Officially known as the Edinburgh Festival Fringe but also commonly referred to as Edinburgh Fringe Festival or just as the Edinburgh Fringe, it is considered as world’s largest arts festival in terms of performance, as in the year 2019, over 59,600 performances were out of 3,841 variety of shows in a total of 322 different venues, which is huge numbers of performances.
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is hosted in Edinburgh’s capital city of Scotland, which is situated in southeastern Scotland, in the month of August every year. The Fringe Festival has become the number 1 festival in terms of arts and culture and is only surpassed by two giants, the World Cup, and the Olympics, considering the number of tickets sold globally.
The Fringe Festival was originally founded in 1947 and was inaugurated as Edinburgh International Festival. But the festival was not recognized that much until 1948 when Edinburgh Festival hosted its second festival Robert Kemp a journalist and playwright based in Scotland, credited and described the festival as “Fringe”.
The influence of the festival can be seen as the core concept of the festival has been copied all around the world.
Asian Feminism Meets Music with “Hello Kitty Must Die,” taking center stage in Fringe
A producer of Broadway musicals from New York is all set to try their latest show on the audience at the Edinburgh Fringe. They have come to the conclusion that this could be the ideal place to test the reactions of the people to a darkly comic musical mashup with an empowering take on Asian feminism set to music.
“It felt like this place is the perfect one to start,” says the vice president at Alchemation, Lucas McMahon, in an interview with Reuters.
Broadway’s “Hello Kitty Must Die,” is based on the cult novel written by U.S based and Hong Kong-born writer Kate Kamen (formerly known as Angela S. Choi). It has been adapted into a musical and is playing at Edinburgh’s Pleasance for Aug 2 to Aug. 27.
The group Alchemation, famous for its International hit “SIX,” is also a part of the growing musical theater scene at the Fringe in Scotland during the month of August.
Fringe’s Musical Evolution from “SIX” to “Hello Kitty Must Die”
The director of the Pleasance Theatre Trust, Anthony Alderson, says the hype around Edinburgh musicals is a result of the success of “SIX,” which revolves around the story of Henry VIII’s wives, which originally started as a Cambridge student production at the Fringe.
It was then transferred to London’s West End, where Alchemation recognized its potential and decided to take it to Broadway and beyond.
The Fringe Festival as a testing ground has an advantage in comparison to New York or London, because it can provide weeks of feedback from festival audiences who are generally popular for being adventurous and international. Alderson described it as the world’s biggest marketplace for theatre.
Levi Root’s Musical Testing
Another popular artist testing the mood in Edinburgh is Levi Roots, a British-Jamaican reggae musician and entrepreneur. His song “Sound Clash: Death in the Arena,” which is co-directed by Ray Shell, would be delivered to the audience and see their reaction to it.
The producers can afford to take a financial risk in this situation.
Financial Risk: Balancing Shows at Edinburgh Fringe Festival
The Pleasance Theater and other venues in Edinburgh heard criticism from performers. They stated that with the arrival of the big company musicals and the increasing cost of accommodation in the city, it is difficult for newcomers and small creative artists to start there like they used to earlier.
So, to address this issue, the theater has decided to share 50,000 pounds, equivalent to $64,250, between six shows, including a different show named “Public – The Musical,” making it the first time it to support such a musical with one of its diversity grants. The show talks about four strangers who get stuck in a gender-neutral public toilet.
The year Pleasance Theater alone has the most musicals ever, around 16 out of nearly 140 shows in whole at the Fringe. This tells that Fringe has started to become popular for musicals.