The Fringe is the world’s largest arts festival, which in 2018 spanned 25 days and featured more than 55,000 performances of 3,548 different shows in 317 venues.
Established in 1947 as an alternative to the Edinburgh International Festival, it takes place annually in Edinburgh, in the month of August. As an event it “has done more to place Edinburgh in the forefront of world cities than anything else”. ⇒ Read more in our article on Edinburgh.
The Festival is supported by the Festival Fringe Society, which publishes the programme, sells tickets to all events from a central physical box office and website, and offers year-round advice and support to performers.
⇒ Also сheck оut мore info: Planning your Fringe • Street Events
The Fringe started life when eight theatre companies turned up uninvited to the inaugural Edinburgh International Festival in 1947. With the International Festival using the city’s major venues, these companies took over smaller, alternative venues for their productions.
This meant that two defining features of the future Fringe were established at the very beginning – the lack of official invitations to perform and the use of unconventional venues.
In the 60s and 70s, the Fringe began to establish its reputation for size and variety and the tension between it and the more formal International Festival became of mutual benefit.
The early 1980s saw the arrival of the “super-venue” – locations that contained multiple performing spaces.
The comedy section has grown over recent decades to become the biggest section of the programme. The 2008 Fringe marked the first time that comedy has made up the largest category of entertainment.