The Fringe of society


As the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2019 approaches, Yasmin Hackett looks at some of the shows and initiatives which reflect the increasingly charitable, socially conscious, and culturally diverse spirit of the largest arts festival in the world.

1st August 2019 by Yasmin Hackett 0 Comments


Brought to the Fringe by Cardboard Citizens, a creative hub for excluded people, Bystanders looks at the lives and deaths of homeless people, asking whether we are simply bystanders. Though they aren’t the subject of the play, all of the cast have different experiences of homelessness themselves, and Bystanders hopes to give the stage to unheard voices such as these.

Summerhall (TechCube 0), July 31st, Aug 1st-11th, 13th-18th, 20th-25th, 11:30am

Pizza Shop Heroes

Performed by four former child-refugees, Pizza Shop Heroes shines a light on the experience of forced migration, allowing them to reclaim their stories and to take centre stage.

Summerhall (TechCube 0), Aug 3rd-11th, 17:40pm

The Trojans

An adaptation of Euripides’ great anti-war tragedy, The Trojans, is written and acted by a cast of Syrian refugees living in Glasgow. The product of a project, The Trojan Women’s Project, designed to build links between Syrians newly arrived in Scotland and local communities.

Pleasance at EICC (Pentland Theatre), Aug 7th, 16:30pm

A Mentally Well Fringe

Given the pressure and stress involved in bringing a show to the festival, Fringe performers are offered the opportunity to sample some experiences commonly used in psychological therapy practice which are known to help mental well-being.

Fringe Central (Concourse), Aug 9th & 16th, 13:00pm

Loud and Proud on the Fringe 

Scotland’s LGBT choir perform a diverse repertoire of a cappella tunes in support of Waverley Care. This year they are celebrating Stonewall and the beginnings of the gay liberation movement in 1969.

St Cuthbert’s Church (Main Sanctuary), Aug 10th, 19:30pm

For Robin Williams: A Benefit Gig in Aid of Mind and SAMH

It’s been five years since comedy giant Robin Williams passed away, but it is also the fifth year that this benefit will have been celebrating his life and achievements. All proceeds from the gig will go toward two mental health charities, Mind and the Scottish Association for Mental Health.

Assembly George Square (Gordon Aikman Theatre), Aug 11th, 00:15am

Tom Machell presents: Charity Gala in support of Cardiac Risk in the Young

A stand-up gala in aid of Cardiac Risk in the Young, to whom all ticket proceeds will go. Line-up includes names such as Sarah Keyworth, Tom Ballard, Gabby Best, and Aaron Chen.

Monkey Barrel Comedy, Aug 12th, 7:30pm

Barking Tales

A unique comedy night with a focus on mental health, hosted by Harriet Dyer and featuring comics such as Russell Howard, Tony Law, Laura Lexx and Seymour Mace. Proceeds are split between Barking Tales, the UK’s only mental health comedy night, and SAMH.

Monkey Barrel Comedy, Aug 12th, 10:30pm

The Tartan Ribbon Comedy Benefit 2019

A comedy benefit whose past performers have included the likes of Michael McIntyre, Russell Howard, Katherine Ryan, Tim Vine, Jason Byrne and the like. Expect big names, and all proceeds go toward Waverley Care, the Scottish HIV and Hepatitis C charity.

Pleasance Courtyard (The Grand), Aug 13th, 20:00pm

Comedy Gala 2019: In Aid of Waverley Care

Hosted by Josh Widdicombe and Joel Dommett. All proceeds raised from the Edinburgh Comedy Gala go toward Waverley Care. Since its launch in 2003, the now annual event has raised almost £475,000.

Pleasance at EICC (Pentland Theatre), Aug 20th, 7:30pm

Fringe of Colour

It’s not a show, but Fringe of Colour are a recent addition to the ever-diversifying scene. They have published an expansive spreadsheet spotlighting Fringe performers of colour, and have been offering free tickets to young people (aged 25 and under) of colour at the Fringe this year.

Fair Fringe

This group of activists have been campaigning for Fringe workers’ rights since 2017, with hopes of putting an end to unfair pay and working conditions of Fringe staff at the festival this year. They will also be hosting drop in stalls where Fringe workers can discuss their rights at work, every Monday in August from 12-4pm.


A handful of comedians get the chance to sing songs from their favourite musicals, live in front of a huge audience. The night will be hosted by Kiri Pritchard-McClean and Jayde Adams, and all proceeds go toward Waverley Care, Scotland’s HIV and Hepatitis C charity.

Pleasance Courtyard (The Grand), Aug 21st, 23:30pm