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 2020 Fringe was a much reduced event, due to the COVID crisis, but the city is bouncing back in 2021, with.a scaled-back programme of live performances. 

The Fringe Society is working with independent Scottish event company Unique Events to ensure that this iconic, vibrant part of the Fringe is delivered effectively and securely, thanks to generous support from the City of Edinburgh Council and EventScotland.

A fantastic starting point for any Fringe-goer, events will run daily from 11.30am until 10:30pm in the High Street’s designated Fringe Safe Street Performance Area, West Parliament Square.  

A variety of street performers are expected to take part daily, with the programme running throughout the Fringe (6-30 August), as well as additional opportunities for buskers and other street artists well known in the Fringe landscape. 

All performances will be delivered in accordance with current and relevant COVID guidelines. 

Limits on audience numbers will be introduced in line with social distancing, and strict hygiene measures will be in place, including masks and sanitisation, to help everyone enjoy the events safely.

The first batch of shows at the 2021 Fringe have been released. Visit to find out what new acts have been added each month in the run up to this year’s Fringe Festival.

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: