The programme for this year’s Edinburgh Fringe has been officially unveiled, boasting 50,266 performances of 3,269 shows in 294 venues across the Capital.
Despite a small drop in the number of shows – down 1.3% from 3,314 last year – the Fringe remains the largest arts festival in the world.
Shona McCarthy, the festival’s new chief executive, said: “The breadth and diversity of talent that comes to the Fringe is unparalleled, and this year is no exception.
“At its core the Fringe is an open access festival, which welcomes anyone with a story to tell, and for that reason, amateur and professional artists from around the world continue year after year to come here to share their stories, hone their skills, create new opportunities for themselves and their work, and celebrate the joy of live performance.”
Big-name comedians at the festival include Rory Bremner, Shappi Khorsandi, Alistair McGowan and Stewart Lee – plus the return of Radio Active with Angus Deayton.
In what’s sure to be one of the highlight’s, Richard Wilson will be reprising One Foot in the Grave’s cantankerous protagonist Victor Meldrew for a one-man show at Assembly.
In the music category, Colin Hay, former frontman of Men at Work, will unite a group of international musicians for his show, while Fringe favourite Camille O’Sullivan will debut a brand new show featuring songs by Radiohead, Nick Cave and David Bowie, among others.
The Queen’s Hall will host concerts from big names in folk and traditional music including Capercaillie, The Peatbog Faeries and King Creosote.
Various theatrical performances will celebrate William Shakespeare’s legacy as they mark the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death.
There will also be 643 free events on offer across the programme.
The Scottish Government is supporting a ‘Made in Scotland’ showcase, providing a platform for 18 of the country’s best performers and companies.
Councillor Richard Lewis, who is in charge of the Capital’s festivals and events, stressed the importance of the Fringe to locals and businesses alike.
“In terms of finances, the Fringe festival alone brings in £142m to the city.
“In terms of the respondents to our recent survey a full 72% of Edinburgh citizens thought it contributed positively to their quality of life.”