Festival News


BECTU is mounting a campaign to ensure that all workers on the Edinburgh Fringe receive a living wage. The media and entertainment union says that this follows on from the many complaints that it has received over low (or non-existent) pay, long hours and poor working conditions.
Posted 4th October, 2015.

BP has ended its sponsorship of the Edinburgh International Festival after 34 years.
Posted 7th April, 2016.

Lastminute.com is the new sponsor of the Edinburgh Fringe Comedy Awards. Fosters had been the sponsor since 2010. Perrier were the original sponsors, from the event’s inception in 1981 up to 2005.
Posted 2nd June, 2016.

The announcement earlier this year that Assembly would be running the Assembly Rooms as a digital entertainment venue was a bit unclear at the time, at least to me. All is now revealed on the Edinburgh Digital Entertainment Festival website.
Posted 20th July, 2016.


Playwright David Greig will take over as artistic director at the Royal Lyceum when Mark Thomson departs in June 2016.
Posted 10th September, 2015.

Julia Amour, who currently works for the British Council, has been appointed as the new director of Festivals Edinburgh. She will take over from Faith Liddell in December 2015.
Posted 17th September, 2015.

Kath Mainland, the Chief Executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe since May 2009, is to step down. She will take up the role of Executive Director of the Melbourne Festival in February 2016.
Posted 9th November 2015.

Shona McCarthy has been appointed as the new Chief Executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, taking over from Kath Mainland. She will take up her post in March 2016.
Posted 13th January, 2016.

Laurie Ransom, the National Theatre of Scotland’s artistic director, has resigned. He will leave the post in June at the end of his initial three year contract.
Posted 16th April, 2016.


The Riverside Trust has won a two year contract to run the Assembly Rooms as a “digital venue” during the Fringe. The Riverside Trust is headed by William Burdett-Coutts who was also artistic director at the Assembly Rooms for close on 30 years until its refurbishment in 2011. Quite what a digital venue is, I am not sure. Time will tell, no doubt. See the article in The Stage.
Posted 26th November, 2015.

The Counting House, a free venue for the last nine years, is to operate under the Gilded Balloon banner at this year’s Fringe. Advocates of free venues bemoan the loss, while the Gilded Balloon talks of it as being some sort of hybrid model of venue – “pay what you want”. See the articles in Chortle and The Scotsman.
Posted 3rd March, 2016.

C Venues will also adopt the “pay what you want” model at its C Soco venue. See the article in EdinburghGuide.com.
Posted 17th March 2016.

The Circus Hub at the Meadows will return for a second year on the 2106 Edinburgh Fringe. Read the article in The List.
Posted 22nd April, 2016.

The 200-seater auditorium at the National Museum of Scotland will be used as a Fringe venue under The Gilded Balloon banner. The deal covers three years. See the article in The Scotsman.
Posted 23rd April, 2016.

Pre=festival stuff

Information on festival programme launches can be found here. In addition, links to critics’ recommendations will be found at the bottom of the page.

Edinburgh International Festival

Fergus Linehan announced the full details of the programme for the 2016 Edinburgh International Festival on Wednesday 6th April, 2016. The programme brochure can be viewed online or downloaded in pdf format.

Initial articles on the launch were quickly available through various media outlets, including The Guardian, BBC NewsWhatsonstage.com and The Scotsman.

What the Scotsman critics say appeared soon afterwards.

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe

HelpinchoosingFringeshowsThe 2016 Fringe programme was launched on Wednesday 8th June. The detailed, and very useful launch document can be found here.

Immediate articles on the launch can be found in various places, including The Guardian, The Stage and Chortle.

The Traverse programme and the Summerhall programme had already been announced.

Made in Scotland is a curated showcase of Scottish performance on the Edinburgh Fringe. It is supported through the Scottish Government’s Expo Fund. The 2016 showcase features 19 dance, music and theatre shows.

Lyn Gardner’s thoughts on this year’s festival in The Guardian are always a must for any serious punter who is looking for some clues in what to go and see among the 3,000+ shows on offer.

The Edinburgh International Book Festival

The Book Festival programme for 2016 was launched on Thursday 9th June, 2016. The press release can be found here. See the website for full details of what’s on.

Initial articles on the launch can be found on various media websites, including The Guardian, BBC News and The Skinny.

The Edinburgh Art Festival

Elements of the programme for the 2016 festival was announced on Wednesday 23rd March, 2016. Details can be found on the festival’s website. The full programme will be announced in May.

Articles on the festival launch can be found in The Skinny, The Art Newspaper, The List and The Scotsman.

The Edinburgh International Magic Festival

The programme for the 2016 festival was launched on Thursday 21st April, 2016. See the website for details plus articles in The List and the Edinburgh Evening News.

The Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival

The programme for the 2016 festival was launched on Thursday 5th May, 2016. See the website for full details of the programme. There is an initial article on the launch in the Edinburgh Evening News.

The Edinburgh International Film Festival

After many pre-announcements the full programme was finally launched on Wednesday 25th May, 2016. See the website for full details. Initial articles in the media can be found in The Skinny, STV News and The Scotsman.

Recommendations from critics and others

I will place selected links here as they appear until early August.

Lyn Gardner’s initial thoughts on this year’s festival in The Guardian

Brian Logan’s initial thoughts on the comedy shows in The Guardian

The Stage – “Our critics’ first picks”

Matt Trueman’s ten picks in Whatsonstage.com

Lyn Gardner’s “21 unmissable shows for kids and their families”.

Best magic shows at the Fringe in The List.

Top 25 to watch 2016 in The List.

15 sure-fire Edinburgh festival hits in The Guardian.

50 best shows to see in The Telegraph.

Various articles on highlights of the Edinburgh International Festival are scattered about in the culture section of The Scotsman.

Best shows to see at the Edinburgh International Festival in The List.

The Skinny’s Edinburgh Festival top 5s.

Pick of our Festival visit

Our visit to the 2016 festival has ended. We managed 29 shows and 3 art exhibitions. My favourite shows were:

  • Us / Them .. beautifully crafted piece on the Beslan siege from Belgian company BRONKS
  • Once .. zany, off the wall physical theatre from Derevo
  • Teatro Delusio .. funny mime with masks set backstage at a theatre
  • My Eyes Went Dark .. well-written and well-acted drama
  • Ada / Ava .. shadow puppetry from Manual Cinema
  • Tank .. NASA project in the 1960s, trying to get dolphins to speak English.
  • Erik Satie’s Faction .. one man show on the composer by Alistair McGowan.

Re the art exhibitions, I enjoyed Facing the World – Self Portraits, Rembrandt to Ai Weiwei at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery and Inspiring Impressionism at the Scottish National Gallery.