The Festival Fringe that is a part of The Edinburgh Festival is the largest arts festival in the world! The festival has humble beginnings, starting in 1947 when eight theatre troupes showed up, uninvited, to perform at The Edinburgh International Festival. Even though they were not a part of the official festival, they staged their shows anyway, and a tradition was born! More and more groups followed their example and in 1958 the Festival Fringe Society officially formed. To this day the society proudly invites “anyone with a story to tell and a venue willing to host them”.
The 2013 gathering this past August showcased 2,871 shows. Unlike the International Festival (see Part One of this review!) the fringe festival welcomes any group that can make the trip and pay to participate. While this may offer a different quality than the International Festival, it broadens the type of performances presented and really opens the festival to more experiences. The spectacular thing about the atmosphere of this festival is that it is everywhere. You never know what weird, wonderful or crazy thing might be waiting around a street corner. ! On the One Hand, performed by The Paper Birds and presented by Northern Stage, tells a story focused on what it means to age. The show was created through research within communities in the north of England and follows the narratives of six women, all at different ages and stages in their lives. The show was performed by four women portraying these six characters, and was artfully represented with furniture pieces such as a sofa, a bath, a fridge, hung at different heights from the ceiling.
To illustrate the different venues of this huge festival, another show that was presented, called A Pint of Stella was performed for free in a Jekyll and Hyde themed pub. Stella Graham recounted stories of her experiences from Coventry to Los Angeles, Thailand, New Zealand, and Brazil, just to name a few. It was funny, engaging to the audience and a more relaxed, informal venue than many performances. ! The Book Festival takes place every night from 9pm onwards in August. At the festival poets, novelists and everything in between read their work for audiences. Among them this summer was Kate Mosse, author of Labyrinth, Sepulcher, and Citadel. She read from her newest work, The Mistletoe Bride and other Haunting Tales.
A notable poet was Luke Wright, who performed his poem Essex Lion which describes when some Essex campers reported seeing a Lion, which turned out to just be a large cat. His performance was witty, but also sympathetic and left the audience crying with laughter.
Next year’s Edinburgh Festival, as always, will be in August. I know I hope to attend, will you?
Latest posts by Emily Lafferty (see all)
- The Edinburgh Festival, Part Two: Edinburgh Festival Fringe & Book Festival - December 8, 2013
- The Edinburgh Festival, Part One: Edinburgh International Festival - September 27, 2013
- How do you know if you have written the perfect play? - September 17, 2013