From 3rd to 27th August 2018 Edinburgh Festival Fringe will once again take over the Scottish capital. Hosting a wide variety of cultural events, from stand-up comedy and theatre productions, to art installations and live music, there is something for everyone. Many Who’s Who biographees have been involved with the Edinburgh Fringe over the years and have included it in their entry.
The Edinburgh Fringe would not be possible without the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society which has been organising it since 1958.
The current Chief Executive Shona McCarthy has been at the helm since 2016, after taking over from Kathleen Mainland who ran it from 2009 until 2015. Other biographees such as Sir Timothy O’Shea and Baroness Smith of Gilmorehill sit or have sat on the Board of Directors ensuring the smooth running of both the society and the festival.
One of the most exciting elements of the festival is its reputation as a place for new talent to be discovered. Many Who’s Who biographees have been a part of revues that have kick started their careers in the creative arts. The playwright Alan Bennett co-authored and acted in the satirical Beyond the Fringe at the Royal Lyceum in 1960, alongside Dudley Moore, Sir Jonathan Miller, and Peter Cook. It became an overnight success and later transferred to the West End. Others whose talents have been recognised at the Fringe include the comedian Frank Skinner who won the Perrier Comedy Award in 1991 and songwriter-comedian Tim Minchin who was awarded the Perrier Award for Best Newcomer in 2005.
The variety of genres available are suited to just about everyone, whether it is tragedy, such as Steven Berkoff’s directorial of Salomé in 1989; Medea, in which Her Honour Penny Cushing performed in in 2008; the opera Seven Deadly Sins (1961) where Dame Cleo Laine played the lead or comedy from the likes of Alexei Sayle. If theatre and performance is not your thing, there are also exhibitions held across the festival by artists such as the photographer James Malcolm who exhibited there in 2010.
Not only has the Edinburgh Fringe been part of Who’s Who biographees’ careers, but it also features in their recreations. Former member of the National Assembly of Wales, Lindsay Whittle is a regular attendee at the festival. Former Joint Vice President of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, Roger Huntington Smith is a past member of the Edinburgh Festival Chorus and the Emeritus Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Leeds, Prof. James Drife, is a member of the Abracadabarets, a comedy singing duo who have performed at the festival since 1974.
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is a highlight of the year for those in the creative arts and showcases a diverse range of talent. There really is something for everyone and we look forward to seeing what this year will bring.