Edinburgh's festivals: The best new venues and locations where events are being staged

The people of Edinburgh and regular visitors to its festivals will find much has changed since the city last hosted its world-famous cultural celebration.

A new outdoor venue is being created on the roof of the Castle Terrace car park and will be run jointly by Gilded Balloon, the Traverse, Dance Base and Zoo.
A new outdoor venue is being created on the roof of the Castle Terrace car park and will be run jointly by Gilded Balloon, the Traverse, Dance Base and Zoo.

Some venues are due to remain closed over the next few weeks, while other sites which normally host events will be bereft of performances, including the Meadows, Princes Street Gardens and Edinburgh Castle esplanade.

However the revival of the city’s festivals will feature brand new venues, locations and experiences.

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The Edinburgh International Festival: Organisers will be staging most of this year’s programme in three pop-up pavilions at Edinburgh Park, the playing fields at Edinburgh Academy’s junior School and Edinburgh University’s Old College Quad.

Cast members from the show 'Move' help launch the Festival Fringe's Made in Scotland showcase on Silverknowes beach (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
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Silverknowes Beach: One of the hottest tickets in the Traverse Theatre’s programme will unfold five miles away on Edinburgh’s waterfront. Audiences for Move, Julia Tauvedin’s play on migration, loss and communal healing, which started life touring small indoor venues on the Isle of Lewis at the beginning of last year, will be heading for the sands of Silverknowes Beach.

Tynecastle Park: A new play being staged in the main stand at the home of Heart of Midlothian Football Club will take audiences back more than a century to recall the rise of women’s football after the outbreak of the First World War and its eventual outlawing due to fears over its impact on the men’s game.

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MultiStory: Four venue operators – the Traverse Theatre, Dance Base, Zoo and Gilded Balloon – have joined forces to create a brand new outdoor hub for the Castle Terrace car park beneath Edinburgh Castle, where comics Fred MacAulay, Jason Byrne, Leah MacRae, trad music stars Shooglenifty, former Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy and musical Sunshine on Leith, and plays devoted to Chic Murray and Elvis Presley are among the main attractions.

Festival Square: The Lady Boys of Bangkok, one of the biggest-selling acts at the Edinburgh festivals for more than 20 years, will take residence in the heart of Edinburgh’s culture quarter and ensure the return of the Fringe to Festival Square for the first time in more than a decade.

The grounds of Newhailes House, which dates back more than 300 years, will be hosting the Fringe show Doppler.

Edinburgh College of Art: Literary lovers mourning the loss of the Edinburgh International Book Festival’s home in Charlotte Square Gardens have been promised that its “village green” atmosphere will be recreated at the art school, where around half of its 300-odd guests will be appearing there in person.

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The Georgian House: The book festival may have relocated this year, but the square will be playing a key role in the Fringe, with five difference shows due to be staged in the 18th century townhouse, next door to First Minister’s Nicola Sturgeon’s official residence.

St Andrew Square: The Edinburgh International Film Festival will be marking its return to its traditional August slot in the calendar with a week-long run of outdoor events in St Andrew Square Garden for the first time in the event’s history.

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East Lothian: A steady stream of festivalgoers are expected to head east from to take in the 10-day Fringe by the Sea event in North Berwick, theatre company Grid Iron’s outdoor play Doppler in the grounds of the 17th century country house Newhailes and the Brunton Theatre’s Fringe programme, which includes outdoor shows at Musselburgh Racecourse and allotments in Inveresk.



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