Fringe 2018 takes you Into The Unknown

Fringe 2018 launch 975x400

The world's largest festival of performing arts, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, has launched its full programme for August 2018, challenging audiences to leap #IntoTheUnknown

As ever the Fringe will engulf Edinburgh in an eclectic, eccentric and exceedingly entertaining eruption of extraordinary experiences, offering something for every and any taste. 

The Festival (3-27 August 2018), will deliver a huge range of themes, art forms, venues, companies and performers, adding up to its biggest every programme of more than 3500 different shows and almost 57,000 performances

Launching the 2018 Fringe Programme, Shona McCarthy, Chief Executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, said

This year we are encouraging everyone who comes to the Fringe to take a leap into the unknown. Whether this is your first or your 50th time visiting the Fringe as a performer or audience member, this is a place where new discoveries wait around every corner. There is no other festival in the world that offers such a broad or diverse range of cultural experiences. The Fringe is a festival that empowers its audiences to create their own adventure. 

Star names making their debuts at the Fringe this year include Su Pollard (below, bottom-right), Katherine Parkinson of The IT Crowd fame, and Aussie legend Jason Donovan (below, bottom-left). Other big names include Rory Bremner and Jan Ravens; Jack Docherty; Britain's Got Talent winner Lee Ridley (aka Lost Voice Guy); Esther Rantzen (below, top-centre-right); Janeane Garofalo (below, bottom-centre-left); Judah Friedlander (below, top-right); Myq Kaplan; Anuvab Pal (below, bottom-centre-right); and Maureen Lipman. 

Fringe 2018 launch 8 artists 975x400

There are also a host of comedy celebrations, with Jimeoin (above, top-left) and Vladimir McTavish marking 25 years at the Fringe, while Craig Hill and Reginald D Hunter (above, top-centre-left) reach their 20th years. 

The Fringe's famously international cast of thousands will this year include performers from 55 different countries, presenting: comedy; theatre; music; cabaret and variety; musicals and opera; spoken word performances; children's shows; dance, circus and physical theatre; events; and art exhibitions

Artists at this year's Fringe will come from as far afield as Canada, Taiwan, Australia, Finland, Korea, France and Cyprus, with equally diverse audiences from around the world. 

And among all the international guests, there's also a chance for Scottish talent to shine through, as Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, noted

The Fringe continues to innovate, inspire, challenge and delight audiences, providing Scottish artists the opportunity to showcase their work on a renowned platform to industry professionals from across the globe. It enables the international arts community to experience all that Edinburgh, our world-renowned festival city, has to offer. 
As we celebrate Made in Scotland’s 10th anniversary, we are proud to have provided just under £5.5 million through our Festivals Expo Fund to support Scottish artists and creative companies with their careers. This funding demonstrates the talent and creativity of Scotland at the largest arts festival in the world. 

The Fringe is world-famous for its liberal use of unconventional venues, and 2018's programme is no different, with performance spaces this year including a repurposed 1960s caravan, a venue made entirely from pianos (55 of them), four grand stone arches, a community sports centre, a Dockers Club, a former bank and the self-proclaimed World's Smallest Fringe Venue in the shape of a city-centre chicken coop

And across the Festival's 317 venues, audiences will witness productions covering major themes such as the centenary of the end of WWI; Social Class; Healthcare; Drugs; Sex and Consent; Family; Online living; Disability; and Faith

Bargain hunters can take advantage of the 697 free shows, with a further 260 following a pay pay-what-you-want model. And the Fringe's legendary cast of street performers will be out in full force to entertain and entice crowds on the Royal Mile, at West Parliament Square and on the Mound Precinct just off Princes Street. 

Councillor Donald Wilson, the City of Edinburgh Council's Culture and Communities Convener, said:

It is impossible to imagine Edinburgh without its festival offering each year; all the razzmatazz and colour on the Royal Mile and general buzz and excitement that the Fringe and other summer festivals bring to our city every summer. 
We know from our People’s Survey that over three-quarters of Edinburgh residents have enjoyed a festival show in the last two years and, if the breadth and depth of this programme is anything to go by, I’m sure local residents will continue to delight in everything the Fringe has to offer. 

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe runs from 3-27 August 2018 and tickets for all shows are on sale now. Find out more at www.edfringe.com

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