City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Assembly at the Edinburgh Fringe


Assembly Hall entrance

Among Edinburgh Fringe venues, Assembly Festival (aka simply as Assembly) is perhaps one of the most famous and recognisable brands, and has earned a reputation for hosting top tier Fringe performances.

William Burdett-Coutts, Assembly Festival's grey-haired director, the "grand-daddy of the Fringe", has steered the organisation for decades from a single venue with a dozen or so staff to an operation involving hundreds of performers and support staff.

The organisation was historically associated with the Assembly Rooms on George Street, which it returns to in 2017 after an absence of seven years.

In 2017, Assembly Festival has over 200 shows in 26 temporary performance spaces across five different sites. As well as the Assembly Rooms, Assembly is back at Assembly Hall at the top of the Mound, the bustling tented area of Assembly George Square venue, Assembly Roxy, and Assembly Checkpoint.

Tickets for all the Assembly venues can be booked at one single box office number or on its web site:

Box office telephone (0131) 623 3030

Web site www.assemblyfestival.com

Assembly History

As well as operating out of the Assembly Rooms on George Square venue until 2010, Assembly introduced a new venue in a big tent Assembly @ Princes St Gardens.

In 2008, due to financial losses in 2007, Assembly was operating just 3 venues under the Assembly banner. Assembly's Expansion in 2007, to 8 venues with some 600 staff (not including the additional 500 people working on the shows themselves), proved to be too much.

Among those venues axed was its Aurora Nova contemporary dance programme at St. Stephen's Church and comedy at the Edinburgh Comedy Room.

Universal Arts continued with two other former Assembly venues: Universal Arts, and the Hill Street Theatre

In 2009, Assembly's venues included its two main ones - Assembly Hall on The Mound and Assembly Rooms on George Street - as well as Assembly @ Royal Botanic Garden and Assembly @ 7 Holyrood Road.

Edinburgh Fringe Venues

The Assembly Rooms were closed during the 2011 festival and re-opened following renovations in 2012. Assembly fought, unsuccessfully, the controversial plan to put a restaurant and retail outlets on the bottom floor of the venue. In 2012, Assembly lost tenancy of the venue to the similar sounding but separate organisation "Assembly Rooms Festival".