The Royal Mile – in the heart of Edinburgh's Old Town – is where visitors and locals alike watch street performers stilt walk, eat fire or juggle while university theatre clubs and amateur dramatic groups hand out flyers and give small taster performances in the hope of selling tickets to their shows.

The 2018 programme included more than 3,500 events at over 300 venues around the city, with comedy, theatre, dance, circus, cabaret, musicals, opera, spoken word, concerts, children’s shows and so much more on offer.

Key themes included the First World War centenary, class, disability, and faith. Famous names making an appearance include Jason Donovan, Esther Rantzen, Beth Nielsen, Rory Bremner and Jan Ravens.

Most shows last an hour, and prices vary between £5 and £30, although there are also hundreds of free shows to enjoy.


The Fringe began in 1947 when eight theatre groups turned up uninvited during the official Edinburgh International Festival. The Fringe Society was created in 1958 and the event is now the world's largest arts festival.

The festival has helped to hone the skills of some of the finest comedy and acting talent from the UK and abroad, including Emma Thompson, Hugh Laurie, Mike Myers, Robin Williams and Rowan Atkinson.

Notable Fringe performances over the years have included the first performance of Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead in 1966; comedians Bill Bailey, Owen O'Neill, Phil Nichol and Stephen Frost in 12 Angry Men in 2003; and Ricky Gervais playing to 6,000 people at Edinburgh Castle in 2007.


See what’s coming up at this year’s Fringe: