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Edinburgh International Festival and Fringe

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Festival Fireworks from Calton Hill
Image: David Lochhead

Bursting into life when eight theatre companies turned up uninvited to the inaugural Edinburgh International Festival in 1947, the Fringe quickly found its name and footing with “cutting-edge” theatre at small venues all over the city and outside, on Edinburgh streets. This year the Fringe begins 5 August.

The Fringe constitution prohibits vetting or censoring performances. Letting the public decide seems to work brilliantly. In 2006, over 1.5m tickets were sold for 28,000 Fringe features, and performances are sometimes propelled to New York and London's West End.

Beginning 10 August, the Edinburgh International Festival brings performers of opera, theatre, music (especially classical) and dance from around the world to the city. Performances are at The Hub, originally built as an assembly house for the Church of Scotland, with its distinctive Gothic spire.

The Edinburgh Festivals Guide provides a thread through the labyrinth of performances, which include fireworks and the Tattoo. The energy building in Edinburgh right now must be intense.


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