Here are 12 of the most surprising and unusual spaces hosting Edinburgh Festival Fringe shows this year
While the crowds will be flocking as usual to the biggest venues at the festival, the Fringe will also be taking place in surprising and unusual places and spaces. Here are just a few of the intriguing spots lined up to host shows in the 2023 Fringe.
The five-star hotel below Arthur’s Seat will be playing a key role in the Fringe by hosting a series of 500-capacity in-conversation events for the first time. Sir Cliff Richard, Dame Arlene Phillips, Janey Godley, Stephanie Beacham and Christopher Biggins will be among the stars appearing at The Stables venue.
Murrayfield Ice Rink
Hungarian cirque dance company Recirquel will be performing their latest show IMA (Pray) in a site-specific, purpose-built space designed to be reminiscent of sacred places. Their show is said to have been created for “the purpose of initiating a meditative, visceral and spiritual response from its audience”.
Port O' Leith Boxing Club, Craighall Road
The show Angry Snatch: A Reclamation Job in 15 Rounds has been written, devised and will be performed by Frankie Walker. The story of reclamation and recovery from intimate partner abuse will be told through a provocative and captivating piece of physical theatre.
Royal Lyceum Theatre workshops, Roseburn Street
The Lyceum’s costume and prop-making workshops will become home to Forge – a performance installation exploring who memorials are for and what happens to places where traumatic events take place. Rachel Mars’s project is inspired by the theft and subsequent re-forging of the infamous “welcome gate” stolen from the Dachau concentration camp in Germany in 2014.
The home of Heart of Midlothian Football Club will play host to the play Never Trouble Trouble (Till Trouble Troubles You), which tells the story of legendary player Bobby Clark, at this year's Fringe. Clark was the first player to score more than 100 league goals for Hearts and notched up 33 in Edinburgh Derby clashes.
Royal Scots Club, Abercromby Place
A programme of round-the-clock shows will be on offer at the club in the heart of the New Town, including an extensive theatre programme featuring new productions of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, which was first performed at the Fringe in 1966, The Importance of Being Earnest and Hamlet.
Other shows include Shakers, which is set in a 1980s cocktail bar in Edinburgh, and Mhairi McCall’s one-woman show We Must Do This More, which will “explore the life of a burnt-out millennial struggling to prioritise her best friend”.
Frankenstein Pub, George IV Bridge
The long-running theme pub will be an unlikely spot to find two of the biggest names in this year’s Fringe line-up. Nearly half a century after forming Squeeze with Glenn Tilbrook, Chris Difford will be recalling his career in music, while actor, comic and TV presenter Bobby Davro will be making his Fringe debut at age of 64.
Saltire Society offices, 22 High Street
Accordionist Sandy Brechin launched a weekly music and comedy show on Facebook during lockdown. Now he will be reviving his mix of stand-up, costume changes, storytelling and singing for a run in the common room of the Saltire Society’s Old Town headquarters.
Edinburgh Central Library, George IV Bridge
The Tinderbox Orchestra will be turning Edinburgh’s Andrew Carnegie-funded library into a new music venue for the Fringe. Original music, movement and unexpected collaborations are promised in a show expected to feature rappers, singers, strings, heavy brass, woodwind and “a thundering back-line”.
Lady Haig’s Poppy Factory, Warriston Road
A group of armed forces veterans who are all graduates of a Royal British Legion five-day “Recovery Through Comedy” programme will be staging their own show at the Fringe. Their course was targeted at people who were seeking to improve their self-confidence and wellbeing, as well as confront and overcome their fears, learn how to manage anxiety, and cope in stressful situations.
Scottish National War Memorial Chapel, Edinburgh Castle
New Gaelic writing, poetry and song will feature in Oràn do Mo Shinn-Shinear – The Song of my Great Grandfather – which will explore the Gàidhealtachd's complicated history and interaction with the British Army through a poignant telling of military service in the past and future.
St Peter’s Church, Lutton Place
The Gothic church, just off Clerk Street in Newington, will be launched as a new Fringe venue with a one-day event this year ahead of a planned full-scale programme in 2024. Comedian Mark Watson will be performing in, and curating, his own Churchfest on August 22, which is billed as “a day of unusual old-school Fringe activities.”
Boteco do Brasil, Lothian Street
Ronnie Black, Kenny Sinclair & Graham Stewart launch a new comedy show set to put a twist on the idea of men in kilts. Men in Quilts will see the trio "navigating the challenges of getting older, but not necessarily wiser”.
Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.