The Horror, The Horror

Oct 24 2016 | By More

Edinburgh Horror Fest – first edition

The inaugural Edinburgh Horror Festival is dragging a quartet of fringe Edinburgh venues down into its netherworld layer for a weekend of devilish theatre, magic, cabaret and comedy from Friday, 28 October 2016.

The new festival has been brought into unnatural life by Edinburgh-based performers: magician Ash Pryce; comedians Alexander Staniforth and Oliver Giggins; and actor Michael Daviot, working with producer Emily Ingram who is taking on the role of venue/volunteer co-ordinator. It will run at the Banshee Labyrinth, The Tron Pub, The White Horse and Otherworld Books from this Friday 28 up until Halloween, on Monday 31.


Daviot explains the choice of material in the festival, saying: “Under the Horror banner we include the weird, uncanny, bizarre, grotesque – it’s really not about blood’n’guts, but celebrating the supernatural and the strange.”

Into this definition fit several slices of theatrical horror, including Daviot’s own Nosferatu’s Shadow, which he staged during this year’s fringe to great acclaim. Æ’s own Hugh Simpson said the tale of 1930s Nosferatu actor, Max Schreck, was “well thought out, entertaining and informative with very fine acting”.

There’s also a work in progress from Edinburgh-based director Flavia D’Avila who is working with writer and actor David Robb on his adaptation of Poe’s The Devil in the Belfry.


On the magic front, the tone is one of explanation, with a series of shows, such as Supernatural Scams (you can do in the pub), a guide to sleight of hand, and How to Talk to the Dead, Ash Pryce reveals some of the Psychological trickery behind alleged psychic powers and spiritual communication.


The spoken word side of the event is the most far reaching, encompassing everything from book events to the telling of classic tales of terror, from an exploration of the truths behind the Vampire Bat myth to an evening from spoken word wizards, Illicit Ink, with Hector Kreeping’s Tales of Terror!.

There’s plenty of comedy on show. If it’s not the late night Stand Up Horror – in which Alex Staniforth weaves a horror story based on answers from the audience – it’s Ross Hepburn’s show Beetlejuice’d – about how he saw said film for the first time, aged seven.

Most of the events use the Free Fringe model of payment: entry is free, but audiences are asked to make a donation on exit. Some events are ticketed with prices set at £5, full price.

Daviot hopes that this event will not be the last of its kind. He said: “We intend to make the Horror Festival a fixture in the Edinburgh cultural calendar and expand and improve it year on year, providing an annual showcase for an underrepresented area of live performance.”

Selected Listings

A complete listing of the eighty or so individual events in the festival are listed here: Listings of Horror

This is a selection of the more theatre related events in the festival.

Much ado about Murder
The Tron: 9 Hunter Square, EH1 1QW
Fri 28 & Sun 30: 5pm. Tickets £5 from: Eventbrite.
Facebook event page:
The GU Shakespeare Society with a blood-soaked horror comedy, telling the tale of a vengeful Shakespearean actor in London in the 1960’s going on a gruesome and creative murder spree.

Classic Tales of Terror
The Banshee Labyrinth: 29 Niddry Street, EH1 1LG
Fri 28: 6.15pm.
Facebook event page:
Michael Daviot relates Bram Stoker’s most gruesome tale, The Squaw and two lesser known but masterly ‘crawlers’ by Algernon Blackwood and Ambrose Bierce. Nightmare’s guaranteed!

Classic Tales of Terror 2 (Poetry of the Paranormal)
The Tron: 9 Hunter Square, EH1 1QW
Sat 29: 6pm.
Facebook event page:
A second bit of Michael Daviot’s cherry, featuring occult odes, bloody ballads and vile verse by Poe, Lovecraft, de la Mare and more. The programme will start and finish with two gems by Alfred Noyes: The Highwayman, his famous and splendidly spooky poem; and Midnight Express, really a prose poem, and one of the most disturbing recurring dream stories ever written.

The Life of Death
The Banshee Labyrinth: 29 Niddry Street, EH1 1LG
Fri 28 – Mon 31: 6.30pm.
Multi-character solo performance about the adventures of the notorious reaper. In which he needs a holiday.

Nosferatu’s Shadow
The Banshee Labyrinth: 29 Niddry Street, EH1 1LG
Sun 29: 7pm. Facebook event:
Michael Daviot digs Max Schreck out from behind the shadow of the monster that has been his legacy one last time. Æ review of the show at #EdFringe here: ✭✭✭✭✩   Clever

Gothic Vaudeville
The Tron: 9 Hunter Square, EH1 1QW
Fri 28 – Mon 31: 7.20pm.
Facebook event page:
The festival’s flagship variety night featuring acts from across the festival as well as some special guests. Expect any combination of burlesque, comedy, spoken word, magic and mystery. Different show each night.

Slashers Prefer Blondes
The Banshee Labyrinth: 29 Niddry Street, EH1 1LG
Fri 28 – Sun 30: 7.50pm.
Facebook event page:
Glasgow based Improv troupe Everyone Gets a Trophy present an improvised horror film – created before your very eyes.

The Devil in the Belfry
The Tron: 9 Hunter Square, EH1 1QW
Fri 28 – Mon 31: 8.50pm.
Facebook event page:
Edgar Allan Poe’s story tells of a European town completely shut off from the world. Living a life of civilised calm, the townsfolk pride themselves on their modest wants and meticulous timekeeping – until a mysterious invader plunges everything into chaos.

Fanciful Creatures and where to F*** them.
The Tron: 9 Hunter Square, EH1 1QW
Fri 28 – Mon 31: 10pm.
Facebook event page:
A comedy sketch show dedicated to terrifying creatures, from silver screen horrors and mythical monsters to that most reviled of creatures: the Edinburgh-based performer.

Invitation to a Seance
The Banshee Labyrinth: 29 Niddry Street, EH1 1LG
Sat 29/Sun 30: 10pm.
Facebook event page:
When the late Lord Winterthorne’s wife died in suspicious circumstances, nobody believed  that foul play could have been afoot. Desperate, his last will calls for one who claims to talk to the dead, The Necronancer, to investigate.


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