cake (Greenside @ Infirmary Street, p.304). One Empire, Under God is an “epic dystopian drama about the threat of religious extremism and right-wing populism” that’s available at Fringe Online (p.302), and The Seed of the Holyman (theSpace on North Bridge, p. 313) is a layered political satire, a “bizarre, immersive play-within-a-play set in a 17th-century playhouse”.
Work for Children
Beware the Beasts by Shona Cowie at the Scottish Storytelling Centre (p. 27) will protect young audiences from being “squashed or turned into a nugget”, while Dan Colley and Riverbank Arts Centre bring their magical realism to the stage with A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings (p. 39). Deaf Action present Once Upon a Raindrop at their venue Braidwood Centre (p. 36), a “raindrop in a round the world journey as part of their inaugural Edinburgh Deaf Festival, and Manual Cinema bring their unique live cinema style to Leonardo! A Wonderful Show About a Terrible Monster at Underbelly (p. 35). For those who enjoy taking part, ComedySportz UK at Laughing Horse @ The Counting House (p. 30) will let the audience decide who wins in a series of competitive improv games, and Captain Zak and the Space Pirates at Pleasance Courtyard (p. 29) s looking for new Space Pirate recruits to help him solves puzzles and sing songs to survive the bubble attack. If politics is your thing, then Den of Enquiry from Miranda Duffy (theSpace @Surgeons Hall, p.30) gets kids to the heart of democracy and “kickstarts the big questions, while the scientists in your family can enjoy a wealth of science-based shows, including Covid for Kids at Pleasance Courtyard (p. 30), Inside the Robot: Quick I Need Your Help at Just the Tonic at The Caves (p. 34), and Mark Thompson’s Spectacular Science Show at Gilded Balloon (p. 35). Dancebase present WhirlyGig as part of the Made in Scotland Showcase (p. 39), while Circabring their Carnival of the Animals to the House of Oz (p.28).
As a charity, the work of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society would not be possible without the valuable support of our partners, sponsors and funders, including sponsors TikTok, Johnnie Walker Princes Street, Edinburgh Gin and Cirrus Logic, and partners St James Quarter and Nuveen,. Our thanks to these companies who generously support our work, and to the Balmoral Hotel, Gleneagles Townhouse, Waldorf Astoria, UniteStudent and the Kimpton Hotel. We are grateful to Baillie Gifford for supporting our Fringe Days Out programme, EventScotland for their support of the Fringe street events and to Crowdfunder for supporting artist and venue crowdfunding. We are grateful for funding through the PLACE Programme, a partnership between the Scottish Government – through Creative Scotland – the City of Edinburgh Council and Festivals Edinburgh; to Scottish Government for Made in Scotland through the Festivals Expo Fund – managed through Creative Scotland – and the continued support from the City of Edinburgh Council. We are grateful also to City of Edinburgh Council for their support of street events, British Council for their support of Voices from the South as well as to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport for their funding for Marketplace. We would also like to thank our accommodation partners who provide much needed affordable accommodation to artists – Theatre Digs Booker, Queen Margaret University, Napier University and the University of Edinburgh. Our thanks also to our Fringe Angels, Patrons, Friends and supporters who help make the Fringe happen each year. And those who provide support in many other ways, including Hibernian Football Club, Bellfield Brewery, Everyman Cinema and the EICC
The Fringe Society is proud to continue its Fringe Days Out scheme, launched in 2017, enabling thousands of Edinburgh residents to connect with the Fringe. In partnership with 32 local charities, community groups and schools, to date Fringe Days Out has helped nearly 10,000 people from across Edinburgh to visit the festival and attend a show. We aim to triple the project’s initial value to £150,000 by 2025 as part of our continuing long-term commitment to supporting as many residents of our city as possible to experience a Fringe Day Out.
The Fringe Society is also pleased to announce that the Children and Young People (CYP) ticketing scheme, first launched in 2014, is returning in 2022, with tickets generously donated by Fringe artists and companies as a thank you to Edinburgh for hosting the festival. The tickets are distributed through community partner organisations, and are intended for those who otherwise wouldn’t visit the festival.
The Fringe Society continues to work on improving access to the Fringe. We run a range of projects to ensure the festival is accessible to as many people as possible, from sensory backpacks for people who may find the festival overwhelming to our dedicated access tickets service. You can find a summary of the access services we offer below – for more information please visit edfringe.com/accesstickets.
- The Fringe Society has a number of sensory backpacks which are available to borrow on a first-come, first-serve basis (free of charge) for autistic children and adults, to help make the Fringe experience as enjoyable as possible. Backpacks will be available to collect from the Fringe Shop on the High Street from 06 August, or can be booked in advance by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the backpacks, please visit edfringe.com/accessibility.
- Our access tickets service is designed to help anyone with an access requirement make the most of their time at the Fringe. It can be reached by phone on +44 (0)131 226 0002, email at email@example.com or by text message on +44 (0)7860 018 29. BSL users can contact us via an online BSL / English interpreter. You can download Contact Scotland BSL’s app via smartphone or tablet at contactscotland-bsl.org/download.
- BSL interpreted street performances will take place on the West Parliament Square stage throughout the day on 07, 11, 21, 25 and 28 August. We are delighted to be working once again with Deaf Action to provide this.
- The Fringe Changing Places toilet will belocated on the corner of Windmill Street and Chapel Street, EH8 9LE, 10:00 to 01:00, 05 to 29 August. Changing Places toilets include an adult-sized changing bench and hoist, for people who are unable to use a standard accessible toilet. This will be accessible by a radar key, which can be collected from the Assembly team at the entrance to Assembly George Square Gardens. We are delighted to be working with the University of Edinburgh Festivals Office and the team at Assembly to provide this facility.
- Our Venue Access Awards have been developed in partnership with Attitude is Everything, which promotes accessibility best practice across Fringe venues. 34 venues in this year’s programme have signed up to the awards – and we’re delighted that the Pleasance have joined Dance Base at our highest level of award. You can find out more at edfringe.com/experience/how-to-plan/access-at-the-fringe/venue-access-award
- For enhanced performances that have BSL interpretation, captioning, audio description or relaxed performances, please check tickets.edfringe.com/accessibility/accessible-shows. These are also, for the first time, listed in the back of the Fringe programme, with more performances to be added to the listings online.
- As in previous years, the Fringe Society will be offering updated equalities training to Fringe and venue staff.
- We’re delighted to be working with Drake Music Scotland this year. Drake Music Scotland will be curating an hour of performances from local neurodiverse and disabled artists on the St Andrews Square Tik Tok taster stage on 24 August.
63% of Fringe shows in the 2022 programme are accessible to wheelchair users, with 36% of Fringe venue spaces currently accessible to wheelchair users.
We are delighted to be supporting schools and teachers from Edinburgh and the Lothians to experience performances at the Fringe this year. We are working with Gracemount High School, Tynecastle High School and, for the first time, St Augustine’s High School, supporting pupils to see work at the Fringe. Since the project started in 2018, over 600 pupils have visited the Fringe, with the cost of tickets, food and transport covered by a private donation.
We are pleased to once again be running our Teachers’ Theatre Club initiative, in partnership with Imaginate, as well as introducing the National Teachers’ Theatre Club in partnership with Imaginate and the National Theatre of Scotland. Both projects provide continuous professional learning for teachers, allowing them to explore a variety of work, meet artists and make new connections. Both Teachers’ Theatre Club and National Teachers’ Theatre Club are funded through the PLACE Programme, a partnership between the Scottish Government – through Creative Scotland – the City of Edinburgh Council and Festivals Edinburgh. Find out more by visiting edfringe.com/learn/learning/teachers-theatre-club.
In addition to the long-established performance areas on the Royal Mile and the Mound Precinct, the popular Fringe street events will this year also take place in East Princes Street Gardens, St Andrew Square and Cathedral Square outside St James Quarter. Visitors to the street events will be able to follow a route taking in each of the performance sites using a map included in the official printed Fringe programme.
The expansion of the street events programme is supported by TikTok, which will provide ‘taster stages’ in both St Andrew Square and Cathedral Square where registered Fringe artists can perform short snippets of their shows, giving festivalgoers a free taste of the performance. TikTok will livestream from these stages, giving artists the opportunity to connect with new audiences around the world. On the Royal Mile, two screens will stream TikTok Fringe content and will be available to registered artists as a way to promote their shows. The return of the street events programme is being supported by EventScotland (part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate), and Creative Scotland, and delivered by Unique Events.
The street events’ expansion coincides with the establishment of a Street Performer Charter, which lays out a set of values shared by the Fringe Society and the street performing community, as represented by the Street Performers’ Council. The Charter, which includes commitments from the Fringe Society and street performers, will facilitate fair and open decision making. Among its various commitments, the Charter works towards increasing accessibility of street events, taking social responsibility for pay and sustainability goals, and improving health, safety and mental wellbeing among street performers.
Following several years of development since its launch in 2020, we’re pleased to bring back Fringe Marketplace at this year’s festival.
Fringe Marketplace is our dedicated digital showcase platform that builds on the festival’s well-earned reputation as a springboard to careers in the arts sector. It puts professional, tour-ready work in front of international arts industry professionals with proven capacity to offer significant development pathways to artists, to the benefit of both.
We’re expecting over 200 shows to be listed on Fringe Marketplace from its launch on 11 July, with more added throughout the festival. The platform will remain active as a programming tool all year round and will offer industry members unable to attend in person the opportunity to engage more readily with the programme. We’re grateful to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, through Arts Council England, for their support with this work.
Screen Fringe is aninternational delegate programme set up by Screen Scotland with the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, to discover, spotlight and connect theatre and comedy talent with film and TV makers from Scotland, the UK and beyond.
Following a successful pilot in 2019, the programme takes inspiration from the likes of Scottish director / writer Adura Onashile’s critically acclaimed short film Expensive Shit and writer Kieran Hurley’s debut feature film Beats, both of which enjoyed successful Fringe runs before being picked up and reimagined for film.
Isabel Davis, Executive Director at Screen Scotland, said: “The premise of our pilot in 2019 was simple: to make it easier for film and TV makers to unearth talent and stories unveiled at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe that could be ripe for development as film or TV. Its obvious usefulness to industry, after three more years of huge growth in high-end TV production and viewing figures, is why we’re chomping at the bit to deliver a bigger version in 2022. Partnering with the wonderful folk at the Fringe is a joy, an inspiration and often a revelation – performing arts, film and TV should talk more often!”
The Screen Fringe programme will support delegates from the film and TV sector with festival programme navigation, show curation and access to ticketing throughout August. There will also be a programme of additional activity during 15 – 22 August, including industry advice panels, networking and social events. Delegates will have access to a dedicated Screen Fringe Manager and Screen Fringe Assistant, to offer bespoke support and make the most of Fringe opportunities.
Shona McCarthy, Chief Executive Officer at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, said: “I’m absolutely delighted that Screen Fringe is returning this year after a successful pilot in 2019. The Fringe is the biggest arts marketplace in the world: its where raw talent is spotted, new opportunities are created and important creative relationships are made.
“An important element of our work at the Fringe Society is helping to facilitate further opportunities for artists as a result of their run at the festival. For many, this means exploring the option of adapting their work for film and TV, and this partnership aims to support those who are looking to make that exciting step. It is a joy to be working on this with the expertise of the team at Screen Scotland, Screen Fringe will not only be connecting production companies with shows and performers for potential screen adaptation, but will also be running a series of panel events, discussions, and networking events for commissioners, producers, and performers alike.
Delegates and industry professionals are being encouraged to register for accreditation as soon as possible, so that they have access to Marketplace and events. Register via the following link: https://edfringeartsindustryinfo.online.red61.co.uk/
Members with Accreditation Plus will be granted access to our specialised Fringe Festival database, ‘Marketplace’, which has been set up to provide more detailed information on the shows, as well as rights availability.
Fringe Marketplace is a platform showcasing ‘tour-ready’ and highly professional shows that are curated by a selection of Fringe venues. The shows identified as fulfilling the criteria receive a full page of tour- and screen-related information about the show and performing company.
Delegates who register will also have access to Fringe Connect, our online events space and social network for Fringe artists and arts industry.
All Screen Fringe enquiries should be directed to: Screen@edfringe.com
A variety of new and unique venues will be opening their doors at this year’s Fringe. Hope City will have a line-up of music shows including the Jon Green Quintet. Marchmont St Giles Church will host free afternoon music performances, and Sacred Heart Church will be home to a large-scale visual art presentation. House of Oz, a hub for the UK/Australia season of work, will sit within the King’s Hall.
A number of new outdoor venues have popped up this year to facilitate tours of the city, including Red Bus Bistro at Bristo Square Bus Stop which will host Raymond Mearns’ Big Red Bus Tour Around Edinburgh! and Meeting Point at East Princes Street Gardens, Corner of Market Street and Waverley Bridge, where Pavementology will tour participants through a history of street performance in Edinburgh. At the St James Quarter B3 Car Park, Deaf Action host their Deaf Rave, “an accessible daytime clubbing experience promoting deaf identity and culture whilst bringing music to the masses”, while the Meeting Point @ Potterrow Underpass (Lothian Street Side) will be the starting point for a Darwin in Edinburgh tour.
A range of children’s shows, theatre, dance and music performances will be held at Pianodrome at the Old Royal High, including fittingly piano-themed shows I Piano and First Piano on the Moon.
Some established Fringe venues are venturing into new spaces in the city, including Just the Tonic at Nucleus (near Pleasance), Riddles Court @ Greenside on the city’s historic Royal Mile, and St James Quarter (based within a Spiegeltent), Laughing Horse @ Murrayfield Hotel, PBH’s Free Fringe @ Roti and Brewdog House and Dance Base Meeting Point @ Consulate General of Ireland, where a production of Strawboys will be performed. Likewise, Gilded Balloon at the Pitt will host “live comedy, music and cabaret” as part of its Leith Social events. More stand-up can be found at the cocktail bar Smoke and Mirrors, and at Mono Restaurant there will be a Drag Queen Wine Tasting event.
Some new venues are repurposing their everyday uses for the Fringe: Pins and Needles, a craft store in Tollcross, will house Sweater Worthy, a show about grief and knitting, while the Scottish Comedy Festival adds Waverley Bar to its roster, with performances from comedians including Ray Bradshaw and Mike Rice.
This year’s programme features a wealth of famous names from stage, film, TV, comedy and beyond.
Legendary star of stage and screen Sir Ian McKellen brings Hamletto Ashton Hall, St Stephens Stockbridge in collaboration with Peter Schaufuss (p.277), and Fringe veteran Stewart Lee has two shows: the final run of Snowflakeat the Stand’s New Town Theatre and his Work in Progress, Basic Lee, at The Stand Comedy Club (p.147).
Francesca Moody Productions bring two shows to Roundabout @ Summerhall: Feeling Afraid as If Something Terrible is Going to Happen (p.271), in which a “permanently single, professionally neurotic stand-up finally meets Mr Right and then does everything wrong”, and Kathy and Stella Solve a Murder (p.224), which sees a pair of true-crime podcasters become investigators in real life. At theSpace @ Surgeon’s Hall, Sylvester McCoy and Linda Marlowe star in Apartness with Eleanor May Blackburn, “a multimedia hybrid, part live stand-up, part film” in a “tale of two isolated souls and their devilish comedian saviour” (p.246).
Fringe favourites from the world of comedy include Frankie Boyle with his show Lap of Shame (Assembly Rooms – Music Hall, p.83); American comedian Janeane Garofalo stars in Pardon My Tangentat Gilded Balloon Teviot (p.96); Omid Djalili brings The Good Timeson stage at The Stand’s New Town Theatre (p.123); Frank Skinner explores 30 Years of Dirt (Assembly Roxy, p.83) and Al Murray is back with a Gig for Victory (Assembly George Square Gardens, p.46). Josie Long: Re-Enchantment presents an hour “infused with humanity, compassion and probably some brief political rants” (Monkey Barrell Comedy, p.101), Catherine Bohart gives out some “horrendous life advice” at Monkey Barrell Comedy with her show This Isn’t For You (p.64) and Phil Wang: The Real Hero in All This brings his “British-Malaysian variant of comedy” to the Fringe at Assembly George Square Gardens (p.127). Reginald D. Hunter comes to Edinburgh with his show Bombe Shuffleur (Assembly Rooms, p.130) and Jerry Sadowitz presents Not for Anyone, featuring “whacky impressions of Greta Thunberg, Frankie Boyle and deep vein thrombosis” (Pleasance at EICC, p.97).
Drag Race star Bianca Del Rio brings Unsanitised: “She’s vaxxed, she’s waxed and she has more attitude than ever” (Pleasance at EICC, p.58), and Jinkx Monsoon is at Assembly, with her “bawdy stories, unique covers and original music from the powerhouse queen and her acclaimed partner pianist Major Scales”. Rachel Parris: All Change Please will perform “stand-up and songs about sudden love, the highs and lows of relationships, family, weddings, kids, going viral, going mental” at Underbelly George Square (p.128). Shazia Mirza presents Coconut, based on the dawning realisation that “maybe my parents were right” (Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose, p. 141) and Daniel Sloss brings his New Work in Progress to Just the Tonic Nucleus (p.70). Nish Kumar presents Your Power, Your Control at Assembly George Square (p.121), in which he takes the COVID pandemic and political upheaval personally; Fern Brady tackles “death, shagging, marriage and ageing” in her show Autistic Bikini Queen (Assembly Hall, p. 82); and Paul Sinha comes to the Fringe with One Sinha Lifetime, at The Stand’s New Town Theatre (p.125).
In music and cabaret, the “Queen of the Fringe”, Camille O’Sullivan presents Dreaming, with the music of Bowie, Cohen, Pulp, Radiohead and Rufus Wainwright (Underbelly, Bristo Square, p.190), while Blood Harmony at Traverse features new music from The Staves(p. 254). Reuben Kaye returns with The Butch is Back (Assembly Checkpoint, p.131), attempting “to tear the world apart and put it back together”.
A whole host of famous faces come to chat for the In Conversation with… series at The Stand’s New Town Theatre: guests include politicians such as Jeremy Corbyn (p.236) and Andy Burnham (p.237), journalists such as Hugo Rifkind (p.236) and Alex Thomson (p.235), Professor and Chair of Global Public Health at The University of Edinburgh, Devi Sridhar (p.236), and businesswoman and TV personality Deborah Meaden (p.236).
The Fringe once again provides an unparalleled platform for new and emerging talent in 2022. Australian drag queen Karen from Finance presents her debut one woman show Out of Office at Underbelly Bristo Square (p.20), while TikTok favourites Sugarcoated Sisters take to the physical stage for the first time in cabaret show Bittersweet at Just the Tonic at the Caves (p.24). The Acoustic Music Centre @ UCC presents a trio duo of Scotland-based female artists – Ellyn Oliver and, Amy Papiranksy and Unoma Okudo – are at Hope City (p.185).
New York’s Thrapp Theatrics present their world debut Lighthouse: An Immersive Drinking Musical at Greenside @ Infirmary Street (p. 225), while fellow American Sarah Sherman takes a break from appearances on Saturday Night Live to make her Edinburgh debut at Gilded Balloon (p.137). Joseph Parsons is at Just the Tonic at The Mash House with Equaliser, “his hotly anticipated debut hour of comedy about being a gay sports fan” (p.101). At Laughing Horse @ Cabaret Voltaire, rising comics Allyson June Smith and Daisy Earl are Working Out their latest material in a split bill, and at Paradise in Augustines (p.49), Andy Casper and Héctor Ayala “make light of their experiences of living as immigrants in Barcelona” in Brexico (p.61). The Scottish Comedy Festival is also hosting a few splits between up-and-coming comedians: I’m Not a Girlboss, Not Yet a Womanboss (The Chrisroads Redux) features Edinburgh locals Chris Weir and Chris Iskander (p.92), while Talking Heids boasts Paul McDaniel, Mick McNeill and Fearghas Kelly (p.148).
At Greenside @ Riddles Court, Agnieszka Kazimierska makes her Fringe debut with Katie’s Tales, exploring themes of love and desire (p.288), while One of Two at Summerhall is Jack Hunter‘s debut comedy about disability and social isolation, presented in association with Birds of Paradise Theatre (p.124). At Pleasance Dome, Charlotte Johnson presents My Dad and Other Lies, an irreverent debut hour tackling politics in the fake news era (p.261).
FREE AND PAY WHAT YOU CAN SHOWS
There are 355 free shows, 217 Pay What You Can and 234 Pay What You Want shows in this year’s programme. TheLock-In Cabaret comes to PBH’s Free Fringe @ Voodoo Rooms (p.21) with hosts Griffin and Jones for “late-night chaos, decadence and mischief”, and Ageing Folks Telling Jokes are “the finest comics over 40” at Laughing Horse @ The Three Sisters (p.45). Go to Greenside @ Infirmary Street to watch Down to Earth, a story of Gene Christ, park ranger and son of God, from an award-winning theatrical duo, and to Laughing Horse @ 32 Below (p.268) to explore whether Julia’s version of a nuclear apocalypse comes true in Helena Coggan’s Daylight (p.264). Free Fringe Music from Laughing Horsewill be on Fridays and weekends at locations such as The Granary, The Murrayfield Hotel and The Golf Tavern (p.198), while Jew-O-Rama brings “the best in neurotic comedy” to PBH’s Free Fringe @ Whistlebinkies (p.97), and The Fourth Annual Black Comedy Showcase returns with “four top Black international comedy acts and a token straight white male” (PBH’s Free Fringe @ Bannermans, p.83).
MADE IN SCOTLAND
The Made in Scotland programme – a collaboration between the Fringe Society, the Federation of Scottish Theatre, Scottish Music Centre and Creative Scotland – continues to showcase the best in homegrown dance, theatre and music, with 27 artists, companies and ensembles who will present their work this year make up the largest ever Made in Scotland showcase since its inception in 2009.
The Made in Scotland showcase is made possible through funding from the Scottish Government’s Expo Fund,and is a partnership between the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, Creative Scotland, Federation of Scottish Theatre and the Scottish Music Centre.
The programme this August includes a world premiere of Exodus (Traverse Theatre, p.270), a bold satire about one politician’s bid to become her country’s leader, and The Chosen Haram by award-winning Edinburgh-born queer artist Sadiq Ali, which tackles love, drugs and Islam (Summerhall, p.159). Four musicians bring musical puzzles to the audience in Whirlygig (Dance Base, p.39) and Black Glass in Pieces is presented by award-winning experimental composer Michael Begg at the Queen’s Hall (p.188). Nordic Viola brings Sagas and Seascapes, commissioned for Orkney International Science Festival 2021 (Scottish Storytelling Centre and also online, p.214).
Alongside those appearing from Scotland and the UK, performers from 54 countries around the world will be coming to the Fringe this year, with many return visitors.
In the Ireland Showcase this year, Masterclass from Adrienne Truscott and Brokentalkers parodies the “great male artist” (Pleasance Dome, p.297), and comedy The Last Return sees five people queue for a ticket and defend their territory at all costs (Traverse, p.290). Award-winning company Fishamble presents a special work-in-progress, King, by Herald Archangel winner Pat Kinevane (Dance Base, p.288). From Start to Finnish: Kvartetto at Summerhall is a disabled-performer-led show which comments on the right of people classified as intellectually disabled to be regarded as dancers, performers and participants in society; in Raging Mother, myths around motherhood are shaken up in an honest portrayal of a mother’s life (ZOO Southside, p.309). The Swiss Selection at Summerhall includes Mama Love, a one-woman show from Lea Blair Whitcher which deals with toxic idealisations of motherhood (p.295); Shame on You, a Swiss/Russian duo discuss shame for their own actions and those of their countries (p.314); and Guide to Surviving Masculinist Territory, a walk through incel territory where the audience decides how far they want to venture (p.276). From Denmark, Walk-Man (ZOO Southside, p.170) features stunts and “raw physicality” from Don Gnu, to explore the routines of everyday life.
From Asia, part of the Korean Showcase 2022 is Mary, Chris, Mars, a puppetry show which uses live music and intricate miniature sets to explore what it means to spend time with others in person (Summerhall, p.296). Also from this showcase is Six Stories, where company WeMu, inspired by a Korean shamanic ritual known as Gut, creates music with a mixture of traditional Korean and Western instruments (theSpace @ Symposium Hall). Four shows are part of the Taiwan Season showcase, including See You, from choreographer Lai Hung-Chung, inspired by ideas of loss, longing, confrontation and evasion (Dance Base, p.216). Light of Life (Assembly George Square Studios, p.170) is an ocean-themed circus spectacle for all ages, making use of the diabolo, a spinning toy important in Taiwanese culture.
Fringe facts 2022
- Total shows: 3,171
- Total venues: 255
- Performances: 49,827
- Rest of UK 1,663
- Countries represented: 58• International countries: 54
- There are 355 free shows, 234 Pay What You Can shows, and 217 Pay As You Go shows
- There are 843 Scottish shows, with 533 shows coming from Edinburgh.
- Shows within each section:
- Cabaret & Variety 144
- Children’s 120
- Comedy 1,130
- Dance 138
- Events 45
- Exhibitions 36
- Music 415
- Musicals and Operas 100
- Spoken Word 140
- Theatre 903