Edinburgh Fringe grows bigger than ever
By Ian MacKenzie
EDINBURGH (Reuters) - In the true spirit of its founders, the 2010 Edinburgh Festival Fringe will defy the effects of a gloomy global economy by staging its biggest ever line-up of acts and performers.
British rapper Dizzee Rascal will join thousands of actors, dancers, comedians, musicians, artists and acrobats in August at the 64th Fringe in a month-long talent showcase for everyone from top stars to unknowns chasing fame.
Launching the program for the Fringe, which runs from August 6 to 30, Fringe Society Chief Executive Kath Mainland said the key was in the accessibility for performers and the fact that it had become a huge showcase attracting impresarios from around the world looking for fresh talent.
"This year's Fringe program is bigger than ever and more companies are coming to take part, and I think that's because they are seduced by the idea that there's open access and if you have an idea you can come here - no-one will stop you," Mainland told Reuters.
The 2010 program features a record 40,254 performances of 2,453 shows by an estimated 21,148 performers from across the globe. This compares to 2,098 shows with 18,901 performers last year, also a record.
"It's a showcase, you know. International media, international arts buyers come every year looking for works to take back to their venues, to their countries. The showcasing is a huge part of the appeal to companies," Mainland said.
Acts range from the Chinese State Circus, to a new play on Shakespeare with actor Simon Callow, puppetry, topical comment on the issue of sex trafficking, disability and social stigma, music and a plethora of comedy.
Come rain or shine, hundreds of street performers from sword-swallowers to comedians and clowns will also ply their acts down the Royal Mile through the medieval Old Town. Continued...