All Edinburgh’s Theatre at the Fringe

By Thom Dibdin

In August, Edinburgh hosts the greatest cultural event in the world. People from all over the world, who work in and love the performing arts arrive here for four weeks of brilliant drama, dance, comedy and art.

Few, however, appreciate the importance of Edinburgh to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Of course people think of the city as packed with venues and backdrops, but few appreciate the scale of work being staged at the Fringe which is actively made in the city.

Of course, it has always been so. Edinburgh companies were prominent in the first ever fringe in 1947 – and one of those is still performing this year.

So, faced with the option of choosing which part of the fringe to cover here on All Edinburgh Theatre, it seemed only right to concentrate on theatre Made in Edinburgh.

And that means all theatre that is Made In Edinburgh. Theatre staged by Edinburgh’s strong amateur scene and by the young companies made up of recent graduates from the universities. There are the shoestring companies which struggle to stage brilliant invigorating and engaging work throughout the year, the professional companies which work without subsidy in the commercial sector and long-established companies which are recognised by Creative Scotland subsidy.

Counting them all – and including productions from the Theatre, the Children’s and the Musicals & Opera sections of the fringe programme – there are fully 70 different productions that are made in Edinburgh at the fringe.

They cover all aspects of the fringe’s vibrant scene.

The classics are there, there is new writing, there are great modern Scottish writers and little known ones. There are productions by companies which are self-assured and focussed, there will – I don’t doubt – be those productions which are well-meaning, or by companies who think they have invented the wheel and even, although I hope not, those who really should have put more effort in.

What they will have in common is that they will be made in Edinburgh and, it is without doubt, many of them will have Edinburgh – in all its wonderful facets – on the stage itself.

Thom Dibdin