The cast and crew of The Improverts, a long-running Edinburgh-based comedy group, were stunned to discover the multi award-winning actress, writer and producer had been in the audience of their sold-out show.
Waller-Bridge, who has pledged to help with the recovery of the Fringe, where she performed a one-woman stage version of Fleabag in 2013, when she was an unknown performer, met the team and posed for photographs after their performance at a new pop-up venue, The Garden Theatre, which has been created in Hill Square.
The 150-seater venue, which is partly-funded by the Scottish Government, is being run as part of the Space programme at Surgeons Quarter in the south side of the city. More than 60 different shows are being staged at the venue hub, one of the biggest created as part of this year's Fringe revival.
Waller-Bridge was unveiled earlier this year as the first ever honorary president of the Fringe Society and has pledged to
Venue bosses were alerted during the day that Waller-Bridge wanted to attend the show by the troupe, which is said to be the Fringe’s longest-running improv group. Previous performers including the actors Kevin McKidd and Miles Jupp, the author Jenny Colgan and comic Maria Bamford.
A spokesman for the Space said: “Phoebe joined the Space this week at the Fringe’s newest outdoor venue, The Garden Theatre in Hill Square.
"Phoebe picked up a pair of tickets to the Fringe’s longest-running improvised comedy group, the Improverts, who were back for another year of fast-paced improve comedy.
“After the performance, Phoebe joined the cast and crew backstage to hear about how companies are returning to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this year.
"We have taken a huge risk to bring something back to the Fringe this year, but our shows are running at around 80 per cent capacity across our four theatres, with an average audience of 2700 per day at the moment.”
Fringe Society chief executive Shona McCarthy revealed earlier this week that Waller-Bridge had promised to come to Edinburgh after taking on her role, the first in the 74-year history of the event.
Ahead of the Fringe’s first weekend, Waller-Bridge said: “In an act of pure artistic heroism, the Fringe Society and thousands of artists, writers, dancers, actors, designers, comedians, musicians and creatives have fought to bring this festival back to the streets of glorious, glittering Edinburgh.
"We have a lot of time to make up for and this festival is more than ready for you.
“With hundreds of live and online events you can see as many shows in a week than you would have in the whole of last year and we are finally able to reconnect, inspire, surprise and entertain each other like we used to.
"I have never wanted to have a leaflet thrusted at me more. We’re being offered a giant cultural sprinkler after a year of drought and I can’t wait to jump through it, shrieking, with you all.”