NOTE on February 8, 20113: The Edinburgh Festival Program for August 2013 and my highlight picks will be issued later this Spring. Meanwhile, these listings from 2012 will give you an idea of what to expect.
The Edinburgh Fringe Festival program for 2012 lists 2,695 separate shows - an increase of 6% since last year. The number of individual performances is also up slightly - 42,096 compared to 41,689 in 2011.
Updated July 5, 2012
At 279, more than 20 new venues have been added since last year. But site specific work has become wilder than ever:
- PEEP takes 12 audience members to a private peep show hut in a car park
- and One Minute Bird Watching promises speed dating with birds and binoculars.
In the festival's biggest program ever, 1,418 shows are world premiers and a whopping 814 shows are free. A total of 22,457 performers will take part in productions from 47 countries and the UK's major cultural events of 2012 - the International Shakespeare Festival, The Cultural Olympiad and the Olympics themselves will be reflected in many of the works performed.
And the point of all these statistics?Just to warn you in advance how arbitrary my list of Edinburgh Festival highlights (or anyone else's for that matter) is likely to be.
- Fringe on the Royal Mile - Fringe Sunday with its free previews may be gone but 12 performance spaces on the Royal Mile will be in action from 11a.m for 10 hours daily, with street theatre, festival show previews and daily craft markets.
- The National Theatre of Scotland is back with Appointment with The Wicker Man - a version of the classic cult film at the Assembly Rooms. "It was brilliant, really just laugh, laugh, laugh," was the verdict of comedian Frankie Boyle.
Traverse Theatre Company - Anything going on at the Traverse, Scotland's new writing theatre, is likely to be exciting. As usual, in 2012, they've brought in guests companies from all over Britain and Ireland. And there's a feast of new work from Scotland. In all,they are staging more than 19 productions with 8 world premieres and 2 Scottish premieres. Look out for co-productions with the acclaimed Tricycle Theatre and Datum Point/Paines Plough among others. We'll we looking forward to:
- The Letter of Last Resort/Good With People - A double bill of plays about personal and political destruction by Scottish playwrights David Greig and David Harrower.
- Born to Run - Inspired by a true story and originally produced by Óran Mòr, the play explores "the ordinary and extraordinary journeys the body and the brain can go on when they are tested beyond the point of exhaustion".
- Check the Traverse Theatre website for detailed descriptions of their season at Edinburgh
- Tissue - Time Out recommended production in 2011, Muchmuchmore Theatre Company's production at the Bedlam Theatre uses physical theatre to explore a woman's journey through the issues surrounding breast cancer. "ensemble performance at its very best."
- The Yellow Wallpaper- An all-female company return with their acclaimed adaptation of Charlotte Perkins Gilman's chilling turn-of-the-century tale. Confined to a room, a young writer and new mother develops unhealthy obsessions. At the Gryphon Venues in The Point Hotel.
- Scamp Theatre presents Virginia Ironside:Growing Old Disgracefully - When a woman reaches sixty she can jump off a bridge or go on stage. At the Guilded Balloon Teviot
Belt Up Theatre - Since making a big splash at the festival in 2008, Belt Up Theatre have become the resident company of York Theatre Royal and among the hot tickets of the Edinburgh Fringe.Time Out calls them "Edinburgh Fringe Royalty."
In 2012, they return for three productions:
- The Boy James - returning after critically acclaimed sell-outs in London, Edinburgh and Australia, one boys awakening to the harsh realities of adulthood
- A Little Princess - Stunning adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett's well-loved novel.
- Outland - Lewis Carroll's characters guide you deeper into "imagined worlds you have forgotten" in this piece by Dominic J. Allen.
- Shakespeare for Breakfast - 21st sellout edition of the Bardic Breakfasters. The List calls this a "bouncy and boisterous take on Willie's work", while the Independent advises that is "Well worth getting out of bed for." Free coffee and croissants with a new storyline for Shakespeare's characters.At C Theatre
- Planet Lem - Poland's Teatr Biuro Podrozy brings a spectacular outdoor sci-fi performance, inspired by Stanislaw Lem's fiction, with flexible movable sets, multi-media technology, symphonic and post industrial music. On The Old College Quad, South Bridge.
For more ideas about plunging into the Edinburgh Festival, check out my Festival planning tips.