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In association with

CONTENTS THE UNIQUE FACE OF THE PLEASANCE In pictures SHE WHO LAUGHS LONGEST Kate Copstick’s comedy moments CHARLIE HARTILL SPECIAL RESERVE FUND Memories are made of this RINGING THE CHANGES Mark Fisher’s theatrical highlights YOUNG PLEASANCE Age no barrier BIRTHDAY COMMISSIONS Many happy returns PHOTOGRAPHIC COMMISSIONS Putting the stage in the frame CHILDREN COME FIRST Kelly Apter’s pint-size picks MAKING LIGHT WORK OF IT The venue that launched 1000 careers VOX POP What the audience says CABLE TALK The gaffer tape, the scaffolding and the crew MAP Get the sketch on getting around THE TRUST Development, support and mentoring

It really is remarkable to think the Pleasance has been entertaining audiences for 30 years. Only yesterday, or so it seems, I found myself at the age of 16 sweeping the Courtyard, manning the box office, spending my days running between Pleasance One and Pleasance Two (there were only two venues back then) and generally having the time of my life in this dynamic venture that was just a couple of years old. It might easily have gone the way of many a Fringe enterprise, but there was magic in the air and something about the Pleasance just worked. I’m proud to say the ethos established at the very beginning by founder director Christopher Richardson remains today, even as we have expanded into a multi-venue operation across several sites. It’s a spirit of artistic possibility, of youthful enterprise (whatever your age), of good humour and of celebration – all the things, indeed, that make the Edinburgh Fringe the most thrilling festival in the world. As you’ll see from this special birthday magazine, the first three decades have been a tremendous joy. Thanks to you the audience, the thousands of performers and the many hundreds of people who’ve worked for us, it’s been an endlessly exciting achievement. I do hope you’ll join us repeatedly in our 30th anniversary season. Here’s to the next three decades!


LONG-TERM PARTNERS Key charitable relationships CHRISTOPHER IS NOT MY DAD Anthony Alderson sets the record straight INTO THE NEW Why theatremakers love the Pleasance THROUGH THE AGES 30 years of great memories TO BOLDLY GO What’s next for fringe theatre?

CONTRIBUTORS For the Pleasance James West Publication editor Mark Fisher Designer Lucy Munro The List project manager Sheri Friers

LONDON CALLING A year-round home in Islington FRONT COVER: © THEO DAVIES

LET’S GET DIGITAL From fax to Macs

Published by The List Ltd in association with The Pleasance

MAKING IT HAPPEN Programming secrets from Ryan Taylor & Matthew Dwyer

HEAD OFFICE: 14 High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1TE Tel: 0131 550 3050,

LISTINGS Highlights of the 2014 programme

©2014 The List Ltd. Reproduction in whole or in part is forbidden without the written permission of the publishers. The List does not accept responsibility for unsolicited material. The List provides this content in good faith but no guarantee or representation is given that the content is accurate, complete or up-to-date. Use of magazine content is at your own risk.


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HOW IT ALL BEGAN Christopher Richardson sets the scene






Pleasance founder Christopher Richardson looks back to the days of hand-made tickets, feuding techies and Amstrad meltdowns


first visited the street called the Pleasance somewhere back in 1979 or 1980 to see my nephew in a university production of, I am ashamed to say, I remember not. It took place in a dark dungeon of a place roughly where today there are lines of terrifying musclemaking machines in the PE department which is the home of our Pleasance Beneath. Some time later, I went to the Little Theatre, in a rather fine courtyard, to see a version of The Brothers Karamazov. That theatre is now Pleasance One. When I next saw the Pleasance, as it had become known, it was January 1985. It was cold and wet, and we sat by the fireplace in the bar below the theatre with large cups of tea dispensed by Betty Brown and her assistant Joan, stalwart janitorial team from EUSA, discussing the practicality of taking on a venue at the very edge of all things Fringe. My first love was theatre and my newfound love was the Fringe but, as a director and designer, I could see it was a rough place for drama. It offered tremendous opportunities, but the practicalities needed sorting out. I believed that’s what the Pleasance could do. It would be a place where great theatre and comedy could thrive among the rest of the festival excitement. In that first season, we made a profit of £188, not something we did for a further nine years! And when we did, we turned it into a charity. That first year, we had a crèche, roast beef off the joint, an art gallery with a floor covered in little clay animals by Charles Thackray, two performance spaces, 18 shows and a hand-driven box office. The administration and graphic hub was housed in a grey square lump of plastic, the huggable 128k Macintosh which, with its printer and floppy disc, cost more than a sixth of the entire budget. The first set of paper tickets never arrived – well a few did, when someone found most of the consignment spread out on a railway embankment between Reading and London. We had the whole lot reprinted in a different colour to thwart the ticket touts and the double booking in the rush to be part of the audience in Edinburgh. Throwing 80% of those tickets onto a council tip in early September was a salutary learning experience.

In 1986, the present chairman, Jeremy Lucas put £10,000 into the pot and we added the Quaker House (our Pleasance Two). Into the courtyard, we opened a small window which served drinks to the outside and, inside, acted as a late-night performers’ bar. Now we had a computerised box office based on an Amstrad computer. The program gave out after 17-and-a-half minutes. A young man, now a rather distinguished doctor, had to spend each day of the rest of the festival with a biro and a John Bull printing set, producing tickets to order. At least we had less to throw away afterwards. Next year we were back to paper tickets and numerous pigeonholes to house them. There was confusion, books of tickets trampled under foot and some pretty angry promoters. Then we had the Rotterdam computer. It was reasonably efficient and did, just about, cope with the 500 individual performances on offer. The thing almost no system could grasp in those days was the selling of the last ticket to 20 hopefuls in the same second. It would do its simple best to sell each of them a ticket, throw up its little electronic hands and say, ‘No!’ and the system would go pop! The Fringe was a wild frontier back then. It was characterised by the Patching Wars in which companies in small venues would fight to re-plug lights from an inadequate and often dangerous supply during the changeover from one show to the next. Delays to the starting times naturally followed. I remember sitting beneath a seating ramp during a performance watching the steels bend a little more at each round of applause. We were glad it was not too well received. Then there was the difficulty in extracting any money from box offices for tickets sold, often creating actual misery and hardship. Of course, there are still horror stories, but considering the huge scale of the Fringe, it is remarkable how few. It is better than it used to be, if a tad less exciting. Yet I am surprised each year by how much I’m filled with the same excitement, suppressed expectation and optimism I felt 30 years ago. The energy and creative explosion which spreads across one of the loveliest cities in Europe is something to be cherished. THE PLEASANCE AT 3O 3





The Pleasance is renowned for encouraging new ideas and risk taking, the result of a philosophy that embodies the spirit of the Fringe. Over the past three decades, it has supported over 5,000 productions involving some 40,000 people. No mean feat. Here are the ten top reasons it has achieved such levels of success



A team of ten people run the Pleasance 365 days a year. It’s no part-time affair. Programming starts a year in advance, new venues are conceived, old venues revitalised and ambitious additions created.

There are few ideas the Pleasance won’t consider: from Throats, which flooded the stage of Pleasance Two every day, to Auto Auto, which required a car to be destroyed and turned into a musical instrument each night.



The Pleasance may have grown into one of the Fringe’s best loved venues, but the core value of creating a platform for great performances still underpins everything, whether it’s tomorrow’s Michael McIntyre or today’s surprise hits.

Since 1995 the Pleasance has taken over 600 young people to the Festival Fringe via the Young Pleasance and invested over £100,000 subsidising productions through the Charlie Hartill Special Reserve Fund, as well as informal mentoring.




‘The Pleasance is like a family’ is a familiar phrase from performers, staff and supporters alike. The informality of the organisation keeps everyone grounded and connected to its core principles.

You can’t stand still in business and the same is true for the Pleasance. Over the years it has tried everything from downloadable podcasts to mobile-based websites. Watch out for paperless ticketing soon.



Thousands of people have had a chance to cut their teeth in everything running a venue has to offer. After picking up invaluable experience in August, many have gone onto careers in the arts and further afield.

The Pleasance offers such a tantalising selection of performances you’re both overwhelmed and giddy at the same time. Your first encounter will turn you into a child in a sweet shop. Dip in!



As many as 25,000 visitors come to the Courtyard on the busiest day. With a 5am licence in the Dome, performers and punters alike help create the biggest buzz on the Fringe. You never know who you might end up sitting next to.

With over 900 applications every year, the Pleasance has a collaborative and highly skilled approach to programming. Building a line-up of such diversity and reliability is a full-time job – and it’s one the programmers do with relish.








From McIntyre to Munnery, from Hunter to Hill, Scotsman comedy critic Kate Copstick has enjoyed 30 years of belly laughs at the Pleasance I remember when its guts put a young Michael McIntyre on in the Attic. And a nervous Russell Brand in the Cellar. Not just the now-famous, but the forever-iconic names that pepper the Pleasance schedule over the years speak to an understanding of and fondness for comedy that goes far beyond the bumson-seats imperative. I have memories of watching Norman Lovett and Jim Tavare, John Dowie and Simon Munnery. Good grief, the place has nurtured Arthur Smith from a lad who could warble Andy Williams (and did) to the grizzled old bloke who growls Leonard Cohen. Even when comedy at the Fringe became toxic with Big Management, puffed-up PR and ‘them off the telly’, the Pleasance seemed rather to Keep Calm and Carry On. Let’s face it, Al Murray, Graham Norton and Harry Hill, Jack Dee and Stewart Lee, Frank Skinner and Dave Gorman (to name but a few) had all already been there, handed out their flyers and complained about the reviewers. My personal magic moments at the Pleasance are legion. Photocopying the posters for my show in the press office in 1991, helping to pin Graham Norton into his Mother Teresa tea towels in 1992, meeting Joan Rivers in Brooke’s Bar and watching her cry when someone read her my review and doing a TV interview with the Pub Landlord

in the Courtyard and then watching him become Al Murray. I will never forget sitting in the dark, year on year, bathed in the glorious, irresistible madness that was any of Andrew Clover’s shows, starting with Man of Substance in a World of Filth, almost holding my breath through the beautiful, weird fragility of Julian Fox’s Rebranding Mr God and Goodbye Seattle Coffee Company, getting a thrill in 2012 in the King Dome realising Brendon Burns has a brain as well as a gob. Most of my magic moments are in the tiny spaces – the awesome firepower of Adam Riches packed into the Cellar is something to be experienced. Although the frisson Reg Hunter sent round the Pleasance Queen Dome in White Woman left my follicles erect for months. And then there is Michael McIntyre. I feel genuinely sorry for anyone who did not get to see him in the Pleasance Attic. Or even Pleasance Above by which time people deliberately came in late to his show for the joy of the fun he had with them. But that is one of the loveliest things about comedy and the Pleasance and its continuing passion for performance – there is always the chance that, some year, up in the Attic, there will be another Michael McIntyre, another Russell Brand in the Cellar. Of all the venues at the Fringe, I can imagine the Pleasance going on forever.

WHAT THE PLEASANCE MEANS TO ME STEVE PEMBERTON THE LEAGUE OF GENTLEMEN As soon as we hit upon the idea of taking a show to Edinburgh, we only had eyes for one venue. We worked hard to ensure Christopher Richardson attended one of our shows at the Canal Cafe Theatre and he agreed to th give us a teatime slot. An audience of three giv attended our first preview (and I’m sure atte one of them fell asleep), but within a week we’d made it onto the hallowed ‘sold out’ blackboard. For all of us, the Pleasance blackb Courtyard was Edinburgh, and I was Courty delighted to take my kids there last year delighte and show them the (temporary) blue plaque celebrating The League of Gentlemen’s first celebratin appearance in 1996. The plaque was next appearanc men’s toilet, which was bigger than to the men’ our performance space – but then how else could a bunch of unknowns ever hope to sell out otherwise?

MIRANDA HART COMEDIAN What the Pleasance means to me is an instant emotional recall of excitement and fear, exhaustion and elation, hot dogs and hangovers. I will always see the Pleasance as a vibrant and thriving place where acts gathered to offload festival angst (I have made many a life-long friend in the Pleasance Courtyard), and where you were always the most excited to go as an audience member – it is, in many ways, the central hubbub of the comedy community for a month every year. More importantly, the Pleasance means looking out for comedy new kids on the block and I will always be grateful to them for helping me put on shows there for three years. The Jokerdome venue in 2002 holds a special place in my heart. Possibly named the Jokerdome because the ceiling was so low I could barely stand in it. Happy days.

’My love of the Pleasance is because it’s just got a great vibe.’ TIM MINCHIN COMEDIAN & COMPOSER




ll the best things are born of passion. And the Pleasance certainly was. The marvellous thing about comedy at the Pleasance has always been its breadth and depth. In its own quiet way, it has been the most open minded and brave of comedy venues. In 1989, into a niche in the brochure still warm from the wit and spats of Earl Okin, the Pleasance loosed Malcolm Hardee . . . and all that that entails. Sold-out audiences for both Jerry Sadowitz and Gyles Brandreth have stood there, patiently, in the pouring rain. Check out the 2006 schedule and you will find Frankie Boyle back to back with the 4 Poofs and there are not many places where that could happen. The Pleasance was the happiest of homes to the Hamiltons in an Edinburgh I remember as being very sniffy indeed – until they became the ‘must see/must do’ show on the Fringe. Comedy wrestling might not have got the go ahead from many venues, but it found a home at the Pleasance. As did the crazinesses of The Office Party and The Donkey Show. As the Courtyard expanded, the programming maintained that marvellously personal approach with which it began. ‘There’s just a gut feeling . . . a spark,’ said Anthony Alderson. I cannot think of a better way to put together a programme. And the Pleasance has always had great guts.


N LAUGHING MEMORY How the Charlie Hartill Fund has brought new generations of comedians and theatremakers to the fore


harlie Hartill was a wit, writer, performer, ex-president of the Cambridge Footlights, eight years a director of the Festival Fringe and the Pleasance’s man of the computer. He first worked at the Pleasance at the age of 17. The Special Reserve Fund was established in 2004 in memory of Charlie, who died in January of that year. He was 32. The fund provides complete financial support to artists and companies of the future who wish to perform at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Since 2005, it has enabled one piece of theatre and four comedy acts to come to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe every year, directly supporting nine theatre companies, including PIT and Invertigo, and 40 comedians, including Jack Whitehall, BAFTA winner Daniel Rigby, 2013 best newcomer John Kearns, Daniel Simonsen and Holly Walsh – a total of over £100,000 worth of subsidy.





So if you’re here for the festival and running up insurmountable debts; and if you’re drinking way too much, and way too often; and if you’re not rising until after it’s already dark and not going to bed until after it’s light; and if you’re shoving your fliers into a bin in the Grassmarket instead of handing them out; and, above all else, if you find yourself stumbling back to Waverley Station some time at the beginning of September not knowing who you are, what happened or how you’ll ever recover, you can console yourself with this thought. It’s what Charlie would have wanted. Robert Thorogood is the creator of BBC1’s Death in Paradise. He is currently writing a Death in Paradise novel, A Meditation on Murder, which will be published in January 2015.


Anthony Alderson wrote to me and asked, ‘Now you’re all famous in Hollywood*, have you got time to send a few words for our birthday?’ Yes, Anthony. I’ve still got time for the little people.

In 2007, theatre-loving legend Emma Bettridge gave me her trust (and, equally importantly, the Charlie Hartill Fund’s money) to put on a play. It was a big, sprawling, ambitious piece. Too ambitious. Didn’t sell many tickets. I gained a lot of knowledge, and lost a lot of money. The next year, Emma (big heart, short memory) let me put on another play, Dad’s Money, which was neither big, nor sprawling. The tale of two brothers trapped in a cellar in Somerset during a flood, it was tight, comic, sold tickets – and I could never have written it if I hadn’t over-reached the year before. The Charlie Hartill Fund allowed me to make a mistake, and to learn. It’s great to have a chance to learn. Even better to have that chance on other people’s money. I’ve now spent six months of my life in Edinburgh in August (most recently with Dirty Great Love Story). Happy birthday, the Pleasance. I will always remember you for giving me a chance. For Stop Calling Me Vernon. Louis CK. Translunar Paradise. Not Everything Is Significant. And for a friendly labrador. I’ve cleared time from appearing in major feature films** for a glorious return to the Pleasance this summer. I’m starring with Jerome Wright (who performed in that 2007 Charlie Hartill-funded learning experience) in Wingman (14:10, Dome). Do pop in. It’s a big, ambitious, tight, comic story. * We can find no evidence of Richard’s presence in Hollywood. ** Also no evidence of appearing in feature films (although he may have watched some).

THE 30TH BIRTHDAY CHARLIE FUND BENEFICIARIES ◆ LORRAINE & ALAN Pleasance Dome, Jack Dome, 30 Jul–25 Aug, 13.30 (14.30) Who is Lorraine? Where does she come from? And why does she take so long in the bath? A modern re-telling of the Selkie myth with live sound design and song from award-winning company Bucket Club. ◆ THE COMEDY RESERVE Pleasance Dome, Jack Dome, 30 Jul–25 Aug, 21.30 (22.30) Catch four of the hottest new acts on the comedy circuit in the tenth year of the Pleasance’s Comedy Reserve. This year’s group of outstanding newcomers are: Chris Betts, Phil Jerrod, Evelyn Mok and Brennan Reece.



I first heard about Charlie Hartill long before I met him. I was 13 and everyone was talking at school about this brilliant boy who’d just joined our year. Apparently. I couldn’t verify any of this; I wasn’t clever enough to be in any of his classes. However, we were both put in the school play, and when I finally got to meet him, I realised all of the hype was true. He was brilliant; like a diamond. I’d never met anyone like him before. And as I write this nearly 30 years later, I haven’t met anyone like him since. He was clever, witty and ferociously loyal; a fantastic writer, brilliant performer and even more brilliant stand-up. But what I think most impresses me now, as I look back on my 20-year friendship with Charlie, was his attitude to life itself. His total disregard for authority. The sheer joy he felt when trying to do something impossible. His boundless optimism. And, of course, his voracious appetite for fags, booze and Nina Simone. And that’s why he and the Fringe were always such a good fit. Because the Fringe – or at least my rose-tinted memories of it back in the 1990s – was a place of improbable hopes, intense passions, quixotic pointlessness and constant, drunken laughter. And that’s Charlie. It’s no wonder the Fringe was where he functioned best. It was the one time of the year when the whole population of Scotland’s greatest city agreed to spend 28 days living like Charlie did for the rest of the year: going too fast, doing too much, and laughing all the way to debtors prison. Because, of all of Charlie’s many and varied triumphs, I hold one achievement of his above all others. And it’s not that he was the youngest ever director of the Festival Fringe Society. Nor that he could speak Anglo Saxon at 13 – or managed to get McVitie’s to change its Hobnobs design at 16 – or Barclays Bank to ‘repudiate all his debts’ at 22 (although it is very nearly the fact that he booked himself a slot at the Pleasance one year to do a one-man show and forgot to write it). To my mind, Charlie’s greatest achievement was that he simply refused to learn any of life’s lessons. Every day he seemed to get up without any idea of what he was supposed to be doing, but instead he’d ask the world: ‘Where’s the fun?’

'I was 18 when I first performed at the Pleasance, six months into becoming a comedian and they gave me a break through the Charlie Hartill Comedy Reserve. Without the Pleasance finding ways to bring new comic talent to Edinburgh the Fringe wouldn’t be quite the same. Happy birthday Pleasance!’


JUST AN ILLUSION? Guardian theatre critic Mark Fisher looks back over 30 years of transformative moments


t’s the Fringe of 2011 and I’m taking a break between shows in the Pleasance Courtyard. The picture is familiar: people are chatting, drinking, handing out flyers, catching up on all the festival gossip. But to the trained eye, something else is going on. Scattered around the place are a number of individuals who are listening with unusual concentration to their headphones. It’d be easy to mistake them for particularly dedicated music fans with their iPods on shuffle. In fact, although they are not together, they are an audience. Look closer still and you see that the couple arguing by the bar are wearing head-mics, as are the two in heated discussion by the queue for Pleasance One. Unbeknownst to those around them, they are actors performing in Invisible Show II, a play by Jonathan Holloway (see below) in which real life is the backdrop to a drama of bitter-sweet romance. The invisibility applies as much to the audience as it does the actors. It’s one of those festival moments where the dividing line between fact and fiction seems to shift. Having watched so much theatre, it’s as if you’ve drifted into a play yourself. The very notion of the Pleasance, constructed and dismantled in a matter of days, adds to this illusion. Now you see it, now you don’t. Can you be certain it happened at all? That’s certainly how I feel about one of my earliest Pleasance memories, although I have since met people who were there and have confirmed it to be true. It was in 1987 and the scene was a bonfire somewhere round the back of the main buildings where earlier in the evening there had been an outdoor production of Beowulf. I didn’t get to see that show, but I was in the audience for the Doug Anthony Allstars, the brilliant Australian musical comedy trio who, at the end of the show, decided to lead us en masse to gather around the camp fire and join in some less-than-reverent Christian song.

So far so subversive, but what really made the night memorable was the audience. Not content with singer Paul McDermott’s attempts to walk across the flames, someone opened their wallet and threw their credit card onto the fire. Then someone else did the same. And another and another. It was one of those perfect festival moments when normal rules no longer applied. For similar moments, it’s easiest to focus on the small and quirky corners of the programme like the peepshow booth that appeared in 2012, offering a sex-themed play to anyone who dared look through the hole in the wall; like the halfhour verbatim play about floods performed in a caravan in 2008; and like the one about a road trip performed for an audience of five in a campervan in 2010. Shows like this have the intimacy of a dream. But equally dreamlike are the memories of much bigger transformations. Was it really in the same university sports hall that I saw not only the exuberant irony-fest of Eurobeat: Almost Eurovision in 2007 in which Mel Giedroyc played Boyka, the batty Bosnian contest host, but also last year’s Trash Cuisine, in which the Free Theatre of Belarus made the grim connection between gastronomy and torture? It sounds unlikely but the answer is yes. The Pleasance is no place for distinctions about high art and low, about newcomer and celebrity, about serious and frivolous. Hosting the Pleasance Bytes series of podcasts in recent years, I have interviewed such luminaries as Paul Merton, Miriam Margolyes and Nichola McAuliffe and found them invariably as energised about the festival as the young hopefuls sitting in the audience hoping to pick up expert tips. The Fringe’s open-access philosophy, the idea that everyone from newcomer to old hand is in with the same chance, finds its most democratic expression here. Anyone can dream and everyone dreams at the Pleasance.

WHAT THE PLEASANCE MEANS TO ME JONATHAN HOLLOWAY FOUNDER AND ARTISTIC DIRECTOR, RED SHIFT THEATRE COMPANY A company doesn’t just need friends when it starts out, it also needs their sustained loyalty along the way. Despite the fact our 10 THE PLEASANCE AT 3O

first really high-profile show at Pleasance One in 1990 was a ‘dog’, Christopher Richardson trusted it was an aberration, and had us back time and again. It was Christopher who first described Red Shift as ‘the National Theatre of the Fringe’ – a phrase that took root because he’d built the

Pleasance from scratch and his voice counted. The Pleasance has always had a beautifully simple, pragmatic and ultimately liberating attitude towards theatre-making, allowing you to do the work you care about while winning audiences that count most. I stand four-square within a

community of hundreds of theatre-makers – thousands probably – who wouldn’t have careers if there hadn’t been a supportive, nononsense promoter called Pleasance Theatres being there to encourage, support, take risks and pour buckets of common sense over our heads.




Trash Cuisine in 2013



LEFT TO THEIR OWN DEVISING For the thrill of the Fringe and the discipline of the profession, you can’t do better than the Young Pleasance, Kathryn and Tim Norton tell Kelly Apter


he Edinburgh Festival Fringe can be a thrilling experience at any age – but when you’re 16, and visiting it for the first time, it can turn your world upside down. ‘You feel like you want to go back forever, and that it’s where you should have been for the previous 16 years of your life,’ says Tim Norton, joint artistic director of Young Pleasance. He should know – he and his fellow-artistic director and sister, Kathryn Norton, have been taking young people to the Fringe since 1995.

FROM OYSTERS TO OVATIONS • Seeing your poster as you step off the train at Waverley • Leaving your luggage on the platform • Rehearsing the entire play in a New Town living 12 THE PLEASANCE AT 3O

‘Young Pleasance has endured because it is constantly re-fuelled by the brilliance of all the young people who get involved,’ says Kathryn. ‘And Young Pleasance alumni are everywhere.’ For the 15–20 year olds involved, Young Pleasance doesn’t just provide the huge creative buzz that comes from immersing yourself in Scotland’s capital during August – but a chance to work on a production that’s professional on every level. ‘They enjoy the benefits of working in

professional theatres with professional crews, on productions that are designed to be as professional as they possibly can be in their execution,’ says Tim. ‘And for a lot of our young performers and crew, it’s the first time they’ve had that opportunity.’ Auditions for the Young Pleasance Fringe show take place in February each year, during which the creative team plan to select 25 of the 100 or so young people who apply. Inevitably, the ranks swell (‘because we just can’t say no to them’) and around


room (with full orchestra) • Running through the Old Town for midnight street theatre • Having your false ID confiscated on your first night out

• Coping with deflating mattresses, and cooking for ten hungry teenagers – every night

• Spending the entire day in costume, makeup and preposterous facial hair

• Attending a company meeting at the crack of dawn when you haven’t been to bed

• Eating Loch Fyne oysters with Paul Merton in the Pleasance Courtyard

• Shows with double basses and saucepans, spades and spitfires, suitcases and éclairs, shipwrecks and suffragettes • A frantic get-in and the excitement of it taking




ages for the house to fill • Effecting ridiculous multiple costume changes in the dark with no space • Hearing the audience gasp as they realise just

THREE TO WATCH ◆ #MYWAY YOUNG PLEASANCE Dome, King Dome, 2–16 Aug, 14:10 (15:10) @YoungPleasance Our Sinatraobsessed teenager plunges into the twittersphere in pursuit of his digital darling. A swirling multimedia love story for now. ◆ GOVERNMENT INSPECTOR INCOGNITO THEATRE Courtyard, Pleasance Below, 2–25 Aug, 13.00 (14.00) @incognitotheatre A slick visual feast of unashamed satire and silliness in a reinvention of Gogol’s classic. First solo outing from the ex-Young Pleasance performers of Incognito Theatre. ◆ CIVIL ROGUES A YOUNG PLEASANCE PRODUCTION DEVELOPED AT THE RSC’S OTHER PLACE Courtyard, Pleasance Two, 2–25 Aug, 17.00 (18.00) @civilrogues England, 1649. The King has lost his head, the Queen has fled, the Globe has been demolished and all performances are banned. Featuring the Young Pleasance creative team.

how many are in the company ‘hiding’ in the haze in Pleasance Two

• Remaining unfazed when a mirror ball shatters inches from your face

• Substituting a bagel for a pork pie as you land in Dunkirk

• Building a bus in four minutes while singing and dancing with even time for a tea-break

• Wondering why Christopher Richardson is onstage with a fire extinguisher dousing pyrotechnics

• Hearing the audience begin a standing ovation when there are still five minutes of the show to go

• Getting a five-star review and seeing the best show you’ve ever seen in your life • Feeling as if you never want to be with anyone else, anywhere else in the world ever again THE PLEASANCE AT 3O 13




3 talented youngsters head north 35 to Edinburgh to share a flat, their lives and an unforgettable theatrical li eexperience. But it’s not for everyone. Anyone looking to be handed a complete script lo oon day one of rehearsals will be found wanting – so the Nortons have to seek w oout those with a desire, and skill, for ddevising. ‘We look for young people who are uup for exploring things, and don’t eexpect to be handed everything on a plate,’ says Tim. ‘So during the aauditions, we encourage them to bbe fearless, inventive and playful. Because nearly everything we do is B bbased on entirely new material, which is written or adapted and tailored for the company, so we need them to be brave about coming up with ideas.’ Over the past 19 years, Young Pleasance has built up a loyal Fringe audience, who return each year knowing a level of quality is assured. The company has just ten days to put the show together, but as Tim says, ‘it’s extraordinary how much you can achieve in that time, when people are happy to work extremely hard.’ ‘We have a reputation for creating shows with some of the highest production values on the Fringe,’ adds Kathryn, ‘and all this is achieved on a shoestring. That resourcefulness and drive has become part of the Young Pleasance DNA.’ Along with the chance to forge lasting friendships, see a multitude of shows, work with a great team and help shape their future (a high proportion of former Young Pleasance participants now work in the creative industries), the young people also get a rare chance to hone their skill. ‘With school productions, people are lucky if they get to do three or four performances,’ says Tim. ‘But by the process of going through it night after night, people transform. You see such an enormous development in confidence, and they really start to understand how to build their character, get that laugh or create a particular moment of magic.’


30TH BIRTHDAY COMMISSIONS How do you celebrate your 30th birthday, Pleasance style? With 6m of light-box collage, a courtyard animation, cartoon chaos, guest appearances and a 48-page book, of course! The team at the Pleasance has commissioned a number of special pieces to help bring everyone closer to the past 30 years. Here is what to expect

ANIMATING IDEAS The Pleasance is a platform for ideas, a philosophy encapsulated by stopframe animation in this eye-catching commission. Theo Davies, whose work has been seen across Edinburgh, used a silhouette of the Courtyard as the backdrop. ‘My films can be categorised by their focus on difficult and uncomfortable subject matter: human emotion presented to the viewer with great intensity,’ he says. Theo Davies Creator

THE LIST – 30 YEARS AT THE PLEASANCE You’re reading it now – the Pleasance has collaborated with The List to plot this unique guide to 30 years at the Pleasance. If you want to share the memories, you can download a digital version at



Previewed at the Pleasance’s birthday party on 6 June 2014, two light-box collages will feature hundreds of Pleasance pictures. Find them in the Dome during the Fringe and marvel at the mix of memories from the past 30 years. Joey Toller Artist & Photographer Will Jackson Factory Settings Ltd Construction

Paul Garner, the Pleasance’s resident cartoonist and sign maker, has plotted ‘30 years of evolution’ in a cartoon for the 30th year. It takes you from Christopher Richardson as a caveman to the ordination of Anthony Alderson, with the ‘Cambridge Foot-Knights’ and invasions from flyering squads along the way. See a full interview with Paul Garner on page 24. Paul Garner Cartoonist


PLEASANCE TV Watch out for guest interviews and spoof broadcasts as the Pleasance TV interviews the great, the good and ugly faces of the Pleasance past. A true comical broadcast of the past 30 years. Ryan Taylor Head of Comedy Ben Wilson Idiots of Ants

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For the past ďŹ ve years, the Pleasance has given a rising star of the photographic world an access-all-areas pass. Here are highlights from the annual Pleasance Picture Show exhibition









The List’s kids editor Kelly Apter celebrates the joys of the Pleasance’s Kidzone and talks to co-ordinator Candida Alderson about what makes it special


t was a sunny day in August 2012 when I first realised just how unique the Pleasance Courtyard is. Sitting in the Kidzone, with my then 10-year-old daughter, we ate lunch and discussed the funny, but poignant drama for older children we had just seen in Pleasance Two. Suddenly, a small flame appeared in front of us, lit by Paul Nathan, the man behind the I Hate Children Children’s Show. With a lightning-quick sleight of hand that baffled us for days afterwards, the burning light was replaced by a chewy sweet, which was duly eaten. A few feet away, in the main courtyard, the beer was already flowing. Adults waiting to see some daytime comedy or drama, discussing what to watch later that evening. Yet here in the Kidzone, a different kind of buzz was being generated. Spotting a friend standing in the nearby tent, I wandered over to speak to him. There on the floor, his 10-month old baby son was gurgling away happily, crawling alongside other tinies and toddlers. My friend’s 5-year-old daughter, it transpired, was seeing a show in Pleasance Above, accompanied by grandma – and it was then that it struck me. Quite literally, the whole family was being catered for. Since it first appeared in 2008, the Kidzone has given harried parents and carers that rare thing during the Fringe – a space where they don’t feel like they’re getting in the way. The welcoming signal the Kidzone sends out shows a clear understanding that for families, it’s the entire experience, not just the show, that matters. It was while she was trying to contain the noisy exuberance of her 4-year-old twin boys, and wheeling her young baby around, that Candida Alderson, Pleasance Kidzone coordinator, came up with the idea. ‘As a parent, you want to take your kids to see shows at the Fringe,’ she says, ‘but then you get there and there’s nowhere to put your pram or get something to eat, and it makes the whole thing very stressful.’ Starting with a tepee with arts and crafts materials, a few toys and some giant beanbags, the Kidzone has grown to include an igloo for theatre shows and four pod tents. Responsibility doesn’t stop there. When you’re spending hard-earned cash on theatre tickets, some indication of quality is a must. As

a reviewer of children’s theatre for over 15 years, I’ve sat through some truly awful Fringe productions. Some venues, however, have a reputation to protect – and finding yourself on the Pleasance bill isn’t a given. The programmers, quite rightly, know that one bad apple can taint the whole cart – standards have to be maintained, otherwise the entire venue is compromised. Over the years, I’ve laughed, cried, been appalled (in a good way – a lot of poo jokes make their way into children’s shows), educated and thoroughly entertained by the wide range of work for younger audiences on offer at the Pleasance. In this, its 30th year, the Pleasance kids programme is as diverse as ever. Big-name shows such as Dinosaur Zoo fresh from its West End success, Sid from CBeebies going on a heroic quest, and Potted Sherlock from the team that brought us Potted Potter will all attract the crowds. But look out too for what the Pleasance does so well – bring in thought-provoking shows by quality theatre companies such as Emily Brown and the Thing by Tall Stories and The Snow Dog by Full House. Or laugh as you learn during Decomposed!, a whirlwind and slightly bonkers tour of classical music from pre-history to present day, and join in the fun with New York singer and instrumentalist Amelia Robinson, whose superb Mil’s Trills show sees myriad musical guests drop by. Knowing what to buy tickets for can be a challenge, even with the guarantee of quality that comes with a Pleasance billing. Which is one of the other benefits of hanging around the Kidzone – it’s the best place to pick up word-of-mouth suggestions. ‘It’s such a big effort getting out there with your kids, and it can be expensive, so you really want to see something that’s been recommended,’ says Alderson. ‘And at the Kidzone, people see and hear other families coming out of shows and talking about what they’ve just seen – and parents talk to each other. What’s really lovely is that when I ask families why they visited the Pleasance, they say that they just knew if they came along, there would be something good for all of them to see.’

WHAT THE PLEASANCE MEANS TO US TALL STORIES PHYSICAL THEATRE Tall Stories first performed at the Edinburgh Fringe in 1997 – and since then we’ve been back every year bar one (including many happy years at C

Venues). For the last five years the Pleasance has been our home – and home is an appropriate word. With the Pleasance we feel we’ve found a venue that matches our ethos of friendliness and professionalism. From the bottle of wine given to every company on their opening

performance to the support from admin, marketing, front of house and tech teams – everything feels right. It’s also great to be part of such an extensive programme of family-friendly work each year – due in no small part to the fact that head honcho Anthony has young

kids himself, and that the family work is supported so strongly by his wife Candida. Here’s to many more years of the Pleasance – with Tall Stories along for the ride. Happy birthday to the Pleasance from Tall Stories – the wine is on us this year! THE PLEASANCE AT 3O 17




THE TALENT FACTORY The experience of working for the Pleasance can set you up for life, as three of its most illustrious alumni attest


very year the Pleasance assembles a team of 240 people to run 27 venues across two sites, meaning that an incredible number of people get the chance to work in a leading Fringe organisation. Alongside this is a much smaller team who work year round at the Pleasance, Islington. As you’d expect, the Pleasance focuses more on talent than track record and as a result has created hundreds of successful careers in the industry and outside.


I was studying for a masters in contemporary literature and decided to get some experience of reading scripts. So I started as an intern at the Pleasance in January 2008, working three days a week helping out with the programming. After four months, 18 THE PLEASANCE AT 3O

they said, ‘Well, we can’t let you go, but we realise you need to earn some money so we’ll try and find you some.’ I went through about four different jobs before becoming the theatre programmer a year and a half later. It felt quite a jump! Everyone is given an opportunity that is slightly out of their reach. You want it so badly that you make it

happen. You feel you’ve been given a job that you shouldn’t have got for a few years, so you work hard to cement their faith in you. It was a steep learning curve. My job was reading thousands of scripts and talking to companies about their next step in life, when I felt like I was going, ‘What’s my next step?’ Because you’ve been given an opportunity yourself by the Pleasance, you push around that good energy and tell the companies you will help them however you can. It’s like finishing school for theatre admin. Now I’m at the Arts Council, I’m putting my money where my mouth is. I used to listen to the same ideas and think, ‘How can I give you humble resources to make that happen?’ and now I’m saying, ‘If you can just say it in this way, we can unlock the funding from the government.’ I do a very similar job, but with money at the end of it rather than an Edinburgh ticket. I owe a lot to the Pleasance! 5 CLICKS AWAY FROM A TICKET | PLEASANCE.CO.UK



The Pleasance was a place with real soul. I was lucky enough to work there in the late 1980s/early 1990s –


there were only three performing spaces when I started: the main theatre, Pleasance One; Pleasance Two across the Courtyard; and the Cabaret Bar. By the time I left, I think there were a couple of attic rooms added where I can recall seeing those comedians who would soon become the power houses of comedy and light entertainment. My own special memory is working with an unknown Graham Norton – with some tea towels on his head as he played Mother Teresa of Calcutta – he was so late joining the Pleasance line-up he wasn’t even in the Fringe Programme . . . ah well. The rest is history. The Pleasance has always seemed like the heart of the Edinburgh Fringe and I know many performers felt the same. Happy 30th birthday!



ANDRES VELASQUEZ Technical Manager

HAMISH MORROW General Manager

YVONNE GODDARD Head of Finance

RYAN TAYLOR Head of Comedy

CHRISSY ANGUS Box Office Manager/ Programming Team

MATTHEW DWYER Theatre Programmer


I graduated in 1999 with a degree in sculpture, but what they didn’t teach me at university was how to make a living from it. A friend suggested I work in theatre, so I sent 200 letters, had 15 rejections and only one yes. That was from Christopher Richardson at the Pleasance. He said, ‘We have an empty workshop, come and run it.’ I was given the job title of master carpenter which, at 23 years old, felt a bit of a joke! To start with I did maintenance jobs around the Pleasance, which quickly led to work on various bits of set. During one of my years at the Fringe I met and worked with Lucien Mansell. It was a good fit, and we started working together. Inspired by Christopher’s entrepreneurial approach, we set up Factory Settings Ltd soon after. It’s been an incredible journey and,

three years ago, we bought our own workshop in Leyton, East London. Highlights have been building part of the set for the Olympic Closing Ceremony and most of the Paralympics Opening, alongside work with the Royal Opera House, National Theatre and the British Museum, to name a few. The Pleasance not only led to the start of my career, it’s also where I met my fiancée Claire Nightingale. Another Pleasance success story, Claire started on the Pleasance front of house, did two years there while she was at university, before moving on to programme comedy for two years. She’s now an agent to eight emerging comedians, and assists with comedy stars like Vic & Bob, Dame Edna, and Tim Minchin at PBJ Management. Without Christopher’s belief in young people and willingness to give so many people responsibility so early in their career, I would not be stood outside our own workshop today. Not only that, but Claire and I wouldn’t be welcoming him as a guest to our wedding in September. I wish the Pleasance a great 30th  birthday and look forward to popping two bottles of bubbly this year!

STUART HURFORD Marketing Manager

SAM SMITH Graphic Designer/ Deputy Box Office Manager

MATT BRITTEN Edinburgh Operations Manager

DAN SMILES Front of House Manager

DAN O’NEILL London Theatre Manager

LIZZIE HAWES Publications Coordinator

JOSEPHINE TREMELLING London Production Manager

JENNY HALSEY Admin & Finance Assistant

Front of House Manager Front of House Assistant Manager Box Office Operator Box Office Supervisor Runner & Exchequer Reception Reception Manager Press Officer Press Office Coordinator Street Team Street Team Manager Pleasance Times Editor Brooke’s Club Host Technical Crew Venue Manager



WHAT THE PLEASANCE MEANS TO US A view from audiences, actors and administrators

'I’ve been going to the Pleasance for over 20 years. Walking through the entrance from an Edinburgh street into a courtyard full of excited show-goers, performers and enthusiastic staff still gives me a buzz. It’s a place you can visit with friends or on your own and always have a fabulous time. I love talking to my neighbours in the (very well organised) audience queue or at the bar sharing recommendations which often leads to me going to a show I wouldn’t have picked myself. The excitement usually starts for me in late July with a text from my friend Gillian (below) telling me the familiar yellow signage is going up. We go to lots of shows together and always meet at the iconic Pleasance totem pole. I’m often asked for Fringe recommendations and always say go to the Pleasance – you don’t have to see a show to have a great Fringe experience there.’ JOANNE ROTHERFORD CORSTORPHINE, EDINBURGH

'It’s my absolute favourite Fringe venue. I ride past it to work daily on my scooter and get excited 20 THE PLEASANCE AT 3O

in August every year when I see those first bits of yellow appear. I immediately text my oldest friend Joanne (above) to let her know it’s started. By then, of course, we’ve already got most of our tickets. I try to make the Pleasance my first show and always like to make it my last. It’s amazing whether you’re seeing a show or just soaking up the atmosphere. It’s always great for star-spotting too: Joanne and I have an annual star-spot competition. Can’t wait for August!’

'The Pleasance is a brilliant one-stop shop for all your Fringe experiences – you can, literally, spend all day, from excellent children’s shows and activities in the morning through to a great late-night line-up of comedy and theatre. It’s the place to be and be seen!’ JOHN STALKER AND FAMILY LEITH, EDINBURGH

‘Having visited the Pleasance eight times over three years, we really enjoy the buzz there. The atmosphere really makes you feel part of the Fringe. Having a programme with both well-known and up-and-coming comedians, there is something for everyone. Even if you set out with no show in mind, you can meet friends and have a drink in the Courtyard and then decide which to see.’

’In the heart of the festival has always been the Pleasance, and specifically the Pleasance Courtyard. My month would not be complete without visiting there. As soon as I walk under the arches, I immediately feel as if I am part of the Pleasance family rather than a visiting customer. The relaxed atmosphere with the buzz of the Fringe makes for the perfect place to discover new shows, meet friendly and strange people alike and find myself standing next to some of my favourite comedians. It has led to many of my most memorable moments in the Fringe.’






Stuart Moncrieff, Joanne Rotherford and Gillian Hunt

'The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is a wonderful, ebullient and dynamic beast. A home for experimentation, for nurturing artists and for discovering new talent. Over the last 30 years, the Pleasance has been a truly significant part of the Fringe landscape, and been at the forefront of driving and extolling our founding principles. From pioneering the drive to the southside of the city, to giving us the first glimpse of talent that would go on to be household names, the Pleasance has provided us all with many iconic moments and memories. From Christopher Richardson’s hats and dogs to Anthony Alderson’s philosophical musings on launch day, the Pleasance will always be something we can remember, admire and love. Here’s to the next 30 years.’ KATH MAINLAND CHIEF EXECUTIVE, EDINBURGH FESTIVAL FRINGE SOCIETY

Miriam Margolyes

'The Pleasance is not just a venue; it has a philosophy of passionate support for the artists it presents. There is an army of staff who take care of us, the technical and marketing arm of the organisation are disciplined and endlessly helpful. I loved being part of the engine and was thrilled to see the variety and skills of my colleagues – many young, experimental groups of performers, solo acts of comedy and magic and fierce drama. I was born again at the Pleasance, can’t wait to return.’ MIRIAM MARGOLYES ACTOR, DICKENS’ WOMEN, 2012 THE PLEASANCE AT 3O 21


ROOM SERVICE Matt Britten, technical operations manager, gives an insight into what it takes to bring the Pleasance Courtyard and Dome to life

TAPE IT UP With cables, wires, set and seating, a technician’s best friend is tape (gaffer, electrical, Scotch). The Pleasance uses the equivalent length of a half marathon to keep everything taped down.

PLUG IT IN To keep the Pleasance connected takes 25km of cable – that’s the equivalent of running between the Courtyard and Arthur’s Seat back and forth ten times.

SIT DOWN There are 3,298 seats to keep your bums cosy. This means on an average day, the Pleasance could host up to 69,258 guests. That’s nearly the population of Inverness.

SWITCH OFF! Staying green while keeping every venue illuminated is a challenge. Over the last decade, although the Pleasance has doubled in size, it has reduced electricity consumption by 25%.

MAKING IT HAPPEN Pulling the strings and making sure every show runs smoothly are a team of 240 people, as many as half of whom are learning new skills. That’s not to mention the 200 staff that EUSA employs to run the bars, the cafes and to keep the place tidy.




QUEUES The Pleasance front of house team knows a thing about getting people in and out of a venue in time. This year there will be 5,625 queues to manage over the festival.

CREATING STAGES From the Queen Dome to the Cellar Door, the Pleasance has created an impressive 27 venues. They range from 50-odd seaters to the 750 seats of the Grand.

THE BUILD Creating the temporary world that is the Pleasance is no mean feat. It takes 18 days in total to create this incredible theatrical experience and just 72 hours to pack it all away.


The Pleasance installs a temporary network of over 70 computers during the Fringe. And if you include venue technical equipment, lighting and sound desks, this increases to at least 110.

NO MEAN FEAT Needless to say, this isn’t achieved easily. It takes 12 months in planning and three months to pack it up completely, not to mention running the Pleasance in London for the rest of the year.



‘I began with the Pleasance over 16 years ago as crew in a venue called the Cavern. After that I became a venue manager followed by head of lighting before my current position. I have continued to return to the Pleasance because of my respect for the company, what it achieves and strives to achieve. The festival is a fun project that at times can be demanding but is always rewarding.’



Cartoonist Paul Garner tells Mark Fisher about making light work of the Pleasance’s public image


t tells you something about the he Pleasance that it’s the only Fringe ge venue with a resident cartoonist. If you’ve spent any time there, you’ll ll be familiar with his work. He’s the onee responsible for the yellow totem pole inn the Pleasance Courtyard that directs youu to the various venues; it’s his cartoonn that frames the 30th-birthday programmee index in the brochure; and, until recently,, it was his celebrity caricatures that linedd the walls of the Pleasance Dome. His name is Paul Garner and, if thee Pleasance was run by marketing geeks,, they’d say he’d forged the company’s brand identity. In truth, he just likes a laugh. ‘It’s a more fun image than any of the other venues,’ he says. ‘The Pleasance hasn’t h ’t been ashamed to be garish, colourful and circus-y.’ The relationship developed thanks to his double-life as a performer. As one half of the Brighton-based theatre-andcomedy collective Gawkagogo, he played at the venue in the late 90s and his posters caught the management’s eye. ‘It 24 THE PLEASANCE AT 3O

h happened by accident,’ he says. ‘We got to kknow the staff and were asked to do various bbits and bobs around the site.’ The totem pole was a starting point for much of what followed. ‘Back in the days m before there was a Pleasance Dome, when b the th Courtyard was the centre of the universe, it seemed natural that there should be a focal ppoint in the middle,’ he says. ‘That kind of wacky style was employed there and it just w spread out, like tendrils, around the rest of sp the complex.’ th This year, he is branching out with a boardgame version of the 30th birthday cartoon ga which will be installed on the table tops wh across the Pleasance venues. He’s designed ac it so beer glasses can be used as counters. ‘It’s a journey round the board, like Snakes ‘It and Ladders, through the history of the Pleasance with little gags along the way. I’ve never been po-faced as an artist. I’ve always tried to keep it light.’ 5 CLICKS AWAY FROM A TICKET | PLEASANCE.CO.UK



IN THE PLEASANCE WE TRUST In 1995, the Pleasance Theatre Trust was established as a registered charity in England, Wales and Scotland with the aim of continuing to create a powerful platform for Fringe theatre. The change came in the same year that the Pleasance opened its London venue and launched the Young Pleasance. Unlike many cultural charities across the UK, the Pleasance has never received regular public subsidy. All revenue generated from ticket sales is reinvested back into future festivals and the London development programme



ounded with a practitioner focus, the Pleasance Theatre Trust identified areas where early but modest assistance in cash or in kind could nurture the development of performing companies and individuals. With no set grant programmes and simple criteria, our aim is to bring the public emerging talent and to support second projects – the crucial period for a new company or performer – and to explore the interaction between live performance and digital platforms. The Trust deploys 30 years of expertise and consolidated facilities, allowing it to mix seed funding from the Charlie Hartill Fund, use of facilities in our Islington base and mentoring. Our development activity grew from the formation in 1995 of the Young Pleasance for young people locally and nationally to present high-standard professional theatre in London, Edinburgh and internationally – which they have done to great acclaim. The development momentum is sustained within a year-round and, to date, self-financing programme of public performance in London, on tour and as the major producer of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, where the Pleasance is a vibrant, inclusive and often irreverent assemblage of 23 venues offering the public a programme blending traditional practice, comedy, work for young children and new trends in performance.

A NOTE FROM THE CHAIRMAN The Pleasance is unique. To many Edinburg h Fringe-goers it is the Fringe. For thousands of people now aged anything up to 50, it is where they began their real imm ersion into theatre performance, stand-up, stage managem ent, lighting, box office, programming, being embarrasse d by a Man in a Panama Hat into picking up litter, etc, etc. Whether or not they take up a profess ional career in the business, the experience gained by being a part of such an enormous team for up to a month or mor e is something that is never lost - and, for the vast majorit y, something they would never wish to lose. I remember a few years ago when Christopher Richardson and I were hav ing a drink together in the Courtyard, a man, then I think in his 20s, came up to us and said, I just wanted to thank you bot h - you, Christopher, for enabling me to put on my own show here this year and you, Jeremy, for bringing me in your cas t of A Day at the Sea-Side when I was 10 years old.’ It was a very special moment which highlighted everything whi ch we believe the Pleasance to be about.

Jeremy Lucas

Pleasance Chairman






Fundraising for good causes puts the Pleasance at the heart of Edinburgh life



A lesser known fact about the Pleasance are the partnerships that make the experience happen year on year. Without the longstanding cooperation from the University of Edinburgh and Edinburgh University Students’ Association (EUSA) the Pleasance Edinburgh wouldn’t be able to happen. The Pleasance has also supported Waverley Care, Scotland’s leading HIV and Hepatitis C charity, through comedy fundraisers, events at Downing Street and the Tartan Ribbon campaigns. These relationships are testament to the power of charities working together to raise vital funds for various purposes – it’s unique that such deep relationships have lasted for 30 years. Long may they continue. From humble beginnings in the Pleasance Courtyard, to the hugely expanded and successful operation we now see every summer, the University of Edinburgh and the Pleasance Theatre Trust have shared a wonderfully fruitful partnership over the last 30 years. The buzz and excitement surrounding Pleasance venues each summer bring new energy to the university and provide a fantastic showcase for the university buildings, along with outstanding entertainment to tens of thousands of visitors. In helping to run the Pleasance venues, many of our students gain invaluable front and back of house experience, as well as an important source of employment over the summer. The inspirational work of this charity in giving young people the opportunity to perform has produced some great talent in the past and I know will continue to do so. The university truly values its alliance with the Pleasance Theatre Trust, and looks forward to another 30 years of fantastic entertainment and collaboration.

We have been working in partnership with the Pleasance from the very start, providing all of the food and beverage outlets for the performance venues. The Pleasance’s programme has expanded over the decades and our operations have grown with them, meaning we are now in the position to employ hundreds of student staff every summer to run our festival services. It is a fantastic opportunity for them to develop skills and work at the heart of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The income generated each August plays a significant role in helping us to support and develop EUSA’s charitable initiatives and activities. The partnership with Pleasance has been an invaluable one. We have had 30 fantastic years and are looking forward to 30 more!


The relationship between Waverley Care and the Pleasance is one to be celebrated – for its uniqueness and its longevity. Through bucket shaking and the wonderful Tartan Ribbon Comedy Benefit, we have raised over £300,000 over the last 22 years and have worked with the Pleasance to challenge the stigma associated with HIV and Hepatitis C. A big thank you to everyone at the Pleasance for making us part of your family and for helping us to make a profound and lasting difference to the lives of many people in our Festival city. Happy 30th birthday to a very special group of people!





THE FAMILY WAY Pleasance director Anthony Alderson tells Mark Fisher about a popular misconception and why he couldn’t resist moving home to Edinburgh


t’s an easy mistake to make. Anthony Alderson got his first job at the Pleasance in 1987 when he was 16, helping out wherever he was needed. He swept the courtyard, w bbuilt the seats, worked on an awning aabove the bar that somehow never ggot finished and took turns in the box ooffice. On one occasion, he found hhimself operating the lights on two shows at the same time. He’d do a cue sh in one, race across the courtyard, do a cue in the other, then race back again. cu People forget there was his stage management degree at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the eight years he went travelling and working for touring theatre companies. They forget he made documentary films, did a stint with Cheek By Jowl, worked as an agent for Ennio Marchetto and helped get Stomp into the West End. He seems so firmly in with the bricks at the Pleasance, especially since becoming director in 2005, it’s natural to assume he’s been there for ever. So as we sit in his back garden in Portobello, where he has lived since 2013 with his wife Candida, their three children and two dogs, he tells me he hears the same erroneous question all the time. ‘There is this assumption that it’s a family business and I’ve just inherited it from my dad,’ he laughs. ‘So I get constantly asked, “How’s your dad?”’ 28 THE PLEASANCE AT 3O

So let’s be clear: Christopher Richardson, the founder of the Pleasance, is not Anthony Alderson’s dad, although they have known each other since the latter was a 13-year-old pupil at Uppingham School and the former was a teacher. That’s why, living in Edinburgh, the teenage Alderson was in pole position to get involved in Richardson’s two-year-old venture. ‘Christopher has been a bit like a dad,’ he admits. ‘He’s one of those mentor figures who has a profound effect on the way you are. He was arty, nothing was impossible and everything was done with a great humour. That’s hugely important to what we do.’ Another reason Alderson seems so at home at the Pleasance is that he’s naturally cut out for the festival way of life. His previous job working on a long-running West End show just didn’t interest him. ‘I realised I’m one of those people who love the process of getting the show on, but I was hopeless once it was open. I wanted the next thing to do. The festival environment is perfect because it only exists for a short amount of time, then you’ve got to move on.’ And, of course, the festival takes place in the city where he was brought up. He moved back after 25 years of living in London when the quality of life it offered his children became too great to resist. ‘I think people in Edinburgh don’t see how lucky they are,’ he says. ‘This is one of the most remarkable cities in the world. There are very few places like it. That sense of belonging, the sense of having something that is your home is important to me and it’s important that my children have that same sense.’ 5 CLICKS AWAY FROM A TICKET | PLEASANCE.CO.UK


Escalator East to Edinburgh gives artists from East Anglia the opportunity to present work at the Edinburgh Fringe. Simple really. Only it’s not. Because the Edinburgh Festival Fringe is a jungle and simply letting young companies loose into the bear pit is no way to support them. We look to work with partners who understand risk, who offer integrity, trust and understanding. In the Pleasance we have found a home and partner for so many of our artists over the years. A partner who remains constant, a friend we can trust, who will respond to our challenges with imagination and enthusiasm, who takes the issue of access for deaf and disabled artists and audiences as seriously as we do and whose culture is wedded to the simple notion of peace, love and understanding. Here’s to the next 30 years.

support us from the very beginning. Our ongoing relationship has given us the excitement and enthusiasm to continually return to the festival, building audiences together. Presenting our work in Pleasance Two has led to many defining moments in the company’s history. I can’t overestimate the fantastic impact presenting shows at the Pleasance has had on Hoipolloi. Thank you Mr Pleasance! JAMES SEABRIGHT SEABRIGHT PRODUCTIONS

I still remember my first foray into the courtyard in 1999, when as a student putting on my first Pleasance show, I approached Christopher Richardson with the ill-advised greeting of ‘Are you Chris?’ It took a few years for him to forgive me for this abbreviation and to start programming my shows again. By that time I was getting my teeth into putting on shows professionally. Christopher, and Anthony Alderson after him, have always been huge supporters of the full range of


shows that I’ve brought their way – by which I mean there have been terrible ones as well as good ones. But they embrace them all in that wonderful ‘spirit of the Fringe’ way. DAVID MITCHELL ACTOR, COMEDIAN AND WRITER

A lot of theatres talk about encouraging new work and new talent but the Pleasance really does it. It was the only place where Robert Webb and my ridiculous attempts to amuse people were welcomed. DAVID SEIDLER WRITER OF THE KING’S SPEECH

I had the first reading of my then littleknown play The King’s Speech at the Pleasance. It was from this reading that the film was born. The Pleasance provides a phenomenal opportunity for all people, both on and off the stage. It needs to raise money to continue its important work.


Not many venues in Edinburgh could house a Gecko show. Not many would have the time and patience to put on something so big. But at the Pleasance, there’s a real willingness to make it happen. They want Gecko on in the building. It seems to permeate through all of the staff. When you turn up, everyone’s excited about the art. They want to see it, they want to hang out with you, they want to meet up, they want to make it better. You can only do that by meeting people who care. At the Pleasance, it’s not a money thing, it’s a cultural adventure. We’re talking now about our next show going in 2015 and it feels absolutely right to keep that relationship.

Institute by Gecko - coming in 2015 (hopefully!)


Hoipolloi has been making new work for 20 years. We are very fond of the Pleasance because it took the risk to




Audiences love to see new shows and, say the theatremakers, it’s the Pleasance that makes it possible




Pleasance Edinburgh opened with two theatres facing onto a deserted courtyard-cum-car park at an unfashionable eastern end of Edinburgh’s Old Town.

A fresh-faced young man named Anthony Alderson joined the Pleasance as part of the team. Who’d have known he’d go on to become director in 2005?


Since opening its doors in the mid-80s with only ten shows, the Pleasance has become one of the most famous festival venues in the world. It stands at the heart of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and now spans 27 venues across two sites. Here are some of the milestones




In memory of Charlie Hartill, the Pleasance created a fund to support artists wishing to perform at the Fringe. The first productions were presented in 2005.

Created by Candida Alderson, the Kidszone is now a staple of the Pleasance, making it the only venue in Edinburgh with a dedicated children’s area.


1995 A major gear change for the Pleasance, becoming a charity, opening a yearround home in Islington, London and launching the Young Pleasance.



First Pleasance website launched. It’s had many innovations since, now offering audiences five clicks to buy a ticket.

Further expansion when the Dome on Bristo Square opened. With a circumference of 78.5m, the Dome has become a much-loved venue day and night



Launch of Pleasance Podcasts, offering a global audience a taste of the festival’s best shows, interviews and banter from the cobblestone streets.

The 30th birthday is more than a date in history – it’s a celebration for everyone from audience to crew, performer to supporter. Let’s make it one to remember.



1992 The first year a computerised box-office system lasted a whole Festival and the start of many more revisions.





Pleasance director Anthony Alderson explains his plan to export the ethos of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe to small-scale theatres across the UK


hen the Pleasance became a charity in 1995, the organisation embraced the artist-centred values of the Edinburgh Fringe. Now the decisions we made weren’t about money or trying to make a profit, but about the companies we worked with. All our focus could be on their artistic development and the shows they wanted to put on. Having opened the Pleasance in London with a 21-year lease on a 300-seat theatre, we adopted the model established on the Edinburgh Fringe, where multi-venue theatres create a self-supporting eco-system. We turned our office into a 50seat studio and some years later, when the recording studio next door became available, we gave ourselves a proper office and developed three rehearsal rooms. All this means there is a constant flow of creative people through our London building. It is a place where anyone can walk in with an idea and be taken seriously. That’s what happened to Tim Minchin, who came in looking for a studio where he could write a musical. That musical turned out to be Matilda which has been playing to sold-out audiences for over three years with no sign of stopping any time soon. Likewise, we gave space to David Seidler to work on the play that turned out to be The King’s Speech. Those things were helped along their way because we said, ‘Yes, of course you can have a room.’ That’s why the next ambition for the Pleasance is not only to provide a platform for artists, but also to support the creation and sustainability of their work. In particular, we want them to have a properly supported journey into and out of the Edinburgh Fringe. At the moment, the first stage of that journey is reasonably apparent. As long as they are organised and can raise the money, they can follow an established route to get their show as far as Edinburgh. For some companies, that’s as much as they want, but there are many who see the Fringe as a launchpad for their careers. That can be confusing because, having had a successful run, there’s nothing obvious about what they should do next. If they’re lucky, they may be invited to play at a mediumscale regional theatre, but there is no guarantee of that. As a

result, a lot of very good work gets to Edinburgh and goes no further. That’s a real tragedy. What is missing – and what the Pleasance is trying to make happen – is a network that would bring together pub theatres, studio spaces and church halls across the UK. These places are already showcasing a lot of the most exciting work, but they are disconnected from each other. We want to join them up and we want to use the example of the Edinburgh Fringe to help us do it. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society was set up with two core functions: to publish a brochure that listed every show and to provide a central box office. Those are the two principles of our trade: you advertise it, then you sell it. More recently, the Edinburgh Fringe has been transformed by digital ticketing and the ability to link as many as 30 box offices together. It means you can buy a ticket from anywhere in the world for an event in this city. Even for a large company, that’s an amazing opportunity. For a small company, it is unprecedented. Our plan is to do the same thing over a UK-wide network. Applying the idea to smaller venues outside of Edinburgh would bring them a new visibility. Collectively, their voice would be heard much louder. Unlike a commercial ticketing agency, which effectively removes money from the theatre economy, this would be a not-for-profit system that kept the money in circulation so the artists would benefit. The Fringe is an untapped reserve and such a network could transform the whole industry. For theatre companies, it would mean the route in and out of Edinburgh became more apparent. Advances in technology mean that even from a mobile phone, they could start plotting a tour around this fringe network. There’s a real need for this. Companies want to feel part of something bigger instead of being out there on their own. The effects on the Edinburgh Fringe, meanwhile, would only be beneficial. It would secure the festival’s place at the centre of a sustainable network while maintaining its pivotal role in bringing communities together in the world’s most amazing celebration of the arts. THE PLEASANCE AT 3O 33




LONDON CALLING A real home from home, the Pleasance’s base in Islington is the organisation’s second cultural crucible


hile Edinburgh is the original home of the Pleasance, its year-round base is in Islington which has rapidly become a vital part of the Fringe in central London. Housed in the former timberyard of a Victorian factory, it has a cobbled front yard that recalls the atmosphere of the Scottish capital. Initially comprising two theatre spaces, it has expanded into a development hub for writers, directors, producers and performers, offering production offices, rehearsal rooms and workshop space. Russell Brand and Simon Amstel shared a stage here for six months while writing their first stand-up show and, in 2009, Tim Minchin came here to write Matilda.

COURTYARD As you turn into the cobbled courtyard before walking up to the Pleasance Islington, it feels like a slice of Edinburgh. Old machinery hangs overhead, as audiences bustle between the bar and the courtyard.

MAIN HOUSE One of the benefits of the permanent theatre space in Islington is that all 280 seats are comfy and cushioned. A larger flexible space, the Mainhouse, is capable of housing a huge variety of shows, from interactive promenade theatre to cabaret.


HERE’S A WALK AROUND THE PLEASANCE ISLINGTON BOX OFFICE The face of the Pleasance is open year round, seven days a week. Thanks to box office manager Chrissy Angus, you get the same warm welcome in London as you do in Edinburgh.

BAR In Islington, the Pleasance runs its own bar with a long foyer offering a great place to hang out during the day or before catching a show. The foyer exhibits a substantial collection of photos from the Pleasance-commissioned Edinburgh Picture Show. 34 THE PLEASANCE AT 3O

The 54-seat Stagespace was created for companies and performers, both old and new, to showcase and test out new work. A perfect space for smaller scale, more intimate shows.

BOILER ROOM The Pleasance’s main rehearsal space is a perfectly designed environment for those who are in the process of rehearsing or developing new work.

WHITE ROOM A rehearsal space filled with natural light, the White Room is regularly used by smaller companies and acts wishing to find that perfect place to develop their work. 5 CLICKS AWAY FROM A TICKET | PLEASANCE.CO.UK


FAX & FIGURES The Pleasance is not just good at taking a risk on a new production, it has also introduced audiences to innovative technology from day one. Here are the top ten ideas that paid off

COMPUTER DRIVEN (1985) Christopher Richardson bought an original 128k Apple Mac in 1985 and produced the first programme on it and the Pleasance Times, a quirky guide that still exists in print and online. The first Pleasance logo was created because that was the only font available.

FAX MACHINE (1991) A fax machine might not feel like an innovation today, but back in 1991 it caused a Pleasance revolution – the staff were amazed at being able to send drawings from London to Edinburgh.

FILEMAKER DATABASE (1992) A database was developed to make sure staff could keep records and send letters by fax. It was eventually linked to the ticketing software so the organisation could issue multiple contracts and settlements quickly. The Pleasance still uses a version of this system today.

COMPUTERISED TICKETING (1992–2008) Quick off the mark, the Pleasance was keen to explore computerised ticketing, although it was far from plain sailing. It took many attempts to get right.

PLEASANCE WEBSITE (1999) Keen to make sure audiences have the best access to everything they want to know about the shows, the Pleasance has been investing in web content for years.

COURTYARD WIFI (2005) Before many of us had wifi in our homes, the Pleasance was ahead of the game, offering free access to everyone across the courtyard. ONLINE TICKETING SYSTEM (2003) A vital moment in the Pleasance’s history was the arrival of online ticketing, allowing live sales across both venues and the Fringe Office. In 2007, the Pleasance was the first venue to use Red 61’s VIA, adopted by the Fringe in 2008 and still used to this day across most Fringe venues.

TWITTER (2009) The first tweet was: ‘@ThePleasance is going to see a comedy show’ sent at 7:51pm, 3 February 2009. It now has 18,200 followers tweeting each other their favourite moments. PODCASTS (2011) 300,000 downloads, 193,000 followers on SoundCloud, 21 broadcasts and 67 hours of unique content. The Pleasance podcasts peaked at number five in the iTunes Comedy Chart in 2011. The success of the podcasts led to Pleasance TV giving viewers an insider’s look at the Pleasance lineup.

MOBILE WEBSITE (2014) This year the Pleasance has launched a mobile website offering audiences the chance to browse every show and book a ticket within five clicks. Meanwhile, fibre optic broadband has been installed in the Courtyard.



GET WITH THE PROGRAMME Never mind the rest of the Fringe, the Pleasance lineup would make a sizeable festival on its own. So what do the programmers do to keep the quality so high?


C Could you describe your c career at the Pleasance?

A After starting my life at the Pleasance P in 1999, I’m now e embarking on my 16th Fringe at the Pleasance, tenth being in charge of the comedy. In my first year I worked in Above as crew. In that venue was Dave Gorman, Simon Munnery and the Mighty Boosh. They opened my eyes to the Fringe and comedy. I knew that I would never spend a summer anywhere else again.

Is there a secret science to knowing whether a show will be a success?

Yes but I’m not telling you, I want to keep this job. What I would say is my knowledge of the venues, the festival and shows helps in programming. Also, always seeing stuff and talking to people. A lot of the time you need to go and find the best shows, they don’t just turn up. With so many venues and booking slots, how do you decide what to put on where? 

Sounds silly but when you see the show you just kind of know. When watching the shows I go through all the Pleasance venues and think ‘where would this work best?’ Some of our spaces are brilliant for stand-up and another can house a more theatrical show. Comedy nowadays is so much more than one microphone; people are now using set, props and all kinds of new technology.

How would you describe the style of programming?

I love taking risks, finding the next big thing and helping it grow, and making sure there is something for everyone. I’m also partial to a bit of sketch comedy – not to mention Cardinal Burns and Idiots of Ants.

What is the most inspiring part of your role?

Getting to work with acts from the start of their journey into comedy and seeing where they end up. Also that people care what I think – it’s very humbling.

What are you looking for when assessing whether to programme a show / performer?

1) Funny. 2) Original. 3) Good teeth. 4) Is there going to be someone to watch them? 5) You just know when you see someone. What are the biggest challenges of programming at the Pleasance?

Not having enough venues. I know people think we have a lot, but I could fill another six 50-seater venues with more brilliant stuff. The early deadline is now a huge challenge. We start so early now making decisions that you can see something brilliant in April, but all the slots have gone and you can’t have the show. Finally, the late nights, but I guess it comes with the territory. 36 THE PLEASANCE AT 3O


Could you describe your career at the Pleasance?

I started off as an intern fresh oout of university, initially just ddown in London and ended uup working the festival in the production department th and really fell in love with an the festival and the whole th Pleasance family. I’ve been Pl working at the Pleasance ever w 5 CLICKS AWAY FROM A TICKET | PLEASANCE.CO.UK

The Mighty Boosh, Dave Gorman & Cardinal Burns


since, pretty much in every capacity in some form or other, so I’ve really learned about how it all works from the inside out. What are you looking for when assessing whether to programme a show / performer?

Something in the piece that makes it stand out as unique, interesting or bold – but it’s mostly about the quality of the work and whether I think it represents the best of what someone working in that field can achieve. I try not to prescribe what should and shouldn’t be at the festival.

Is there a secret science to knowing whether a show will be a success?

It’s a bit more of an alchemy than a science. Applications come in at different stages – some people have been touring the show for years or it’s just an idea that’s been rattling round someone’s head. You look at the idea and who’s involved and try to hazard a guess as to how it will come out, but ultimately you can never know. That’s one of the great joys of the festival – you open the gates and anything could happen. What is the most inspiring part of your role?

How do you measure the success of a show?

I think the best measure of the success of a show is the company itself. Some people are looking for a springboard for a tour, some to raise the profile of the company and some just simply want an opportunity to develop their craft. The reasons for bringing a show to the festival are so varied and if they achieve what they’re looking for, and we’ve helped to make that happen for them, then I consider that a success.

Seeing a company succeed. You develop a really close relationship with the companies and you share the highs and lows of the festival with them – you feel like you’re with them every step of the way. There’s a lot of emails, spreadsheets and long nights of proofing copy to get through, but when you see a show really take off and knowing there’s no other place where this could happen is really the best bit. THE PLEASANCE AT 3O 37



Mildred and the Midnight City


LISTINGS Enjoy the Pleasance’s 30th birthday line-up 140 characters at a time. Keep up to date on Twitter @ThePleasance

11:45, Courtyard, Pleasance Below @HookHitch A family-friendly puppetry adventure that follows Mildred as she is thrust into the heart of a musical Arctic adventure. COMEDY

Shaun Keaveny: Live And Languorous 11:50, Courtyard, Cabaret Bar You want stand-up satire and sassy chat show moves from the nation’s most beloved radio presenter? (sic) Pop along to Shaun Keaveny.



Musical Mornings with Mil’s Trills

Pleasance Opening Gala

10:30 & 11:30, Courtyard, The Green @milstrills Start your day with an interactive musical adventure! Amelia Robinson returns to the Kidzone, playing songs for the whole family to enjoy.

11:00, Courtyard, The Grand @ThePleasance Join us for a very special sneak peek at some of the exciting shows in our 2014 programme and help us kick start our 30th anniversary.



The Big Bite-Size Breakfast Show

Decomposed! My Brother’s Turning into a Zombie

10:30, Dome, Queen Dome @bitesizeplays Three menus of NEW + funny, charming, stimulating ten-minute international plays + coffee + croissant + strawberries!

11:15, Courtyard, Pleasance Above @rolyandtim Can Will save his uncouth game-playing brother Igor from turning into a zombie - armed only with a conductor’s baton?



Dinosaur Zoo

Sid’s Show

11:00, Courtyard, The Grand @DinoZooLive Experience prehistoric creatures as you’ve never seen them before, up close and personal! From cute baby dinos to teeth-gnashing giants.

11:30, Courtyard, Pleasance Beyond @sidsloane Join Sid from CBeebies live in a fantastic fun-filled interactive adventure that will knock your socks off.

12:00, Pop-Up: The Pub, Jinglin’ Geordie @NotTooTame An immersive theatrical experience in a real pub. Join the regulars for love, loss, laughter and a pub quiz. Take a seat and get a loada this.


merry christmas, Ms Meadows 11:50, Dome, Queen Dome @BFreeTheatre Internationally acclaimed Belarus Free Theatre present a world premiere, challenging roles of identity, gender and sexuality in the world today. THEATRE

Early Doors




Pleasance Bytes

The Curing Room

Blofeld & Baxter: The Inaugural Edinburgh Cricket Match

11:30, Courtyard, Cabaret Bar @ThePleasance In a series of free interviews, leading journalist Mark Fisher gets inside the heads of the festival’s finest.

12:00, Dome, King Dome @TheCuringRoomUK 1944. Soviet soldiers are abandoned in the cellar of a monastery by their Nazi captors. To survive the men resort to murder and cannibalism.

11:00, Pop-Up: The Meadows @blowersh @PBackersPeter Prepare for an epic showdown as the pick of the festival performers go head to head against industry professionals. THEATRE

ROOM 11:00–15:30, Pop-Up: The Shed @welcometoroom A 20-minute experience for one audience member; part radio play, part interactive storytelling. A place where anything can happen.




11:40, Dome, 10Dome @Noprophettheatre What makes us happy in 2014? How is it even possible? No jobs, no cash, no hope. No Prophet Theatre look at our continual quest for humanity.

The Hemline Index 12:00, Courtyard, The Cellar @PortmanteauLDN Two twentysomething women in their defining decade. 1984: second-wave feminism, miniskirts. 2014? Fourth-wave, underemployment, the mid-length.


Bits & Box


The Snow Dog

11:45, Courtyard, Beside @AndOnTheatre Amidst playful immaturity, laugh your way through an energetic glimpse of two guys with far too much spare time.

The Cat in the Hat

11:00, Courtyard, Pleasance Two @FullHouseTheaCo A playful and uplifting exploration of love and loss for families which fuses music, dance, puppetry and a real husky.


12:05 & 13:05, Courtyard, Pleasance One @CatintheHat_UK An engaging first theatre experience for children aged 3+. The Cat turns a rainy afternoon into an amazing adventure.

Big Red Bath

Aaaand Now For Something Completely Improvised


11:00, Courtyard, Pleasance Two @FullHouseTheaCo Children’s theatre innovators Full House are on a barmy bathtime adventure in a new and vibrant adaptation of the popular children’s book.

11:45, Courtyard, Upstairs @Racing_Minds The 2013 sell-out returns. An improvised comic adventure based on audience suggestions, unique every day!



The Hive 12:10, Dome, Jack Dome @humanzootheatre In a world reliant on technology, is it possible to reconnect? Puppetry, poetry and powerful ensemble. 5 CLICKS AWAY FROM A TICKET | PLEASANCE.CO.UK

@turlygod Harold Pinter’s bucolic psycho-drama. Starring Thom Tuck, Catriona Knox and Simon Munnery. KIDS

The Tale of the Dastardly Defrost


Goodbye Gunther 12:50, Dome, 10Dome @FrankWurzinger Goodbye Gunther faces death head-on in a delightfully human mix of physical comedy, pathos, tragedy and joy. THEATRE

Sochi 2014 12:50, Courtyard, Bunker One @Sochi2014Edi Sochi 2014 explores the homophobia surrounding this year’s Olympics. Dubbed London’s first rapidresponse theatre production. THEATRE

Beowulf: The Blockbuster 12:50, Courtyard, Beside A father’s final chance to connect with his son. A cinematic journey brought to life in this one-man stage phenomenon. THEATRE THEATRE

Dylan Thomas Return Journey Bob Kingdom, Original Direction by Anthony Hopkins 12:15, Courtyard, Beneath A flagship performance for the Dylan Thomas 2014 centenary celebrations. The revisited legendary hit production returns to the Fringe.

premiering with Radio 4 poets Matt Harvey and Kate Fox, and then Julie Mullen. THEATRE

The Art of Falling Apart 12:20, Courtyard, Pleasance Two Callum realises modern life is rubbish, and walks out to discover who knows what. Big Wow back with a new ferociously paced magical piece.


The 3rd Sector


12:15, Courtyard, Bunker Two @the3rdsectoruk A darkly comic satire that stares into the cold heart of corporate charity and the ethics of giving. Inspired by real life experiences.

I Hate Children Children’s Show 12:35, Courtyard, Pleasance Above @IHATECHILDREN The meanest man is back with more kinder-kicking fun. Your children are the stars as everyone over the age of 8 gets to help perform magic.




12:20, Courtyard, Forth @playchaplin A touching story about the man behind the famous little tramp, who put it all on the line for the sake of his belief in love, art and freedom.

. . . and This is My Friend Mr Laurel


12:40, Courtyard, The Attic @JeffHolland07 Jeffrey Holland stars in this one-man show about friendship, memories and two remarkable lives. A play about the life of comedian Stan Laurel.

The Word Café 12:20 & 14:05, Dome, Queen Dome and Courtyard Bunker One @WordCafePoetry The Word Café


A Slight Ache 12:45, Courtyard, Pleasance That

Government Inspector 13:00, Courtyard, Below @incognitotheatre A slick visual feast of unashamed satire and silliness in a reinvention of Gogol’s classic. THEATRE

Dr Longitude’s Marvellous Imaginary Menagerie 13:00, Courtyard, Beyond @Lesenfantsterr Are bumblewasps poisonous? What do Whistling-panks eat? Answer these and more pointless questions in a puppet-packed, lyrical extravaganza. THEATRE

Night Bus 13:00, Courtyard, Upstairs @cabaretwhore A club, an office, a bedroom, a hell-hole, a sanctuary, a meeting place for strangers. A new dark comedy. THEATRE

A Little Nonsense 13:00, Courtyard, Pleasance This @JunctureTheatre A bare-knuckle look at the sharp edge of funny, this original black comedy explores the clown inside every man. THE PLEASANCE AT 3O 39


12:45, Courtyard, The Green @AsToldByTheatre Madame Champers is losing her fizz, Colonel Stilton is becoming sweatier and Whippy is becoming distinctly whiffy.



Reduced Shakespeare Company in The Complete History of Comedy (abridged) 13:05, Courtyard, Pleasance One @reduced Complete History of Comedy leaves no joke untold and finally answers the ultimate question, ‘Why did the chicken cross the road?’

@SkylightThtr A searing confrontation between two men approaching middle age.



14:00, Courtyard, Forth Arthur Smith reprises this widely acclaimed show premiered at last year’s Fringe, which enjoyed a sold-out London run and broadcast on Radio 4.

Live Forever 13:50, Courtyard, The Attic September 1997: a wannabe Brit-pop hanger-on struggles writing a book. A one man tour de force that is affectionate and very funny.

Arthur Smith sings Leonard Cohen (Vol.2)


Emily Brown and the Thing


Best of Edinburgh Showcase Show


13:10, Courtyard, Cabaret Bar @EdCom_Edinburgh Great value lunchtime treat with a new lineup every day. Long-running favourite with comedians and festival comedy fans alike.

13:55, Courtyard, Pleasance Above @ThePaperBirds A beatboxing theatre show exploring what young people are hearing in the world from the school playground to the music charts.



The Big Bite-Size Plays Factory Goes Down the Toilet

Backstage in Biscuit Land


14:05, Courtyard, Pleasance Two @tallstoriesnews Something is keeping Emily Brown awake! Join her night-time adventures in this magical, musical show, based on Cressida Cowell’s loved book. THEATRE

Wireless Theatre Presents: Couples Who Changed The World

13:15, Courtyard, The Cellar @bitesizeplays Become a secret agent! Saving the world can be FUN! 2013 Latest Award Winners, 5 stars (EdFest).

13:55, Courtyard, Pleasance Above @touretteshero Jess Thom has Tourettes; a condition that makes her neurologically incapable of staying on script, and that’s when the fun begins!

14:10, Dome, King Dome @wirelesstheatre Seven live radio plays. Seven couples who changed the way we live today.




Forgotten Voices

Jungle Bungle

13:30 & 22:30, Courtyard, The Grand @ForgotVoices A series of vivid, deeply moving recited accounts from the veterans of World War One, about life in battle and its terrible aftermath.

14:00, Courtyard, The Green A celebration of life and friendship. Lost in a jungle, without a map and only a crazy compass to guide them, will they ever get home?

14:10, Dome, King Dome @YoungPlesance Our Sinatra obsessed teenager plunges into the Twittersphere in pursuit of his digital darling. A swirling multimedia love story for now.



Lorraine & Alan 13:30, Dome, Jack Dome @wearebucketclub Who is Lorraine? Where does she come from? A modern retelling of the Selkie myth with live sound design and songs. COMEDY

Austentatious: An Improvised Jane Austen Novel 13:40, Dome, Queen Dome @austenimpro Austentatious is back! An all-star cast improvise a ‘lost’ Austen novel – hilarious and utterly unique. THEATRE

Mock Tudor 13:45, Courtyard, Beneath ‘Welcome to Hampton Court, 1533 & 2014.’ A play about kirtles, potatoes, love and escape. THEATRE

KATE 13:45, Courtyard, Bunker Two @lostwatchtc Iceland. 1940. The British are coming. A lively reflection on the shared history between Iceland and England with live music. THEATRE

Years to the Day 13:50, Courtyard, Pleasance That 40 THE PLEASANCE AT 3O



Wingman 14:10, Dome, 10Dome @RichardBMarsh Father-son comedy. Dad left long ago. Annoyingly, he’s back. Life split them apart, can death reunite them?

@mickperrin Paul Merton joins Suki Webster in this superb new comedy play about a stand-up meeting his number one fan. Thirty minutes of obsessive fun.

14:15, Courtyard, The Cellar @Normal_Madness Kirsty’s mother is schizophrenic. This frank, funny and touching tale follows Kirsty as she tries to distinguish her mother from the madness.

14:50, Courtyard, Pleasance One @pottedsherlock All 60 Sherlock stories in 70 elementary minutes! New show from creators of Potted Potter, double Olivier nominees Dan and Jeff.

Talk About Something You Like 14:15, Courtyard, Beside @IAmByronVincent The funny personal truth about insanity. Introducing the latex glove of science to the mitten of madness to see if they’ll shake hands.

14:50, Dome, Jack Dome @unbound_theatre Six male actors perform women’s real experiences. From body hair to groping, these guys will make you laugh and reflect. THEATRE

Kingmaker COMEDY

Robin and Partridge: Robin Dies At The End Of The Show 14:15, Courtyard, Pleasance This @RobinandPartridge As seen on BBC3. ‘Robin and Partridge delivered a surreal, rambunctious act’ (The Telegraph) ‘Charmingly original’ (ThreeWeeks). THEATRE

Flanders and Swann 14:15, Courtyard, Upstairs @flanders_swann Tim and Duncan return for one week only with all the favourites including The Gasman and some hidden F&S gems in their award-winning show. THEATRE

Show Off 14:15, Courtyard, Pleasance Below @figsinwigs A variety show starring only us. In a self-obsessed effort to tick every box, these jacks-of-all-trades are on a journey of reinvention. THEATRE

Keeping up with the Joans 14:30, Courtyard, Pleasance Beyond Rival theatricals rediscovering the unlikely past that ruined their friendship. A bittersweet comedy by Philip Meeks. COMEDY

Matt Forde: 24 Hour Political Party People 14:30, Courtyard, Cabaret Bar @mattforde Matt comes back to celebrate the great and the good (and Ed Miliband). See his brand new show as the countdown to Election 2015 starts here.

15:00, Courtyard, Beneath @Kingmakerplay A bumbling, charismatic Tory Mayor challenges his enemies to become PM. But will his past destroy him? COMEDY

Lizzie Bates: Reprobates 15:00, Courtyard, Bunker Two @Lizzie_Bates Riotous characters from BAFTA Rocliffe winner and member of the Boom Jennies. This bold, ballsy, highly anticipated debut is a must-see. THEATRE

Swimming 15:00, Dome, Queen Dome @SwimmingFringe Three teenagers trapped on the Isle of Wight, desperate to make their mark. But is the pull of the past too strong?

My Obsession 14:30, Courtyard, Upstairs

15:25, Courtyard, The Green Stranded in the desert, a pilot encounters a little prince from a small planet. This wise and enchanting fable is for everyone. COMEDY

Dan Jones: New Kid 15:30, Courtyard, Pleasance This @DanjoMouse Hilarious character comoddity Dan Jones’ rabble of characters will make you laugh & cry, as they try and make sense of their desperate lives. THEATRE

Hot Cat 15:30, Courtyard, Pleasance Two @TMBazaar Riffs on Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. ‘Comically surreal blend of text, dance and humour.’ (LA Times). THEATRE

The Greatest Liar in All the World 15:30, Courtyard, Beside @familiadelanoch FamiliaDeLaNoche return with their five-star Pinocchio sequel. A rollercoaster ride filled with song, puppetry and clowning. COMEDY

Connected the Musical COMEDY

I Need a Doctor: The Whosical 15:15, Courtyard, Pleasance Above @INeedADoctor_UK Doctor-loving superfans Jamie and Jess put on a musical about their time-travelling hero. However they must avoid getting shut down by the BBC. COMEDY

Catriona Knox Thinks She’s Hard Enough 15:15, Courtyard, The Attic @catrionaknox Good afternoon. I do character comedy. Why not come and see for yourself? ‘The next Joyce Grenfell’ (Spectator). COMEDY

Surname & Surname: BANG! THEATRE


Little Prince in the Desert THEATRE

Travesti THEATRE

15:20, Courtyard, Bunker One @taniaedwards Hilarious new show from Tania Edwards; stand-up comedian and writer. A finalist in the Hackney Empire, Amused Moose, and Latitude competitions.

15:15, Courtyard, Pleasance That @DittoComedy Paul Foxcroft and Briony Redman do a brand new sketch show.

15:30, Courtyard, Upstairs @CraigChristie9 The rock’n’roll fable of four teenagers whose worlds spiral out of their control when real life collides with their lives online. THEATRE

The Sleeping Trees Treelogy 15:30, Courtyard, Pleasance Below @WeSleepingTrees Three men. Three Stories. Three Shows. Sleeping Trees lovingly disembowel The Magic Faraway Tree, Treasure Island and Homer’s Odyssey. COMEDY

Max Dickins: My Groupon Adventure 15:30, Courtyard, The Cellar @maxdickins This is the story of how Groupon changed my life. I took on the challenge of doing something different off Groupon every week for a year. THE PLEASANCE AT 3O 41




Tania Edwards: Always Rihgt KIDS

Potted Sherlock THEATRE

‘Inventive, scrappy, proper Fringe fun’ (The Times).

David Elms THEATRE

Scaramouche Jones


15:30, Courtyard, Forth @GuyMasterson 11pm Millennium Eve. Centenarian clown, Scaramouche, gives his final performance, charting a bewitching odyssey through crumbling empires. THEATRE

When it Rains 15:35, Dome, King Dome A live-action graphic novel. Equal parts blackly funny social satire, heartrending meta-drama and astonishing theatrical illusion. COMEDY

Deborah Frances-White: Half A Can Of Worms 15:45, Dome, 10Dome @DeborahFW Deborah was adopted at birth. In 2012 she stumbled across information about her birth-mother. This is the true story of what happened next. COMEDY

Neil Henry’s IMPOSSIBLE 15:50, Courtyard, Cabaret Bar @magicneil Watch the impossible happen in front of your eyes. In Neil’s funny and unforgettable show, everything is possible, and nothing is as it seems.


Jamaica Farewell THEATRE

Reduced Shakespeare Company in The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) [revised] 16:00, Courtyard, The Grand @reduced The madcap men in tights work their way through all Shakespeare’s comedies, histories and tragedies that will leave you helpless with laughter. COMEDY

Cambridge Footlights International Tour Show 2014: Real Feelings 16:00, Dome, Ace Dome @footlightstour This is the chance to see Cambridge’s most talented writers and performers as they bring sharp, hilarious sketches to the Fringe once again. COMEDY

Paul Merton’s Impro Chums 16:00, Courtyard, The Grand @mickperrin Impro Chums are wonders of nature, taking audience suggestions and creating cascades of laughter. THEATRE

Broke 16:10, Dome, Jack Dome @ThePaperBirds Visually stunning verbatim piece exploring the debt of a nation. Real-life stories from ‘feeling the pinch’ to finding yourself penniless. 42 THE PLEASANCE AT 3O

16:15, Courtyard, Beneath @DebraEhrhardt1 A dream, revolution, desperation, seduction, US customs, million dollars, prostitutes, bullets. Run for your life. Based on a true story.

16:30, Courtyard, Pleasance Beyond Take the ride with Gonzo and Hunter S Thompson. A wild journey to the heart of the American Dream. ‘Gloriously whacked out’ (Time Out). COMEDY

Rachel Parris: Live In Vegas COMEDY

Tom Neenan: The Haunting at Lopham House 16:15, Courtyard, Bunker Two @TNeenan Spines will be tingled and gooses bumped when Leopold Clarke investigates Lopham House. A hilariously chilling ghost story. THEATRE

Blofeld & Baxter: Memories of Test Match Special 16:20, Dome, Queen Dome @blowersh @PBackersPeter Back by popular demand! More hilarious TMS stories! Exclusive behind-the-scenes adventures about the characters that make TMS so special. THEATRE

Ernest and the Pale Moon 16:30, Courtyard, Pleasance One @Lesenfantsterr Ernest is thrown into a jealous rage and murder, as he sees Gwendoline with another man. A noir horror told with physical storytelling. THEATRE

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

16:30, Courtyard, The Attic @iamrachelparris Musical comedian Parris presents her take on the glamorous Las Vegas show, featuring brand new characters and comedy anthems. COMEDY

The Twins Macabre – Small Mediums at Large 16:30, Courtyard, Pleasance That @thetwinsmacabre Last seen on BBC3, the Twins are on the run. Witness them conjure the souls of the damned in this deliciously dark sideshow. COMEDY

Danny Ward – Infra Dig 16:35, Courtyard, Bunker One @danwardcomic Ward is on a quest to solve an epic identity crisis while battling to escape the bottom rung. COMEDY

Thünderbards: Seconds 16:45, Courtyard, Pleasance This @Thunderbards Watch them timetravel through the decades to observe their ancestors, and royally screw everything up. 5 CLICKS AWAY FROM A TICKET | PLEASANCE.CO.UK


Rhys James: Begins 16:45, Courtyard, Pleasance Below @rhysjamesy This pointy debutant will tell some brilliant jokes, do some incredible poems and then leave. He won’t check Twitter for an hour.

Inheritance Blues 16:45, Courtyard, Pleasance Above @DugOutTheatre A comedy about familial debt, heavy drinking, sibling rivalry and a blues cover band. A night of storytelling, laughter and live music.

Casual Violence: The Great Fire of Nostril 16:45, Courtyard, Upstairs @casualviolence Award-winning sketch villains, a sinister tale of heartbreak, conjoined siblings and probable arson. ‘Superlative sketch comedy’ (The List). COMEDY

David Elms: Nurture Boy 16:45, Courtyard, The Cellar @davehasmates Thoughtful romantic David Elms whispers it from the rooftops in his charming and inventive debut show.

Hardeep Singh Kohli: Hardeep Is Your Love 17:20, Dome, Ace Dome @misterhsk Following his hit nationwide tour, the festival’s favourite funnyman returns reflecting on romance in middle age. THEATRE

17:20, Courtyard, Cabaret Bar @PaxoPleasance The broadcaster, author and Spitting Image puppet probes pogonophobia, underpants and the human condition.

Jay Foreman’s Disgusting Songs for Revolting Children 16:45, Courtyard, The Green @jayforeman Charmingly sickable songs, stories, poems and lots more. For the whole family from small children to massive children (grown-ups). COMEDY

BEASTS: Solo 16:45, Courtyard, Beside @BEASTScomedy After 2013’s sell-out success, BEASTS are going solo. Three shows. One room. Too many egos. Too little time.

Joseph Morpurgo: Odessa 17:20, Dome, 10Dome @TheInvisibleDot It’s 1983 and the buildings are burning. A petrol-sodden fantasia from Joseph Morpurgo. ‘Hugely innovative’ (Time Out).

Civil Rogues 17:00, Courtyard, Pleasance Two @civilrogues England, 1649: the King has lost his head; the Queen has fled; the Globe has been demolished and all performances are banned.

17:30, Courtyard, Forth @KinghtmareLive Following a soldout national tour, the critically acclaimed Knightmare Live returns with more adventure, magic and monsters for Level 2.

Nicholas Parsons’ Happy Hour 17:10, Courtyard, Cabaret Bar Celebrating 14 years on the Pleasance stage, West End, screen and radio star Nicholas Parsons invites you to join him for his most magnificent show yet! THEATRE

Light 17:15, Dome, King Dome

Lucy Beaumont: We Can Twerk It Out 17:45, Courtyard, Pleasance That @lucybeaumont The BBC New Comedy Winner and Chortle Best Newcomer, Lucy Beaumont, presents her hugely anticipated debut show. COMEDY

17:50, Courtyard, Bunker One @PhilNWang Confident nerd Phil Wang returns with his wry outlook and laid-back style to talk about love, race, and yumyums at one point. COMEDY

18:00, Courtyard, Pleasance Below @MassiveDad Good sketch comedy group Massive Dad present their debut show during which they perform the best of their material for an hour. COMEDY

Ian Smith – Flappable COMEDY

Dan Nightingale Is Trying His Best Not to Be a Dick 17:30, Dome, Jack Dome @theDNightingale Dan Nightingale returns to the Fringe for another festival frolic. He might be a bit of a dick, but christ he’s funny with it. COMEDY

17:30, Courtyard, Bunker Two @DaneBaptweets The highly anticipated debut hour from this original and provocative rising star. Expect razor sharp rants and slick musings. COMEDY

Jason Cook: Broken COMEDY


Massive Dad COMEDY

Dane Baptiste: Citizen Dane THEATRE

17:45, Courtyard, The Attic @wearetoby Feuding sisters have never been closer, mainly because Lizzie has bumped her head and is suffering from memory loss. Five stars (Fest).

Phil Wang: Mellow Yellow COMEDY

Knightmare Live – Level 2 KIDS




group and stars of their own BBC Radio 4 series invite you to The Dreams Factory.

17:40, Dome, Queen Dome @jasonmarkcook Award-winning comedian, writer and star of BBC2’s Hebburn returns with a show about, well, being broken.

18:00, Courtyard, Beside @iansmithcomedy After a successful debut, award-winning comedian Ian Smith returns with his new show. It’s about uncertainty... or is it? (It is). COMEDY

The Pin 18:00, Courtyard, Upstairs @thepincomedy The Pin return to the Fringe following two sold-out runs in 2012/13 and having won the award for Best Show at the 2013 London Sketchfest. COMEDY

Angela Barnes: You Can’t Take It With You 18:00, Courtyard, The Cellar @AngelaBarnes Hotly anticipated debut hour from BBC New Comedy Award winner and star of C4’s Stand Up For The Week. THEATRE

Peter Straker Black Magic COMEDY

Clever Peter: The Dreams Factory 17:45, Courtyard, Beneath @CleverPeter Critically acclaimed sketch

18:00, Courtyard, Pleasance One @PeterStraker1 Fresh from London’s West End, this award-winning, green-eyed Jamaican dark mischief has to be heard to be believed. THE PLEASANCE AT 3O 43



@TheatreAdInf Ad Infinitum presents a dystopian future. Intense darkness and a stunning soundscape tell a story of love, betrayal and technological power.


Voca People


18:00, Courtyard, The Grand An international hit featuring more than 80 all-time favourite songs performed in an incredible comical a cappella and beatbox style. COMEDY

The Only Way is Downton 18:20, Courtyard, Pleasance Above @DowntonTour Luke Kempner’s hit impressions comedy. Updated version featuring over 30 voices from Downton Abbey and other TV favourites. THEATRE

He Had Hairy Hands 18:30, Courtyard, Pleasance Two @Kill_Beast The year is 1974, the town is Hemlock-Under-Lye and when werewolf attacks threaten teatime, there’s only one person you can call . . . COMEDY

NewsRevue 2014 18:30, Courtyard, Pleasance Beyond @NewsRevue Guinness World Recordbreaking Fringe favourites return to poke fun at all things topical. An all-singing, all-dancing, satirising show. THEATRE

Mental 18:30, Pop-Up: The Bedroom @vaccuumcleaner ‘Highly Disturbed’ NHS. He prefers Mental. Autobiographical performance about notorious artist activist the vacuum cleaner. COMEDY

Fast Fringe 18:40, Dome, Ace Dome @Chortle Twelve comedy and variety acts perform ridiculously short sets in one speedy showcase from leading comedy website, Chortle. COMEDY

Tim FitzHigham: Hellfire 18:40, Dome, 10Dome @timfitzhigham Spirit of the Fringe, multi-award winning comedian is back, and taking on secret societies. ‘Gut bustingly funny’ (Scotsman).

@ChrisPJTurner Archaeologist digs hip hop. ‘Beautifully crafted one-liners, witty wordplay’ (BBC).

Good News (BBC Three). As heard: Jigsaw (BBC Radio 4). Cosmopolitan’s Sex & the Single Guy columnist.



Lloyd Langford: Old Fashioned

Nish Kumar: Ruminations on the Nature of Subjectivity

18:50, Dome, Jack Dome @mickperrin A brand new stand-up show about feeling bamboozled by the modern world. Will contain jokes about CGI, plugs and gang bangs.

19:15, Courtyard, Beside @MrNishKumar A really cool guy. As seen on The Alternative Comedy Experience and Live at the Comedy Store and heard on BBC Radio 4 & XFM.


Red Bastard


19:00, Courtyard, Forth @RedBastardShow Something interesting must happen every ten seconds . . . and it will. This dangerous, comedy-monster unleashes his interactive master-class.

AAA Stand-Up



Lazy Susan: Extreme Humans

Iain Stirling: Everything

19:00, Courtyard, Pleasance That @comedysusan Humans on the edge. Humans on the run. Humans in doubledenim. A dark, daft debut hour from this anarchic (but friendly) sketch duo.

19:15, Courtyard, Upstairs @IanDoesJokes Edinburgh’s very own BAFTA-nominated Iain Stirling is back with a show about heartbreak, immigration and meeting Jedward.



Mr Swallow – The Musical

Lloyd Griffith: Voice of an Angel, Body of a Trucker

19:00, Dome, Queen Dome @TheInvisibleDot All-new character comedy from Nick Mohammed’s critically acclaimed alter ego maniac monster. Star of radio and E4’s Drifters.

19:15, Courtyard, The Cellar @BandGComedy Total sell-out 2005–2013 returns with a brand new lineup. Larry Dean: Scottish Comedian of the Year 2013.

19:15, Courtyard, Pleasance This @LloydGriffith Lloyd Griffith performs his sexy debut show. Really brilliant jokes and incredible singing from this choirboy/ comedian/deluded heartthrob.


Stuart Goldsmith: Extra Life


19:00, Courtyard, The Attic @StuGoldsmith Celebrating his lone-wolf lifestyle, despite the looming possibility of fatherhood. ‘Wonderfully funny’ (Time Out).

Lee Griffiths: Post Traumatic Sketch Disorder


19:15, Courtyard, Pleasance Below @studlygriff Lee Griffiths’ family is more messed up than yours. His nonsense-filled head needs clearing out. It’s gonna be messy and might even be funny.

Morgan & West: Parlour Tricks 19:00, Dome, King Dome @MorganMagic @WestMagic Timetravelling magic duo Morgan & West present a brand new show chock full of jaw-dropping, brain-bursting, gaspeliciting feats of magic. COMEDY


Tim Vine: Timtiminee Timtiminee Tim Tim To You 19:30, Courtyard, Pleasance One @RealTimVine Returning to Edinburgh and daft as a brush. Mind you, a brush isn’t that daft. Think of him more as a hoover shaped like a plastic goose.

The Beta Males: Happenstance COMEDY

Tom Binns Has Not Been Himself 18:40, Courtyard, Cabaret Bar @tombinns Tom loves telling jokes, whatever the cost. Millions in fines and court costs, the man has a problem. He needs to make you laugh. COMEDY

Chris Turner: Pretty Fly 18:45, Courtyard, Bunker Two 44 THE PLEASANCE AT 3O

19:00, Courtyard, Beneath @betamalescomedy Stars of Radio 4’s Sketchorama, the critically acclaimed sketch storytellers present Happenstance: a show where things happen. COMEDY

Tom Craine: Thoughts On Love (By A Man With None of the Answers) 19:05, Courtyard, Bunker One @tomcraine As seen: Russell Howard’s


WitTank: Old School Secrets 19:40 & 23:40, Courtyard, Pleasance Above @WitTank Sketch maestros WitTank present the splendidly twisted world of The School; where mystery and misrule abound. COMEDY

Luke McQueen: Now That’s What I Luke McQueen 5 CLICKS AWAY FROM A TICKET | PLEASANCE.CO.UK

20:00, Courtyard, Bunker Two @MrLukeMcQueen A brilliant show from star of BBC’s Live at the Electric. ‘A weird collection of dazzlingly original pieces’ (Chortle).

Lambada, favela funk, spectacular theatrical phenomenon. Eight-piece live Samba band. COMEDY

Pete Firman: Trickster COMEDY

20:00, Dome, Ace Dome @Desbishop Des went to China to try and learn enough Chinese to do stand-up in Mandarin. Now he wants to make the world laugh about his experiences.

20:00, Courtyard, Pleasance Beyond @petefirman ‘The UK’s leading comedy magician’ (Time Out) returns to Edinburgh with an astonishing new show. Star of BBC1’s The Magicians. COMEDY

Mat Ricardo: Showman COMEDY

James Acaster: Recognise 20:00, Courtyard, Cabaret Bar @JamesAcaster James Acaster has something he’s been meaning to tell you. Expect whimsical rabbiting on and awkward physicality throughout. COMEDY

Nathan Caton: Teenage Mutant Nathan Caton 20:00, Dome, 10Dome @NathonCaton The award-winning comedian delivers heartwarming family tales and hilarious personal anecdotes in a show not to be missed! COMEDY

Tartan Ribbon Comedy Benefit 20:00, Courtyard, The Grand @ThePleasance A top night of comedy with proceeds going to Waverley Care. Previous lineups: Michael McIntyre, David O’Doherty and Ivan Brackenbury. THEATRE

This is Brasil – The Show 20:00, Courtyard, The Grand Freestyle football, dance, percussion. Zouk

20:10, Dome, Jack Dome @MatRicardo The Gentleman Juggler returns to Edinburgh by popular demand. Packed full of big laughs and breathtaking spectacles.

Ivo Graham: Bow Ties & Johnnies 20:15, Courtyard, Pleasance That @IvoGraham Hold onto your hats. The boy’s moved out of his gran’s and he’s back on the prowl. A stonking new hour of humble boasts from Ivo Graham. COMEDY

Romesh Ranganathan: Rom Wasn’t Built in a Day 20:15, Courtyard, Beneath @RomeshRanga Romesh is an inadequate human being. He’s trying to improve himself and started reading self-help books. Come see the results for yourself. COMEDY


Dan Clark: Me, My Selfie & I

Alex Horne: Monsieur Butterfly

20:20, Dome, Queen Dome @DanClarkEsq From the star & creator of BBC3’s hit sitcom How Not To Live Your Life comes an upbeat show about love (and crushing loneliness).

20:10, Courtyard, Pleasance Two @AlexHorne Stupidly ambitious and potentially disastrous, Alex will finally be Monsieur Butterfly. One flap of his wings and mayhem prevails.


Cariad & Paul: A Two-Player Adventure 20:10, Dome, Jack Dome @DittoComedy A completely spontaneous adventure, Cariad Lloyd and Paul Foxcroft take one word from the audience and explode it into absurdity & delight. COMEDY

Alex Edelman: Millennial 20:15, Courtyard, The Attic @Alex_Edelman A New York-based comedian from Boston. He is 24, a recent college graduate, with ‘natural comic timing’ according to the Boston Globe.

Carl Hutchinson: Here’s Me Show 20:20, Courtyard, Bunker One @CPHutchinson Uniquely stubborn, outright impractical and undeniably hilarious. Geordie comic Carl Hutchinson returns to Edinburgh. COMEDY

Carl Donnelly: Now That’s What I Carl Donnelly Vol. 6 20:30, Courtyard, Upstairs @CarlDonnelly 2013 Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee Carl Donnelly presents another ‘ludicrously funny hour’ (The Skinny) of stories from his life. COMEDY

Lights! Camera! Improvise! – The Improvised Movie 20:30, Courtyard, Forth @mischiefcomedy You suggest the genre, location and title. We improvise a breathtaking movie. Winner – Spirit of the Fringe Award 2013. COMEDY

Chris Martin: Responsibilliness

He Had Hairy Hands

20:30, Courtyard, Beside @ChrisMcomedy Chris Martin (Guardian’s Top 10 Comedy Podcasts) brings u unique logic to big topics s such as hair, kissing and f fishing. THE PLEASANCE AT 3O 45 T


Des Bishop: Made In China





Shappi Khorsandi: Because I’m Shappi . . .

Seann Walsh: Seann 28

20:30, Dome, King Dome @ShappiKhorsandi After being knocked up like a 1950s teenager, Shappi’s back. Reflecting on the good things, she celebrates her zigzag towards her dreams.

21:20, Courtyard, Cabaret Bar @seannwalsh 2013 Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee and comedy’s fastest rising star, Seann Walsh returns to the Fringe with an all-new hour. COMEDY


Simon Feilder: All The Things I’m Not 20:30, Courtyard, Pleasance This @simonfeilder What is a Simon Feilder? Award-winning comedian? Sure. Kisswizard? Fightsmith? LET’S FIND OUT. His debut show features jokes and fun.

Tom Price: Not As Nice As He Looks 21:30, Courtyard, The Attic @pricetom The hilarious posh Welsh stand-up returns with a brand new show and one question: can you hide an evil soul from your son? COMEDY


The Comedy Reserve

Igor Meerson: Hou I lernt inglish

21:30, Dome, Jack Dome @ThePleasance Catch four of the hottest new acts on the comedy circuit in the tenth year of the Pleasance’s Comedy Reserve.

20:30, Courtyard, Below @mickperrin Edinburgh’s first Russian stand-up ever. Igor ruins all stereotypes about Russia and discovers all the stereotypes about Britain and the West. COMEDY

Rhys Mathewson – Hombre Lobo 20:30, Courtyard, The Cellar @Rhyspect Fresh from New Zealand, Rhys Mathewson presents a new show about transformation, possibly. That might change . . . COMEDY

Mark Watson: Flaws 21:00, Courtyard, Pleasance One @watsoncomedian Winner of five major comedy awards. 24-hour-show luminary. Novelist. This is his darkest, most personal show yet. Luckily, also his funniest. COMEDY

Eddie Pepitone: RIP America, It’s Been Fun 21:00, Courtyard, Pleasance Above @eddiepepitone Pepitone’s hilarious, rant-filled return examines an American empire (and comedian) gone mad. COMEDY

Pierre Novellie Is Mighty Peter 21:15, Courtyard, Bunker Two @pierrenovellie His Edinburgh debut lifts the lid on mythical giants, medieval Welsh law and yoghurt. Chortle Award Nominee 2014. ‘One to watch’ (Time Out). THEATRE

Dracula 21:20, Courtyard, Pleasance Beyond @Dracula_Tweets Steampunk adaptation of Bram Stoker’s classic novel. With a cast of powerhouse actor-musicians this show will leave you begging to be bitten. 46 THE PLEASANCE AT 3O


Sarah Kendall: Touchdown 21:30, Courtyard, Pleasance Two @mickperrin In 1992, Sarah was forced to play women’s touch rugby and accidentally made history as one-tenth of the greatest under-14s team ever assembled. COMEDY

Pete Johansson: Several Jokes 21:30, Courtyard, Beneath @escarius Pete Johansson returns with Several Jokes. A nuanced and provocative, all-in-one spectacular examination of his various fears and faults. COMEDY

Yacine Belhousse: Made in France 21:30, Courtyard, Pleasance That @YacineBelhousse From Batman to cheeseburgers and dragons, Yacine touches on all the typical French subjects. COMEDY

Henry Paker: Unpacked 21:35, Courtyard, Bunker One @henrypaker A stand-up show from a master craftsman. ‘There’s not a spare syllable or hesitation in the whole hour’ (Chortle). COMEDY

Tim Key: Single White Slut 21:40, Courtyard, The Grand @timkeyperson Key (37 now) wades back to Edinburgh, climbs into his poetry clothes and leans against his mic stand for another hour. COMEDY

Jess Robinson: Mighty Voice 21:40, Dome, Ace Dome

@JessieRobinson Join Jess for a sublime hour of hilarity and show-stopping vocals, mimicking the biggest music stars ever.  COMEDY

Jonny & The Baptists: The Satiric Verses 21:40, Dome, 10Dome @Jonny_Baptists A fire-raising rock’n’roll comedy epic about floods, foreigners and facing the future without Tony Benn. COMEDY

John Hastings – Adventure 21:45, Courtyard, The Cellar @thejohnhastings Chasing excitement, John came to the UK from his native Canada. After minimal sex, death and theft, he got enlightenment instead . . . COMEDY

Adam of the Riches 21:45, Dome, Queen Dome @TigcoRiches 2011 Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award winner Adam Riches returns with a brand new hour of phenomenal bullshit! COMEDY

Ed Gamble: Gambletron 5000 21:45, Courtyard, Pleasance This @EdGambleComedy Gamble wops out his debut solo effort. A great guy (Ed), delivering funny humour through a pretty sweet microphone/speaker set up. COMEDY

John Robins: This Tornado Loves You 21:45, Courtyard, Beside @nomadicrevery Following his critically acclaimed sell-out show in 2013, he’s back! A show about love and happiness. COMEDY

David Trent: Live at the Pleasance Courtyard 21:45, Courtyard, Upstairs @mistertrent Back with a high-octane audio-visual onslaught that promises to be the ultimate in Trentertainment. COMEDY

Beth Vyse: Get Up With Hands! 21:45, Courtyard, Pleasance Below @BethVyse Olive Hands presents her number two in the morning, daytime television show. Surreal, sublime and completely ridiculous. COMEDY

Simon Amstell – Tour Previews 22:00, Courtyard, Forth @SimonAmstell ‘The real deal. Where philosophy collides with anxiety: where Heidegger meets Woody Allen.’ (The Guardian). 5 CLICKS AWAY FROM A TICKET | PLEASANCE.CO.UK

Tim Key


The Comedy Zone 22:45, Courtyard, Cabaret Bar @livecomedy The showcase that brought you Al Murray returns with another top lineup starring; Steve Bugeja, Jack Barry, Alex Smith and Adam Hess.

Gein’s Family Giftshop: Vol 1 22:45, Courtyard, The Attic @GeinsFamilyGift An hour of dark, absurd and fast-paced sketches. You lucky f*ckers. ‘Made me absolutely howl’ (A Younger Theatre). COMEDY

Mat Ewins: The Six Million Dollar Ewins 22:45, Courtyard, Pleasance That @MatEwins Six months ago, secret agent Mat Ewins died and was killed. Now he’s back. Intrigue and nonsense about a spy revived to complete his mission. COMEDY

Julian McCullough: Dream Girls COMEDY

Sarah Bennetto’s Funeral 22:00, Courtyard, The Green @sarahbennetto Stop all the clocks. Tonight we remember the comedian, bon viveur, Australian. She’s dead. DEAD, DEAD, DEAD. COMEDY

Sarah Bennetto’s Storytellers’ Club 22:00, Courtyard, The Green @sarahbennetto @StoryCLB Spend your Fringe weekends with your favourite comedy stars telling hilarious true stories in a darkened corner of Pleasance Courtyard. COMEDY

Marcel Lucont Is 22:00, Dome, King Dome @marcellucont A modern man’s majestic musings on mortality, morality, masculinity and moreover, Marcel Lucont, multi-award-deserving maverick. COMEDY

Sketch Transfer Deadline Day 22:00, Courtyard, Forth @dittoComedy What happens when you make the best sketch groups trade a member for one show? Profits to Cancer Research UK. COMEDY

Cardinal Burns 22:00, Courtyard, Forth @CardinalBurns Following their second series on Channel 4, British Comedy

Award winning and BAFTA-nominated duo Cardinal Burns return to Edinburgh.

22:45, Courtyard, Beneath @julezmac Julian recounts his romantic discovery of what some would say is an obvious truth about fantasy and reality: they’re totally different!


Come Heckle Christ


22:20, Courtyard, Pleasance Above @hecklechrist Ever wanted to heckle Jesus Christ? Award-winning Josh Ladgrove brings his improvised performance where the audience get to heckle Christ.

Andrew O’Neill’s History of Heavy Metal 22:45, Dome, Jack Dome @destructo9000 The guys from Obituary run a cat sanctuary. Very funny show about metal. Suitable for non metalheads.


Chris Ramsey: The Most Dangerous Man On Saturday Morning Television


22:30, Courtyard, Pleasance One @IAmChrisRamsey Following a sell-out tour, Celebrity Juice regular and star of BBC2’s Hebburn comes to Edinburgh for nine nights only!

22:50, Courtyard, Bunker One @mickperrin Francesco guides you on a hysterical journey through politics, love, sex, food, laziness and other Italian specialties.



Al Lubel In . . . I’m Still Al Lubel

The Noise Next Door’s Comedy Lock-In

22:30, Courtyard, Bunker Two @Red24Management Al didn’t create I’m Still Al Lubel for the public, he made it for himself. He hopes he likes it.

22:50, Courtyard, Pleasance Two @NoiseNextDoor A totally unique experience every night with the quickest wits in comedy and their astonishing special guests. Finely tuned anarchy!

Francesco De Carlo: Italians Do It Later


Ennio Marchetto: The Living Paper Cartoon


22:30, Courtyard, Pleasance One @EnnioMarchetto A whirlwind of popular icons brought to life by ingenious quick-change paper magic. Gaga, Bono, Beyonce . . . no celebrity is safe! 

23:00, Courtyard, Pleasance This @TheJestComedy Recommended by The List, comedy quintet the Jest present an hour of dark and subversive sketches. And Maggie Smith.

The Jest







AAA Stand-Up Late

Late Night Gimp Fight: The Worst of Late Night Gimp Fight

23:00, Courtyard, The Cellar @BandGComedy Total sell-out 2010–2013 returns with a brand new lineup. Danny Deegan: ‘Charming, witty and most importantly funny’ (Metro).

23:00, Courtyard, Pleasance Beyond @gimpfight The country’s most exciting sketch comedy group bring the best of their depraved minds to Edinburgh for three nights only.


Mark Watson’s Comedywealth Games 23:00, Courtyard, Pleasance Beyond @watsoncomedian Top international comedians compete in non-Olympian events, including fruit throwing and admin pentathlon. Ten shows only.


Foul Play. The F*cking Nasty Show 23:00, Dome, Ace Dome @foulplaylive The World’s top comics perform their most acidic and downright dirty sets. Pure filth, near-the-knuckle jokes NOT for the faint hearted.

23:00, Courtyard, The Grand @thenickhelm Mega-Monolith Nick Helm is too busy for a full run this year, but he’s generously agreed to return for two nights only.


Tom Rosenthal: Meme, Myself & I 23:20, Dome, King Dome @rosentweets About the internet, this show differs enough from others to make it legally viable but not enough to make you uncomfortable. COMEDY

McNeil & Pamphilon Go 8-Bit!


23:20, Dome, King Dome @mcneilpamphilon 2013 total sellout! Interactive video-gaming comedy! Battles! Like GamesMaster, but drunk.

Another F*cking Variety Show



Nick Helm’s Two Night Stand in the Grand

conceivable sound with a manic wit, as a whole album is created based on your suggestions.

23:00, Dome, Queen Dome @gag_reflex A late-night treat with Lili la Scala and her cavalcade of Cabarati. Previous guests include Jason Manford and The Boy With Tape On His Face.

John Conway Tonight

It Might Get Ugly



23:00, Courtyard, Upstairs @itmightgetugly Karl Schultz hosts a different lineup every night, inviting a mix of the Fringe’s most exciting talent to perform a set unlike any other.


Tom Rosenthal: Work-inProgress

00:00, Dome, Jack Dome @conwaynow Comedy starring John Conway (could be a chat show not sure yet). Featuring Ben Russell.


23:00, Courtyard, Pleasance Below @SunsofFred After sold-out shows around Australia, Excited!!! is coming to Edinburgh for the first time!!! ‘Next gigantic thing!’ (Tim Ferguson, DAAS).

00:05, Courtyard, Beneath @rosentweets British Comedy Award nominee Tom Rosenthal throws shit at a wall figuratively and possibly literally.


Chortle Student Comedy Award Final 23:00, Courtyard, Pleasance Beyond @studentcomedy Hundreds entered, eight survive, now one will be crowned Britain’s funniest student. Hosted by Mark Watson.



Alfie Brown: Divorced from Reality (and My Wife)

Late Show

23:00, Courtyard, Beside @ABrownComic Alfie Brown’s fourth show is a screaming, pretentious, crusading monstrosity. It’s about divorce (his), bipolar disorder (his) and reality (?).


00:20, Courtyard, Cabaret Bar @CZlateshow 13th year of Edinburgh’s late-night comedy institution! Flight of the Concords, Sarah Millican and Rhod Gilbert have performed here. COMEDY

McQueen: McQueen


Friday I’m In Love

23:00, Dome, 10Dome @jesseaadams All of the people in McQueen Adams’ head want to be heard. With spot-on impressions and the help of a fox they won’t be silenced anymore.

Beardyman: One Album Per Hour

00:30, Dome, Ace Dome @FiiL_Club The supersonic rock’n’roll singalong. A room full of punters singing together backed by a live band. That’s the deal at this feel good night.

23:15, Courtyard, The Grand @beardyman Multi-award winning musician and comedian emits any



0131 556 6550 Call the Pleasance Box Office from 10 May to 29 July 10am to 6pm daily. From 31 July 9am to 10pm daily.

Pleasance Courtyard 60 Pleasance, EH8 9TJ Visit Pleasance’s main Box Office from 28 to 29 July 10am to 6pm then 30 July to 25 August 9am to 00:30am.

Pleasance Dome 1 Bristo Square, EH8 9AL This Box Office will be open from 30 July to 25 August 9am to 00:30am.

Self Service Box Office Open from 30 July to 25 August 10am to midnight.

Fast Track Ticket Booth Open from 30 July to 25 August 10am to 10pm.




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Celebrating 30 Years of the Pleasance at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 1985-2014


Celebrating 30 Years of the Pleasance at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 1985-2014