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 Festival 2005
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Top Fringe Venues for Variety and for Specialities Dance and Physical Theatre | Music And Comedy.

There are over 16,000 performers and nearly 1,799 shows during August 2005, with 650 in the theatre section alone so variety can be guaranteed. The ever growing number of fringe venues can seem a daunting prospect - never fear! Though the Fringe Programme isn't as helpful as it used to be. There are nearly 300 listed locations but it's no longer possible to look under the venue section and see what is on at each one. It may save paper but it makes planning your festival going much harder. Removing the venue number from the individual shows' entries is another innovation I wish they hadn't introduced, I frequently have to help people find venues which have several possible names but they all only have one venue number. Is there a plan to confuse the punter or are they just unable to see it from the new Fringe goers point of view?

Most Fringe venues are temporary theatres so make sure you bring your own Fringe adaptable spirit. It's a good idea to see a number of shows in the one venue if you are short of time, travelling through festival crowds from venue to venue can eat up valuable seeing and hearing time. Disabled festival theatre goers will still need to check if they can get into the performaces spaces though I have noted here these venues accessibilities - temporary theatres can have stairs with no lifts, though venue staff may be able to assist if alerted. And there is one production you can have in your own home, Homemade - Signal to Noise (costs from £80) 18 - 28 Aug, phone 07914 629 851 to arrange.

Here is a list of some of the noteable fringe 2005 venues based on the acts they will be showing and information on their accessibilty.

For Variety Venues with a strong mix across the programme.

Assembly Rooms (venue 3) 54 George Street. 0131 226 2428.
Quality shows with some of the highest profile performers this festival. Not the cheapest tickets but you can expect to get your money’s worth – memorable performances with good seating, and a variety of stages. All Assembly venues box offices sell tickets for the Pleasance venues as well as their own shows. Most spaces are wheelchair accessible. Check programme or phone for details. This venue also runs Assembly at St George's West (venue 157) Shandwick Place, disabled access Stafford St, and the new venue Assembly at Assembly Hall, (venue 35) at Mound Place wheelchair acessible via Lawnmarket.

The Big Top at The Out Of The Blue Tramworks Shrub Place, Leith Walk. 0870 126 1771.
A new venue in a big top run by the Out of the Blue, Bongo Club will host circus and physical theatre. Not far front the Pend. Bar and fully accessible.

C Venues - C (venue 34) Chambers Street, C Too (venue 4) St Columba’s by the Castle on Johnston Terrace, C central (venue 54) Carlton Hotel on North Bridge and C Electric (formerly the Odeon) on Clerk St, C Electric will be housing all C O2 (or C Oxygen) (venue 202) shows. 0870 701 5105.

There are four C venues this year, It would have been five but they lost one in July so all C o2 (or C Oxygen) (venue 202) shows will be at C Electric at the same times as they are in the Fringe programme. With children’s shows, music, comedy and theatre, it’s a must for festival goers. If you get confused and wind up at the wrong one – don’t panic! All have high standard shows from up-and-coming performers. But just to be clear, keep record of the above information as some are 10 minutes walk way. All have licensed bars/ café’s. C is the only venue full acessible though advance notice apperciated, for all other C venues wheelchair users should phone prior to visit as access can be difficult to some spaces or areas.

Gilded Balloon at Teviot (venue 14) Bristo Square. 0131 668 1633.

Without out a doubt, the Teviot has a wealthy offering this fringe. With seven performance spaces, public, private and outdoor bars, as well as cafés and restaurants, it is almost a festival unto itself! Not to be missed! Most venues fully accessible, call for details, has disabled rest facilities.

Pend Fringe (venue 7) Gateway Theatre, Elm Row. 0131 317 3939.

Host to some of the best international student theatre, this is one to watch if you are interested in checking out hot new talent. Though it's off the main drag you'll also find out about Scottish Theatre from the Playwright's Resource Centre based in the courtyard. Both are near the new venue The Big Top at The Out Of The Blue Tramworks.There is also a small café. Wheelchair accessible,

Pleasance Courtyard (venue 33) 60 The Pleasance, Pleasance Dome (venue 23)1 Bristo Square. 0131 556 6550.

These bustling venues have some of the fringe’s brightest stars and funniest shows. There are many great performance spaces each overflowing with all kinds of entertainment. Food and drink are served all day. They sell tickets for Assembly and Underbelly as well as their own. The Dome is fully accessible, the Courtyard is disabled friendly staff are willing to help but ask that enquiries 0131 556 1513 be made before booking.

Roxy Art House (venue 115) 2 Roxburgh Pl. 0871 750 0077.

In what was Pleasance over the road, this year round venue brings performers from extraordinary places with striking shows and local artists to make a mix which feels creative! Good for music too. A bar/cafe with good food. Well worth a visit. Disabled toilets, Wheelchair access to main hall only.

Theatre Workshop (venue 20) 34 Hamilton Place 0131 226 5425.

Degenerate 3, Scotland's only International Disability Festival is based here with film, book and music events as well as theatre. Cafe and bar. Fully accessible.

Traverse Theatre (venue 15) Cambridge Street off Lothian Road. 0131 228 1404.

Dedicated to new writing, this theatre offers top-notch shows from around the world. Food and drink are served throughout the day in the very busy Traverse bar where Fringe goers, some famous faces among them gather. They have 3 other venues each with one show in them. Main Traverse building Disabled/wheelchair accessable.

Underbelly (venue 61) Cowgate, entrances on Cowgate and Victoria Street and Baby Belly (venue 88) The Caves South Niddry Street off Cowgate.0870 745 3083.

With an exhilarating atmosphere and a powerful programme, make sure you visit the Underbelly at least once this festival. It has a rainbow of performances and boasts the best music in the fringe. There are four licensed bars that are open late and a café with food available. There may be difficulties with wheelchair users, but guide dogs are welcome. Help is available, please phone 0131 622 6566 in advance. Baby Belly situated deep underground Edinburgh’s Old Town, these medieval grottos have a spooky atmosphere. If you like diverse performances and ambience all three have an interesting selection to choose from. Cave II has no wheelchair access, whilst Caves I & III have a 5yrd ramp and a couple of steps.

Specialities
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Top Specialist Dance and Physical Theatre Venues.

Aurora Nova at St Stephen's (venue 8) Big church at end of St Stephen's St. 0131 558 3853.

The main venue for physical theatre with a cafe unfortunately can be hard for disabled to access (lots of stairs) call 0131 558 3468 to see if they can help, they's like to.

Dance Base (venue 22) 14 - 16 Grassmarket and Dance Base at Fan Attic (venue 232) 0131 225 5525.

An inspiring new building which is Scotland's National Centre For Dance and the new venue Fan Attic promises a cabaret setting.

The Garage (Venue 81) Citrus Club, Grindlay Street. 07708 280 016.
This is small venue which contains a real international flavour and can have some must-see shows, this year they have moved along Grindlay St from their pervious base. Good disabled access.

Top Specialist Music Venues - Some are in striking buildings and some of these also have shows in other sections.

Acoustic Music Centre (Venue 123) St Brides Orwell Place. 0131 346 1405.

Sixty concerts a mix of mainly Scottish with International at this full acessible, converted church venue. Snacks and bar.

The Bongo Club (venue 143) 37 Holyrood Rd. 0131 557 2827.

The Bongo Club moved to its new year-round home in 2004. This cosy little venue has an interesting line-up throughout the festival. With a broad range of shows and a few special guest appearances, it’s one to start booking tickets for. Cafe/bar. Wheelchair accessible for main performance space.

Queens Hall (Venue 72) Clerk Street. ) 0131 668 2019.

Mix of music, theatre and comedy in this converted church venue which has cafe and bar. Fully accessible.

Reid Hall (Venue 201) Reid Quad, Bristo Square 0131 662 8740.

A mix of folk, roots and classical music in this C19 concert hall. Bar. Fully accessible.

St Andrew's And St George's (Venue 111) 13 George St. 0131 225 3847.

A wide variety of concerts in the evening and afternoon in this C18 Church.Tea/coffee and snacks at time of performance. Accessible.

T on The Fringe venues include Liquid Rooms (venue 173), Edinburgh Corn Exchange (Venue 244) (both accessible), Cabaret Voltaire (venue 139) (some accessibility).

Top Specialist Comedy Venues. These venues not so easy for disabled but there is lots of comedy at the big more accessible venues too, .

Edinburgh Comedy Room (Venue 9) The Tron, Hunter Square 0131 226 0000.
Specialises in stand-up with a bar, listed building and two flights of stairs so restricted access.

The Stand Comedy Club (Venue 5) York Place and The Stand Comedy Club II (Venue 5)

© Thelma Good July 2005 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com