Get ready for wacky street contortionists, side-splitting hilarity and god-awful theater, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe has released its programme for the 2010 season! Sporting a fancy new cover, hand drawn by graphic artist Johanna Basford, the programme lists the performance schedules for the whopping 2,453 shows that the Festival Fringe will feature this summer in its 64th anniversary year.
The number of performances increased by 17% from last year -a clear sign that not even a global recession can bring down the largest and most popular art festival in the world! According to the BBC, the Festival Fringe generates more than £75 million for the Scottish economy and this year about 21,148 performers will descend on the city. Just how big of a deal is festival season in Edinburgh? Today at noon, there was a 21 gun salute to announce the launch of the Fringe programme!
Summer is always my favorite time of the year in Edinburgh, precisely because of the Fringe Festival which runs from August 6th to the 30th. Sure the shows can be a hit or a miss – I’ve sat through some pretty amateurish musical productions, creepy puppet theatre, and boorish comedians. But then, that’s what the Festival is all about: bringing together in one city some of the most bizarre, off-the-cuff ‘talent’ from across the globe. Inadvertently booking tickets for a rhythmically-challenged belly dancer from Seattle because of a misleading programme description is all part of the fun.
But don’t worry, if you don’t want to waste your time seeing crap shows, there will be plenty of sure-fire hits this season. The Oscar-winning English actress, screenwriter and director Emma Thompson will debut her new piece on sex trafficking; BBC News reports that rapper Dizzee Rascal will play at the Corn Exchange; and the Udderbelly – the famous purple tent in the shape of an upside-down cow located in Bristo Square in the center of the Old Town – always features ludicrously funny stand-up comedians.
Other exciting news from the Festival: a Belgian dance tent in the Princes Street Gardens that will host Fringe headline acts including the sultry cabaret star Meow Meow and a show from Julien Cotterea, formerly of Cirque de Soleil (BBC News).
Visit the Edinburgh Festival Fringe website to order a copy of the programme and to start booking your tickets. Hurry, the best shows sell out fast!