Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2020: Your online planner
James R | On 14, Aug 2020
The 2020 Edinburgh Festival Fringe will be reimagined as a digital event this summer, after the event was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The world’s largest arts festival typically brings in several hundred thousand people to see a wide range of shows, not only stand-up comedy but also theatre, dance, music and circus arts. While there are no plans for live performances, following the latest Scottish government guidance, the Fringe Society has instead announced plans for a digital event that will include live-streamed performances, nostalgic throwbacks and community-focused events and support sessions. A series of digital activities, including virtual shows, a festival-wide crowdfunding campaign, artist-facing workshops, a new online arts industry platform and a virtual Fringe Central will all be launched.
Shona McCarthy, Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society Chief Executive, said: “It’s hard to imagine a summer without the Fringe. The explosion of creativity and community that the festival brings every year is unparalleled, and whilst we may not be able to provide a stage in Edinburgh in quite the same way this year, it feels hugely important that the spirit of this brilliant festival is kept alive.”
The Fringe Society and Crowdfunder have teamed up to launch a new crowdfunding platform, FringeMakers, which will support Fringe artists and venues to raise vital funds in the absence of a Fringe this year. Participants can offer rewards for donation, such as access to their own live-streamed shows, custom merchandise, exclusive content and much more. The FringeMakers platform is live now at welcome.crowdfunder.co.uk/fringemakers.
Fringe Central is a home from home for the Fringe community during August and hosts a programme of creative and professional development events for artists. The online hub will allow artists to come together to connect and collaborate with each other, or simply drop by and talk to a member of the Fringe Society team in real time, replicating the open-door environment that is Fringe Central in August.
In the absence of a physical festival, the virtual Fringe Marketplace will be a platform to connect arts industry delegates all over the world with tour-ready artists who were programmed as part of this year’s Fringe – helping them to network with producers, directors and buyers for TV and radio.
The plans were unveiled alongside the festival’s official artwork, designed by Butcher Billy. Read on for the digital line-up, which we’ll be updating throughout August to highlight what’s coming up – or head this way for our guide to the best stand-up comedy to watch online in the UK.
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Gilded Baloon: Best Bits of So You Think You’re Funny? (8pm) – Free
The Best Bits of SYTYF? will feature highlights from the comedy newcomer competition, including Hannah Gadsby, Aisling Bea, Sarah Millican, Sean Walsh, Maisie Adam and more.
Songs From the Spare Room (7pm)
Award-winning comedian Friz Frizzle invites you to his bedroom every Friday at 7pm and sings you parodies on a piano. It’s better than it sounds.
Improva-zoom-ga! (formerly ‘Improvabunga!’) is the improvised movie adventure. See your favourite film genres re-created live on screen! There will be slaps, there will be laughs, there will be silly.
Fringe on a Friday (9pm)
A 60-minute digital fundraising variety show every Friday night at 9pm during August. Each show will feature nine different acts and will go out live at 9pm, with tickets costing £9 each. This new show will showcase the festival across a range of genres, including comedy, cabaret, theatre and music. Acts confirmed so far across the season include Daniel Sloss, Tiff Stevenson, Michael Odewale, Fern Brady, Briefs, Sadia Azmat, Lost Voice Guy and Bernie Dieter.
Comedy in the Meantime at The Fringe (8pm) – Free
A showcase of comedians sharing highlights of their shows they planned for the fringe this year, plus maybe some raunchy Edinburgh anecdotes. The line-up includes Aaron Twitchen, Katie Pritchard, Adele Cliff, Eli Matthewson, Jack Gleadow, Alice Marshall, Stephen Carlin, Mark Simmon, Ria Lina, Karen Hobbs and The Stevenson Experience.
Gilded Balloon: Greatest Ever Late’n’Live (9pm) – Free
A compilation of some of the most iconic performances from the biggest names to grace Gilded Balloon’s Late’n’Live stage, including Dara O’Briain, Daniel Kitson, Jimmy Carr, Katherine Ryan, Flight of the Concords, Tom Allen, Dane Baptiste, Aisling Bea and Adam Hills. Streaming at on Saturdays for free throughout August – 8th, 15th and 22nd.
Lockdown: A Jewish Perspective (7pm)
Being Jewish and Jewrotic in lockdown. An 86 year old Jewish mother nearby. Wife at home (relearning the Wife Code) being 60 and the benefits? Using new techno-zoom and turning into a Jewish Grandmother.
Meryl O’Rourke: Vanilla (8pm)
The New World Order writer questions what her kids are being sold, and if any of it makes sense. Meryl compares her own teens with this age of pop, and looks back on her youth through the lens of MeToo.
Will Mars: The Movie (8pm)
Television credit to prove I’m funny. Another to prove the first wasn’t a fluke “Quote about a previous show.” Stars [well known publication] “Another quote.” Stars again [lesser known publication]
Fringe Pick n Mix – Free
Watch 60-second films of artists in action – from snippets of what would have been 2020 shows to snappy set pieces staged in the shed. Viewers can pick a particular clip to watch or settle in to watch a mixed stream of continuous Fringe entertainment, with the ability to interact and comment on the videos as they play out. Audiences can show their appreciation by donating to a central artist and venue survival fund and explore additional content via their social media channels.
Until the Ad Break (12pm, Daily) – Free
Until the Ad Break is an absurd comedy sketch set just before the end of the world. Follow plucky daytime TV hosts Francine, and Dale as they come to terms with the impending apocalypse live on air.
Matthew Hayhurst: Fields Just The Tonic
It is a pastoral English hor-com (horror-comedy, it’ll catch on) set across three generations in the tranquil village of Whittling-Upon-Avon-in-the-Fields.
Tom GK’s Hearing Loss: The Musical
From his outpost in the luscious green parkland of Milton Keynes, Tom GK brings you a unique version of his critically-acclaimed illness-themed musical.
Wet Paint – Still Not Dry
Devastated to have missed Two Ladders Productions’s debut Fringe show? Fear not! Listen in on a Zoom call between two ‘high-brow’ reviewers to catch up! A fresh blend of sketch and improv comedy!
The Beat Goes On
It will take more than a pandemic to stop the irrepressible Glummer Twins from celebrating the joys, absurdities and indignities of ageing. Socially distanced spoken word from the Beat Generation.
Anna Nicholson: Get Happy
Anna Nicholson’s second show filmed at Just the Tonic at the Edinburgh Fringe 2019.
Glad and Min
Two friends are beginning to feel the lockdown blues. But the neighbour’s food deliveries are arousing their interest. She doesn’t have a dog? And what links her to a pair of marigolds and a turkey baster?
David Ephgrave: My Part In His Downfall
2002’s Most Promising Drama Student pinpoints the moment things went wrong; how can one reviewer’s ‘devastatingly witty’ be another’s ‘festival of mediocrity’? David shows you how.
Anna Nicholson: Woman of the Year
Meet the nominees for Woman of the Year. A competitive vicar to a bra saleswoman. Who will win? You decide. 12+ family friendly. Developed with the Soho Theatre and James Cary (BBC comedy writer).
Big Daddy and Baby Helen
Rosie Jones and Helen Bauer get together for a double bill packed with jokes, mischief and probably, a bit of beef.
A solo show with love and a collation of queer ruminations during a 14-day self-isolation sandwiched by social unrest in Hong Kong.
Alice Marshall: On Screen
Alice Marshall should be in Edinburgh. She should be doing a stupid show on a stupid stage about stupid things. But then a pandemic happened, so she’s watching TV instead.
Marcel Lucont: No. Dix
The Fringe’s favourite French flâneur captured in 2019 with a live band. Deadpan wit, jazz poetry and bawdy chansons.
Coronavirus, Underwood’s New Taskforce
Goodly folks volunteer to help the aged and infirm during lockdown. Except in Underwood, where the people who volunteer have ulterior motives more to do with helping themselves rather than others.
Harry and Megan
This mockumentary follows Harry who applies for an NHS volunteer. Along with his sister, he takes full advantage of Monty who comes to help him yet who ends up being the friend he so badly needs.