Your Full Edinburgh Festival Fringe Guide For 2023

Table of Contents

Every August in the Scottish capital of Edinburgh, the world renowned Edinburgh Festival Fringe takes place. 

Established in 1947, The Fringe is the largest performance arts festival in the world and is surpassed only by the Olympics and the World Cup when it comes to global ticketed events. 

This year from the 4th until the 28th of August, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe returns with more than 3,000 shows from comedy to music to dance to theatre to musicals to variety shows to cabaret and more. 

Keen to find out more about this amazing celebration, how to get tickets or even how to prepare? Our Edinburgh Festival Fringe guide is an absolute must-read!

edinburgh festival fringe guide

What Happens At The Edinburgh Festival Fringe? 

The Festival Fringe is known across the planet as the greatest celebration of arts and culture, with artists and performers taking to the stage at hundreds of venues across the city. 

The event is open-access meaning there’s no selection committee so anyone can participate with any type of performance.

This is all part of the fun as you can see all different types of acts, good and bad! 

There’s big name performers and up-and-coming artists on the bill each year, with so much going on including theatre, comedy, dance, physical theatre, circus, cabaret, children’s shows, musicals, opera, music, spoken word, exhibitions and events.

In fact, many celebrities started off their career by performing at The Fringe, including Alan Rickman, Rowan Atkinson, Noel Fielding, Graham Norton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Emma Thompson amongst others. 

What Happens At The Edinburgh Festival Fringe? 

History Of Edinburgh Festival Fringe 

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe started off in 1947 in the wake of the second World War, when eight theatre companies turned up uninvited to the annual Edinburgh International Festival and performed on the fringe of the festival. 

In the years following, many performers followed suit performing on the fringe of Edinburgh international Festival and in 1958 the Festival Fringe Society was formed. 

Since then, the two festivals have rivalled one another running in sync in August, although nowadays The Fringe is significantly larger. 

History Of Edinburgh Festival Fringe 

When Is The Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2023? 

Every year Edinburgh Festival Fringe runs for just over three weeks in August, with the dates for this year being the 4th until the 28th. 

The festival has taken place every year since 1947, except when it was cancelled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic – it’s back now and better than ever! 

When Is The Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2023

How To Get Tickets 

There are three different types of tickets you can purchase for The Fringe, with some shows being ticketed, some being free and others being pay what you want shows. 

The price of ticketed entry depends on which performance you’re wanting to attend, as they vary from show to show, but some can cost as little as £5. 

Tickets are sold over the counter, by phone and on the official Fringe Box Office website, which are available to be purchased 24 hours a day. 

The official website lists all of the performances for 2023, and from there you can grab a ticket to the show you want to attend!

how to get tickets edinburgh fringe festival guide

Programme Of Events 

The Fringe Festival is so diverse with more than 3,000 performances taking place across three weeks offering something for everyone of any age. 

It would be hard to try and list all of the shows taking place, but we’ve listed a few of our favourites for 2023 so you can gain some inspiration for where to go! 



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Edinburgh Festival Fringe (@edfringe)

1. After The Act (A Section 28 Musical)

When it comes to shows for Edinburgh Fringe 2023, After The Act (A Section 28 Musical) is one you don’t want to miss. 

This indie musical from multi-award-winning theatre company, Breach Theatre, looks back at the impact of Section 28, a controversial law by Margaret Thatcher’s government that significantly affected the LGBTQ+ community. 

Set two decades after its appeal this show features powerful performances and a moving narrative, and is bound to leave you feeling inspired. 



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by breach (@breach_theatre)

When: 3rd-27th August 

Where: Traverse 1 

2. Trainspotting Live 

For those seeking an adrenaline-filled theatre show at Edinburgh Fringe, Trainspotting Live is a must-see. 

Based on Irvine Welsh’s iconic novel which tells the story of Mark Renton and his friends, living through the Edinburgh drug scene of the 80s, this electrifying performance brings the gritty world to life. 

This 75-minute production at The Exchange absolutely needs to be on your calendar this August, it’s been a sell out for the past 6 years and this year is the books 30th anniversary! 



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Trainspotting Live (@trainspotlive)

When: 3rd-27th August

Where: The Exchange 

3. Sunshine on Leith 

Sunshine on Leith returns yet again for a full run at the Assembly Rooms after last year’s sell-out programme of shows. 

This five-star show by Stephen Greenhorn follows the highs and lows of Ally and Davy as they negotiate families, friendships and love in this funny and moving story with songs by Scottish duo, The Proclaimers. 

Featuring a blend of catchy songs and endearing characters, this show is guaranteed to leave you with a smile on your face, make sure to get a ticket and give it a watch! 



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Captivate Theatre (@captivatetheatre)

When: 3rd-26th August 

Where: Assembly Rooms 

4. Baby Wants Candy 

If you’re in the mood for some spontaneous laughter, don’t miss Baby Wants Candy at Edinburgh Fringe Festival. 

This improvised musical comedy takes audience suggestions and transforms them into a hilarious and unforgettable performance.

No two shows are the same, making each experience unique and utterly entertaining. 

With casts in Chicago, LA, NY and an international touring company, it’s an absolute must-watch, so don’t miss out and purchase a ticket pronto! 



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Baby Wants Candy (@babywantscandy)

When: 2nd-27th August 

Where: Assembly George Square 

5. Magical Bones 

Whilst embarking on a nationwide tour, the Britain’s Got Talent and ITV’s The Ultimate Magician finalist, Magical Bones, hits Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2023. 

With awe-inspiring tricks, captivating storytelling, beautiful soulful music and breakdance moves, Magical Bones is sure to leave you in a state of wonder. 

For a fun and high-energy magic show, he will be performing at the Underbelly between 16th and 26th August so check it out! 



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Magical Bones (@magicalbones)

When: 16th-26th August 

Where: Underbelly 

6. The Way Way Deep 

Award-winning Patrick McPherson makes his anticipated return to Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2023, with his new play The Way Way Deep.

Combining bold storytelling, spoken word and original music, McPherson’s new piece follows the ecstasy and chaos of a twenty-year friendship. 

For an hour of unforgettable theatre, The Way Way Deep will be taking place at the Underbelly throughout August. 

If you and your friends only see a few shows at this year’s festival, make sure that this is one of them – tickets start at just £8.50! 



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Sam Rothera (@sam.rothera)

When: 3rd-13th, 15th-27th August 

Where: Underbelly 

That’s the end of our Edinburgh Fringe guide, with information on the history of the event, what to expect, how to get tickets and what’s on for 2023. 

It’s set to be another amazing year at the internationally acclaimed arts and culture festival, so be sure to experience it for yourself! 

What are you most looking forward to for this year’s Fringe? Let us know @prestigestudentliving.

Read next: The University Drinking Culture: The Challenge Of Being Sober During Your Student Years.