The two doors in the sky blue shopfront are flanked by giant, cartoon figures in red, green and gold. The contrast with the stone walls and sombre colours of neighbouring buildings is striking, if not surprising. This is the home of Edinburgh’s Festival Fringe. They do things differently here.
The Fringe has a history as long as the official Edinburgh International Festival itself. When the Festival was inaugurated, in August 1947, eight theatre companies turned up in the city uninvited to offer their alternative view of theatre to the assembled audiences. For the first few years the Fringe was a completely informal gathering with no central organisation. From 1955 a central booking service was arranged by Edinburgh university students and in 1959 the Festival Fringe Society was formed, to take on support and coordination.
The Fringe has grown and developed over the years to become the world’s largest arts festival, a vibrant mix of dance, music, circus, poetry and art exhibitions as well as alternative theatre and stand up comedy. In 1959 the programme included performances by nineteen theatre companies. The 2015 programme featured over 50,000 performances of 3,314 shows from 49 different countries, spread across 313 venues.
On a quiet winter day the brightly coloured frontage of the Fringe can be seen clearly from a long way down the street. In August, when the festival is in full swing, you might just catch a glimpse of blue and gold through the crowds. You have to stand out from the crowd to be noticed on the Fringe.
A post for Thursday Doors. Follow the links to find a collections of ordinary and extraordinary doors around the world.