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Edinburgh Fringe Festival History

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival originally started way back in 1947 just after the Second World War. At the time the Edinburgh Festival was launched to be a post-war idea to reunite and re-build the people of Edinburgh, and all visitors, through the use of theatre, comedy and culture. Open to the public and 'would be' performers, the Festival offered a unique opportunity for unknown performers to entertain and enlighten as well as for more recognised performers to get back to their roots. It has been the platform for thousands of performers to launch their careers and to obtain public and talent scout awareness.

Many famous artists, comedians and performers made their debut at the Fringe Festival and some make regular return appearances. The Monty Python team starred in student productions as well as, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, Christian Slater, Steve Coogan, Janey Godley, Dave Gorman, Gary Le Strange, Count Arthur Strong, Rowan Atkinson, Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie and Emma Thompson to name but a few.

Numerous West End plays started their life at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival such as: Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard and Moscow Stations which starred Tom Courtenay. The Fringe Festival has been the spawning ground for many talented performers and performances. It gives the opportunity for talent to be displayed in front of the public and can create new careers which would otherwise remain obscure.

Originally the Edinburgh Fringe Festival was held in a disused pub with a leaky old roof just off the Royal Mile. The first festival back in 1947 included only 6 Scottish and 2 English performance companies, but the first Edinburgh Fringe Festival was so successful it was repeated the following year and has become an annual event ever since, growing year on year.

The Fringe Festival virtually takes over the City of Edinburgh during the month of August and ticket sales now exceed 1.35 million, worth in excess of £10 million and of tremendous value to the city and its occupants.

The festival organisers are now full time with over 10 full time staff working throughout the year which increases to over 120 during the festival itself. The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is officially the world's largest Arts Festival; during 2005 the Edinburgh Fringe Festival saw more than 735 group's stage more than 1,800 different shows with 26,995 performers in 247 venues. The Edinburgh Fringe Festival has grown every year since its humble and obscure beginnings and is now well established as a leading arts festival, attracting millions of visitors from all over the world.

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival celebrated its 60th year in 2007 and its future is secure as the leading place to perform and display. Anyone can register to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. If you want to register you need to contact the official 'Fringe office' who do not organise any shows or pay any performers, they are simply the organisers of the event.

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