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Speedy News #01: Stats, speeches and possible offense

By | Published on Friday 29 July 2016

Così Fan Tutte

Want to stay up to speed with all the goings on across the Edinburgh Festival? Look out for regular speedy updates from the ThreeWeeks news team in the TW Daily email. Meanwhile, here’s a batch to get you going…

The Fringe Programme this year lists 3269 shows, which together involve performers from 48 countries and take place in 294 venues. Which is just silly numbers really, isn’t it? And those were the stats as the print programme was published back in June. Some shows join the party after that date, plus some Fringe shows don’t even bother listing in the Fringe Programme. Which is super Fringe, I guess.

The Fringe Society, which administrates the Fringe Festival and publishes that aforementioned programme, has a new boss. Shona McCarthy joined as CEO earlier this year replacing Kath Mainland, who’s bloody well moved to Melbourne. McCarthy’s prize for her new gig is me quoting what she said while launching this year’s Fringe Programme.

Launching this year’s Fringe Programme, Fringe Society CEO Shona McCarthy said: “At its core the Fringe is an open access festival, which welcomes anyone with a story to tell, and for that reason, amateur and professional artists from around the world continue year after year to come here to share their stories, hone their skills, create new opportunities for themselves and their work, and celebrate the joy of live performance”. That was fun, wasn’t it?

The newish Artistic Director at the Edinburgh International Festival, Fergus Linehan, continues to evolve that side of Edinburgh’s festival month. The contemporary music programme he launched last year probably remains the big innovation, with Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Young Fathers, Sigur Ros and Mogwai amongst the musicians due to appear this year.

Though another innovation at Linehan’s EIF is it bidding for the most controversial production of the month prize, usually something a Fringe show would pitch for. Although Christophe Honoré’s version of ‘Così Fan Tutte’ (pictured above) was billed as a “provocative and sexually explicit take on Mozart’s opera” in the EIF’s programme, since the production debuted in France ticket buyers have been warned of other potentially controversial elements of the show, with the offer of a refund if they’d rather not attend. Shunning a bit of controversy wouldn’t be in the “spirit of the Fringe” though. Not that this is in the Fringe. Let’s all talk about the spirit of Edinburgh from now on.

Talking of controversies, the Chilcot Report into the 2003 invasion of Iraq caused a bit of a furore, didn’t it? Despite having to compete in the news agenda with all that Brexit nonsense and the impending Age Of Trump. Not managed to read the whole 6000 page report yet, though? Never fear, Bob Slayer is organising a live reading of the whole thing, in a shed on South College Street. It’ll probably take two weeks to complete. Ticket monies are going to a charity supporting refugees.

Giving a shorter speech will be Sam Wills, aka The Boy With Tape On His Face, who will be delivering this year’s welcome address at Fringe Central, the space for Fringe performers. He’ll give his speech on 5 Aug, presumably without any tape on his face. Though who knows?

Did we mention that this is ThreeWeeks’ 21st year covering the Edinburgh Festival? Can we include our own news in here? I’m never entirely sure why 21 years is still considered a landmark of note, but I don’t write the rules. To celebrate, we are staging a series of live recordings of our TW:TALKS podcast at theSpace @ Symposium Hall in the second week of the Fringe, all featuring former cover stars. Check out thisweektalks.com for info and tickets.

Talking of theSpace @ Symposium Hall, ThreeWeeks co-Editor Chris Cooke will be staging his ‘Free Speech’ there again this year, in the third week of the Festival. Can we include that here too? Even though that’s another plug and involves me writing about myself in the third person? It’s a free speech about free speech! Check out chriscookesfreespeech.com for info and free tickets.

That’s enough news for now. But sign up to the TW Daily for regular updates on all that is happening across the Festival City. You do the signing upping at threeweeksedinburgh.com/signup