Join the Alliance of Defiance: the Edinburgh Festival Fringe launches 70th anniversary programme

The official 2017 Edinburgh Festival Fringe Programme was launched today with shows catering for all ages and appetites, inviting performers and spectators from around the world to join the Alliance of Defiance and celebrate 70 years of defying the norm at the Fringe.

Over the last 70 years the Edinburgh Festival Fringe has gone from strength to strength, inspiring a global network of more than 200 fringes and establishing itself as the largest platform for creative freedom in the world. On Tuesday 11 July, Fringes from around the world will come together for the inaugural World Fringe Day, supported by the Scottish Government and EventScotland, an international celebration to mark the 70th anniversary of the birth of the Fringe movement.

The Fringe began in 1947 when eight theatre companies turned up uninvited to perform at the inaugural Edinburgh International Festival. The companies were refused entry to the programme but decided to perform on the fringe of the Festival anyway. The Fringe has remained true to the defiance expressed by the eight companies who performed here in 1947, upholding its open access principle that permits anyone with a story to tell and a venue willing to host them to participate. People travel from all over the word to take part in the Fringe, creating an international melting pot of culture and art in Scotland’s capital city every year. This year’s programme is as varied as ever, offering theatre, dance, circus, physical theatre, comedy, music, musicals, opera, cabaret and variety, children’s shows, free shows, exhibitions, events and spoken word.

Shona McCarthy, Chief Executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society said:

“It’s an honour to be releasing the 2017 Edinburgh Festival Fringe Programme today.

“This is a very special year for the Fringe as we celebrate 70 years of defying the norm, of championing artistic freedom and providing a platform for artists around the world to come and present their work in a truly unique environment that is inclusive, inspiring, and often life-affirming.

“The fringe movement has circled the globe and inspired a worldwide network of over 200 sister fringes, with fringes now taking place on every continent except Antarctica. In the current climate of global uncertainty, fringes are more crucial than ever, continuing to provide artists with a space to express themselves without fear of censorship.

“The 2017 Fringe Programme reflects the principles that guide the fringe movement, it is diverse, topical, challenging and of course, exciting. I hope that as many people as possible will join us here in Edinburgh for the 70th anniversary edition of the Fringe, to witness and participate in this joyous international celebration of arts and culture.”

Paul Bush OBE, Director of Events said:

“EventScotland is delighted to be supporting the 70th anniversary edition of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and the inaugural World Fringe Day. Edinburgh is renowned as a world class festival city and the Fringe is a leading festival model that continues to be emulated across the globe with more than 200 fringes taking place around the world. The Fringe continues to draw significant visitors to Edinburgh every year, showcasing why Edinburgh and Scotland are the perfect stage for events. Scotland's Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is an ideal opportunity to celebrate the remarkable story of one of Scotland's signature events.”

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs said:

“The 70th anniversary edition of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Programme is as varied as ever and features artists from all over the world. Edinburgh’s festivals are now world renowned and it is remarkable to think the fringe movement that began here in 1947 has developed into a worldwide network of fringes.

“The Scottish Government is proud to support the Fringe Made in Scotland showcase and World Fringe Day through our Expo Fund, which provides a platform for artists from across Scotland. I am proud that Scotland is the home of fringe and has joined with others across the globe to celebrate the 70th anniversary and the ongoing success of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.”

Chief Executive of Creative Scotland said:

“The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is a globally recognised platform that provides an important space for artists from Scotland and the world to show their work to international audiences, develop their skills and meet with arts industry professionals from across the world. Since the very first Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1947, the Fringe has successfully embraced an open access policy which has enabled performers at every stage of their development to take part. I look forward to seeing what the 70th anniversary edition of this fantastic festival has in store for audiences and performers alike.”

Visit the Edinburgh Festival Fringe website here.

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