This year’s Edinburgh Fringe will be the “greatest celebration of arts and culture on the planet” with more than 3,800 shows to choose from, organisers have announced.
The festival will cover themes ranging from climate change to true crime, migration and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic identity, with work coming from a record 63 countries.
Stars including comedians Eddie Izzard, Ronni Ancona, Nina Conti and Shappi Khorsandi will be appearing, while CNN commentator Iain Dale will host a show with guests including Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Baroness Warsi.
This year, audiences are being urged to try something new by using the Inspiration Machine – an interactive, arcade-style device that will randomly display videos from Fringe artists at the push of a button.
The Inspiration Machine, introduced by the Fringe Society, will be located on the Mound throughout August as well as online, and Fringe-goers young and old will be invited to come along and see all that the Fringe has to offer.
Shona McCarthy, chief executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, unveiled the programme on Wednesday.
She said: “The Fringe is a remarkable feat of engineering and human endeavour, and this year we are celebrating all the artists, writers, crew, staff, venue operators, audience members and more who come together to make your Fringe.
“This year’s festival will feature 744 shows from Edinburgh, 963 from Scotland, and work from a record 63 countries, which collectively help make the Fringe the greatest celebration of arts and culture on the planet.
“From the growing threat of global warming to the personal stories of migrants making a new home in a strange land; the 50th anniversary of the moon landings; to exploring sex and true crime stories, this year’s programme will challenge perceptions, stimulate conversation, entertain, make you laugh, make you cry and inspire you.”
— Edinburgh Festival Fringe – programme out now (@edfringe) June 5, 2019
More than 300 venues are taking part in the Fringe, including unusual spaces such as The Old Dr Bells Baths, a newly renovated former swimming pool, and Tynecastle Park, the home ground of Hearts FC.
This year’s Fringe, which runs from August 2-26, will feature 3,841 shows.
They include performances from children’s TV character Basil Brush, who will be making his Fringe debut, as will trials rider Danny MacAskill who will show off gravity-defying bike tricks in Danny MacAskill’s Drop and Roll Live.
Also new for 2019 is the FringeMaker game, which will encourage visitors to explore different venues, see shows and tackle random Fringe challenges using a dedicated web-based app.
Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “The Fringe is an economic powerhouse, generating £144 million for the Edinburgh economy and £173 million for Scotland’s economy.
“This year, the programme demonstrates once again why it is one of the most important events in the international cultural calendar. Innovation and creativity will provide unforgettable moments for festival goers and will raise Scotland’s standing on the world stage.”