Edinburgh Fringe has launched its full programme for 2016, and once again the statistics are staggering. More than 50,000 performances of 3,269 shows will take place across the Scottish capital in just 25 days.
The fringe is famous for having one of the most diverse programmes of any festival with comedy, cabaret, dance, drama, opera, musicals, live music, physical theatre and spoken word all on offer. It is also a key contributor to the city’s economy, with a 2010 study estimating that it brought GBP141m (€182m) to the region and as many as 3,000 jobs.
However, the main benefit of the festival is still an artistic one, with many taking their shows to Edinburgh in the hope of hitting the big time.
‘We went to Edinburgh fringe last year and had so much fun, it really inspired us’ said Jessica Forrest, an actress who is taking her show Trolley Girls to the fringe this year. ‘We want people to enjoy it, but it is also a great learning opportunity and hopefully we can make some good contacts and take our work to the next level.’
‘At its core the fringe is an open access festival, which welcomes anyone with a story to tell,’ said Shona McCarthy, chief executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society. ‘The diversity of the fringe’s participants is echoed in its audiences and there really is something for everyone at the fringe.’
The number of shows is slightly down on last year, when 3,314 took place. That said, it remains the world’s largest arts festival, with 48 countries represented and events hosted at 294 venues including the National Museum of Scotland, St Stephen’s Church, Merchant’s Hall and Craigmillar Castle.