Among Edinburgh Fringe venues, Assembly (aka Assembly Festival) 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 returned to in 2017 after an absence of seven years.
In 2019, Assembly has over 242 shows in a range of temporary and permanent 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.
In 2020, Assembly celebrates its 40th anniversary Fringe so it should be a good one.
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
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.
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.
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".