Fringe sales up as festival kicks off

Record year for venues

The Edinburgh Fringe kicks off today, with the big venues already recording a rise in ticket sales.

Although officially slated to start on Friday, many shows begin previews today; while Chortle is hosting a Fast Fringe ‘sampler’ gig to kick off the festival, previewing 28 comedy shows.

Assembly say ticket sales have been boosted by a third after adding a tented venue in Princes Street Gardens to its operation.

Artistic director William Burdett-Coutts told The Scotsman the venue has sold 100,000 tickets before the Fringe has even started – more than the total number they sold in all of 1999’s Fringe.

The Underbelly has similarly seen a huge rise in sales after adding the 1,000-seater McEwan Hall. John Bishop is believed to have already sold more than 20,000 tickets for his run there.

Finally, the Pleasance has two fewer spaces this year, but still says tickets are 1.5 per cent ahead of last year.

The 64th Fringe programme boasts a staggering 2,453 shows across 259 venues, 35 per cent of them comedy.

Tonight, Chortle kicks off the festival with its first Edinburgh Fast Fringe in the George Square Theatre, which is being operated as C Plaza this festival.

The format of allowing 28 highly-tipped comedy acts the chance to perform a three-minute sample of the best of their show has previously proved a hit in London.

Tonght’s show is hosted by Fred Macalay and features, among others, the following acts – all of whom have their own shows on the Fringe:

  • Jennifer Coolidge, the American comedian best known for playing Stiflers Mum in the American Pie movies
  • Des Bishop, a big star in Ireland thanks to his TV shows mixing comedy with social comment.
  • Ava Vidal, as seen on Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow
  • Daniel Sloss, the Scottish teenage wunderkind, about to start in his own BBC sitcom, The Adventures Of Daniel.
  • Sammy J, winner of the most prestigious prize at the Melbourne Comedy Festival this year, the Barry
  • Bo Burnham, the American musical comedian who became a huge start after attracting millions of viewers to his YouTube videos.
  • Pete Johansson, nominated for the best newcomer at last year’s Edinburgh Comedy Awards
  • Paul Sinha, another award nominee and a familiar voice on radio thanks to appearances on Loose Ends, the Now Show and Radio 5 Live.

The show starts at 7.30pm, and offers a full night’s entertainment of 28 shows for the price of one. Click here for tickets, priced £12.50 and £10.50 concs.

Published: 4 Aug 2010

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