It's curtain up on Fringe 2010

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CHART-topping star Dizzee Rascal, actress Lorraine Chase and the original Likely Lad Rodney Bewes are among the big-names set to appear at this year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

In its 64th year, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe today launched its biggest line-up to date comprising a staggering 2,453 shows – a 17 per cent increase on last year.

The highlight of this year's Edge music festival will be the performance by grime sensation Dizzee Rascal, being held at the Corn Exchange.

The Edge Festival will include shows by Doves, Plan B, Mica, Feeder, Jason Derulo, and Eels.

Launching the programme, Kath Mainland, chief executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, said: "The 2010 Edinburgh Festival Fringe programme yet again exemplifies why the Fringe is the world's leading arts festival.

"Edinburgh in August will be bursting with the most talented artists from every area of the arts world. Nowhere else can you see such a variety of world-class talent and range of shows that are guaranteed to engage, enthral, excite and delight."

Following the success of the first Made in Scotland programme in 2009, which secured nine awards including the Edinburgh International Festival Fringe Prize, the showcase returns in 2010 featuring some of the best Scottish theatre and dance.

Made in Scotland is supported through the Scottish Government's Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund and helps talented, Scottish-based performers and companies present their work on an international stage.

This year's shows include Platform in association with Giant's The Songbird: A Tone Poem, at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, and plan B's A Wee Home From Home.

Also launched was the programme for this year's comedy festival, which boasts more than 350 shows and around 7,000 performances.

As well as welcoming back Fringe regulars including Paul Merton, Arthur Smith, Jim Jefferies, Barry Cryer, Ardal O'Hanlon, Shappi Khorsandi, Fred MacAulay, Mark Watson, and Jason Byrne, there will also be a host of newcomers.

Karen Koren of Gilded Balloon said: "I can't tell you how excited I was when I saw what a brilliant programme we have. I've been all over the world to festivals and there's nowhere with this much quality and diversity."

&#149 Local amateur drama companies bringing a show to this year's Edinburgh Fringe Festival will be able to apply for the newly revamped Edinburgh Evening News Drama Awards, details of which will be announced shortly.

THIS YEAR'S CELEBRITIES

&#149 Clarke Peters: The Wire star revisits his acclaimed musical Five Guys Named Moe at the McEwan Hall.

&#149 Lorraine Chase: The Emmerdale star opens a new venue for the Fringe, The Dome on George Street, in An Evening With Elsie Parsons.

&#149 Michael Urie and George Wendt: Ugly Betty's Marc St James and Cheers' Norm respectively, star in Celebrity Autobiography, at Udderbelly.

&#149 Denise Black: The former Coronation Street and Queer As Folk star brings her band The Loose Screws to Ghillie Dhu.

&#149 Caroline Rhea: Aunt Hilda in Sabrina The Teenage Witch appears at The Gilded Balloon in her eponymous titled show.

&#149 Alan Cumming: 20 years after his Fringe debut, Hollywood star Cumming returns to Assembly to perform his solo cabaret act I Bought A Blue Car Today.

&#149 Rodney Bewes: The original Likely Lad and Fringe stalwart returns with his one-man show Three Men In A Boat at the New Town Theatre.

&#149 Jim Bowen: Super, smashin' great. Look who's back at Highlights (formerly Jongleurs) the star of Bullseye.

&#149 www.edfringe.com

&#149 www.edcomfest.com