Edinburgh Fringe festival seen biggest yet in 2011

Thu Jun 9, 2011 11:38am EDT
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By Ian MacKenzie

EDINBURGH (Reuters) - Over 21,000 performers in search of fame and infamy will gather in Edinburgh in August to put on 2,542 shows in a record year for the city's Fringe, the largest annual arts festival of its kind in the world.

The flamboyant and exuberant Fringe, running from August 5-29, covers the full range of theatrical artistry, from cabaret through to comedy, opera, theater and music.

Impresarios, agents and scouts keenly watch the performances for new talent in an environment that has opened the door to many of Britain's top performers for more than 60 years.

Fringe director Kath Mainland told Reuters at the launch of the festival's program on Thursday that international media exposure and the presence of over 1,000 festival directors, theater programmers and talent scouts from around the world were key factors in attracting performers.

Several productions will mark the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, with the American High School Theater Festival presenting "War at Home," "created out of the journals of students, teachers and community members after the attacks."

In a one-man show, American Chris Wolfe explores how 9/11 affected a generation through television and the internet.

Edinburgh's Cutting Edge Theater Productions will premiere a new musical "11" weaving in stories of people whose lives have been affected by two world wars and 9/11 itself.

One notable absence from the program was political satire on Britain today.   Continued...