10 stats about the Edinburgh Fringe that will blow your mind | Number 5 is so amazing you'll punch a hole in space-time

10 stats about the Edinburgh Fringe that will blow your mind

Number 5 is so amazing you'll punch a hole in space-time

By Festival of the Spoken Nerd...

1. The 2015 Fringe involves 50,459 performances of 3,314 shows.

If each performance is an hour long, that means that the whole Fringe contains over five and three quarter years of performing. If you wanted to see all of the shows once each, that would be over 138 days non-stop. You can recreate that exact 138-day sensation by seeing any show with the title format: {Noun}! The Musical!

2: This year there are nine shows with the title format {Noun}! The Musical!

Yes, that surprised us too. We’re convinced we’ve been flyered for more than nine… You could see them all, or just watch Musical of Musicals (The Musical!). No really, that exists. It's by the American High School Theatre Festival, so acute satire and exquisite irony are guaranteed.

3: More shows contain politics than nudity.

The Fringe provides a searchable online database of shows, and we found that 109 show descriptions feature 'politics' while only 10 involve 'nudity'. And two of those were Spank. (You'll love it.)

Absolutely no shows contain both 'politics' and 'nudity'. At least, none are willing to admit it.

4: In 2014 there were 2,183,591 tickets sold.

That is a lot of tickets. If each 14cm long (we know, we measured one) ticket was printed out they would stretch for 190 miles. That is long enough to go from one end of Hadrian's Wall to the other and back. In 2015 it is estimated there will be enough tickets sold to reach from Edinburgh far enough south to somewhere it isn't raining.

5: The average audience size is not six. Or two. Or whatever low number you have heard.

In 2014 there were 49,497 performances, but about a quarter of all shows are now free to enter and do not require tickets. So of the 37,123 performances we assume were ticketed, the 2,183,591 tickets averages out to 59 per show.

Sure, this average is dragged up a bit by big-name performers with massive audiences. But even if there were 100 TV stars selling 500 tickets a night for 24 nights, all the other smaller shows would still be averaging over 20 audience members each. Any audiences below that are officially 'statistically insignificant'.

6: 2.2 per cent of all 2015 Fringe shows are about Shakespeare

Pro tip: if you try to see all 73 Shakespeare shows, make sure you end with Death by Shakespeare (Venue 9, 13:40).

7: According to the Fringe, companies from 49 countries are presenting work here this year.

They also say that only 45 'international' countries are performing, so we can only guess that England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have been counted as separate countries. No single performer from any country brought enough umbrellas to last the month.

8: The Fringe is one third comedy.

Very roughly, the Fringe is one third comedy, one quarter theatre, one seventh music. Children's shows make up 6 per cent of all shows, while Cabaret and Variety; Dance, Physical Theatre and Circus; Events; Musicals and Opera; and Spoken Word are 4 per cent each.

Yes, we know that is off by 0.714 per cent in total. That's our definition of 'very roughly'.

9: In the comedy section alone there are 15 shows featuring a 'Jo' in the title.

Variations include Jo, Joe, Joanna, Joby, Jody, two Joels and a Joey. Don’t get us started on the number of Johns... In contrast, the number of comedy shows with 'Ed' in the title number only three. By popular demand, next year’s Fringe will be renamed the Jo-inburgh Festival Fringe.

10: The average Fringe show is 63 minute and 43 seconds long.

This is an estimate as the Fringe online search will only let you export a maximum of 200 shows in a spreadsheet, so we picked 200 shows at random and calculated the average. The standard deviation was 22 minutes and 18 seconds. Of the 200 shows, the shortest was 30 minutes (comedy Compose Mantis, venue 462 16:30) and the longest 4 hours (durational performance Hey, I'm Alive!, venue 22 13:00).

That is of course the mean length. For those wondering about the median and mode: good on you, those are probably more insightful in this situation. And both were 60 minutes exactly.

Festival of the Spoken Nerd is on at 18:30 Assembly George Square

Published: 20 Aug 2015

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