Here at TW Towers, we are very, very fond of the multifariously talented Ali McGregor, and not long ago demonstrated our love with the bestowal of one of our Editors' Awards. And here's the really good news, Ali is back at the Fringe this year, principally with her brilliant children's show 'Jazzamatazz', though with a one-night-only show for grown ups too. We got together with Ali to some of that questioning we like to do...

ThreeWeeks' Caro Moses chats to Ali about her Festival 2015 plans here
Look out for the preview edition of ThreeWeeks arriving through the letterboxes of Edinburgh, and at all key Festival venues, over the next few days.

Inside: Stuart Bowden, Maddy Anholt, Linda Cattaneo, Karen Koren, Penny Ashton, Shelley Mitchell, The Dead Secrets, House Of Blakewell, LetLuce, Will Pickvance, Matthew Harvey, Jennie Benton Smith, Stewart Francis, Yianni, Andrew Ryan, Máire Clerkin, Chris Martin and 81 show recommendations.

Check out the online version or download a PDF copy here
It's the TW Podcast at the Edinburgh Festival. This week, as the Festival gets properly up and running again, ThreeWeeks Co-Editor Chris Cooke chats to Harry Deansway about his 'Audience With' show, and Lucy Danser and Dan Simpson about 'Stand Up & Slam'. Plus hear show snippets from Laughing Stock, Tom Allen and Grey & Green Theatre.

Listen and subscribe to the TW Podcast here
As well as navigating the thousands of shows at the Edinburgh Fringe, festival-goers have to process the flood of flyers and raft of reviews too, in order to navigate the thousands of shows at the Edinburgh Fringe. Ria Lina shares some of the secrets of Fringe show marketing – so you punters can spot the tricks.

Check out Ria's ThreeWeeks column here
Promote your show online through an advert in the ThreeWeeks Daily email bulletin - essential reading for Festival-goers - daily rates are £25+VAT with hefty discounts for block bookings.

Advertise online on the ThreeWeeks website - either through a 300x250 box or 300x125 banner.

We are offering the 300x250 pixel banners on a daily tenancy - 25% share of the spot starts from £10+VAT each day. 300x125 banners on a daily tenancy with 50% of the spot starts from £15+VAT per day.

Again - we offer keen discounts on longer bookings with these adverts, so please email to discuss your booking.
When ThreeWeeks launched in 1996 the Edinburgh Festival was a three week festival. True, there were previews and some other early-door events in what the Festival community called 'week zero', but the core of the Festival was a three week period somewhere in the middle of August. Hence our name, see.

But then a few years in, the Fringe decided to shift forward a week so that it reached its climax on the English bank holiday at the end of August. But the International Festival – citing bookings already made two or three years in advance, and a calendar of worldwide festivals in which it must slot – declined to follow suit. And so the Edinburgh Festival became a sort of four, possibly five week affair – preview week, the core three weeks, and then one final week when just the International Festival was still running.

But this year the International Festival got a new boss, in the form of Festival Director Fergus Linehan, and his first big change was to pull his three week event back into sync with everything else, so that both the Fringe and the International Festival officially kick off today.

"As a festival attendee of twenty years, the separation of the dates always felt deeply frustrating" he tells ThreeWeeks. "What Edinburgh offers that no other event in the world can, is the ability to move across so many different forms of art and entertainment in the one day. I feel that, as a group of festivals, this is our unique offering so we should maximise the number of dates when this collective experience is possible".

Well, as a magazine called ThreeWeeks, we for one agree. Though the shift in dates isn't the only interesting development occurring since Linehan took over at EIF. Whereas his predecessor often had albeit loose themes around which he programmed, the new boss has decided to go for a performer-led approach, hoping to form ongoing relationships with a community of artists.

He explains: "There are no overt themes in our programme this year. The focus was to begin conversations with artists who we felt could make a real contribution, and not just this year, but over the course of my tenure. That's one of the reasons we put a series of artist portraits on the front of our marketing materials – we wanted the programme to feel as if it was driven by the individual fascinations of great artists. From these conversations we have tried to craft a programme that celebrates the Festival's great traditions of virtuosity and rigour while simultaneously recognising the changing world around us".

It does feel like there are a number of innovations in the programme this year (as, we should note, has been the norm whenever a new director has been appointed at the EIF). Though Linehan is keen to stress that it is his performers who are the real innovators. "I hope that the real innovations will come in the from the artists in our programme" he muses, adding, "Ivan Fischer's approach to Mozart or Jordi Savall's response to Celtic music are where the real innovations can be heard".

Nevertheless, he concedes he is doing a little experimenting as programmer as well. "We do have a number of broad programmatic initiatives that we'll be trying out, including the marrying of technology and music in our free open air opening event, 'The Harmonium Project', and the series of concerts at The Hub celebrating a wildly diverse range of musical styles".

Certainly the music side of the International Festival – always the most prolific – does feel more diverse than in the past. The core classical programme is still there, but a number of artists associated with other genres appear too. "It just seemed logical to me that an international arts festival should reflect artists who are producing ambitious work of substance" Linehan says, "people like Sufjan Stevens or Bryce Dessner fit perfectly into that brief".

Of course, festival and venue directors always hate being asked to hone in on just a handful of the shows they've booked, but we got Linehan to sign off from his first meeting with Team ThreeWeeks by running through this year's biggest EIF productions, and then tipping a few of the more intimate performances. "The big beasts are 'The Harmonium Project', the Komische Oper's 'The Magic Flute' and Ballet Am Rhein's 'Seven'" he said, "but keep an eye out for Chilly Gonzales, Tao Dance and 'Confessions Of A Justified Sinner'". That we will, as we once again navigate the wider Edinburgh Festival, ThreeWeeks of great cultural adventures.

ThreeWeeks Co-Editor Caro Moses is still busy tipping, this time three solo shows from the theatre programme.

I Am Not Myself These Days
For this show, writer and performer Tom Stuart has adapted Josh Kilmer-Purcell's best selling autobiography, a dark yet funny memoir of a young New Yorker's dual life as advertising art director by day, drag queen by night. The result promises to be humorous, yet brutal and heartbreaking, dealing as it does with drugs and alcohol addiction, as well as issues affecting LGBTQ communities.
Pleasance Courtyard, from 5 until 30 Aug

Bortle 8 (pictured)
Before finding this show in the programme I had no idea what Bortle 8 meant, and now I do, but I'm not going to explain – if you want to know you will have to google it yourself – but what I did realise, when I saw it, was that this is a new show from Chris Davis, the creative force behind 'Drunk Lion', a show that we saw last year and loved. That being the case, I am expecting this to be extremely very good. No pressure, Chris.
Laughing Horse @ The Counting House, from 6 until 30 Aug

Tar Baby
This sounds like a bit of a mixture of things really – it's a solo show performed by a comedian, Desiree Burch, so I suspect there'll be a stand up element or feel to it. But however you would categorise it, it's a show which is set to tackle some important and very current stuff, as Burch promises to challenge the notion of a post-racial America.
Gilded Balloon, from 5 until 31 Aug
ThreeWeeks Co-Editor Caro Moses with three more theatre shows for you to see, all from companies and performers who have won the ThreeWeeks seal of approval at Fringes past.

Wil Greenway – For The Ground That Grew Me
'For The Ground That Grew Me' is the latest show from Wil Greenway, who induced the following praise from us, for his 2014 piece 'Vincent Goes Splat': "This is simple, gentle storytelling at its best: There's nothing but one man talking on stage, so the whole piece relies on the strength of the writing and acting and both are impeccable. It's sad and bittersweet, hilarious and heartbreaking, a beautifully crafted, wistful piece".
Underbelly Med Quad, from 6 until 30 Aug

Captain Morgan 1 and 2
"Combine the humour of 'Monty Python' with the entire cast of every 'Pirates Of The Caribbean' film and compress the lot into a two-man show and you would have something like 'Sands Of Time'", opined our reviewer, after seeing Captain Morgan number 1. "It's an epic, dizzyingly hilarious tale", he continued. "A spectacular bit of fun", he concluded. All good reasons why you should see 'Sands Of Time', and of course, part 2, 'The Sea Of Souls'.
Pleasance Dome, from 5 until 30 Aug (part 1 on odd days, part 2 on events)

Fable (pictured)
We've given the Flanagan Collective so many good reviews that I am not sure I am prepared to trawl through them all looking for quotations. But if I did I would find loads of superlatives and words like 'effective', 'beautiful' and 'life-changing'. This time they're here with 'Fable', "a tale of freedom, immortality and planting trees for those who come after us. A show wound from spoken word, storytelling, soaring live music and good, honest heart and soul". Sounds promising.
Summerhall, from 5 until 30
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