Featuring a captivating mix of acts by new and accomplished talent, the Gilded Balloon returns in August with a big and bold program of exceptional entertainment.
Britney Spears, mental health, fitness, relationships, disability and sex are just a few of the themes covered, while hilarious storytelling, music and magic take kids on an unforgettable journey of laughter and of self-discovery.
“We are thrilled to launch our full show schedule after nearly two and a half years,” rejoiced the artistic director Karen Koren. “We are incredibly proud to work with great international and local shows, artists and companies to showcase their work at this 75e Edinburgh Fringe Festival anniversary for Scotland – and the world!
Fellow art director Katy Koren said: We are working hard to ensure this year’s Fringe is the best it can be for everyone involved and excited to support everyone who works with us to thrive this summer. Our program truly has something for everyone, and we hope locals and tourists alike will purchase tickets to once again support such incredible creative talent at the Fringe.
Want fun and feminism? Take note: Aisha Hazarikathe state of the nation and Elf LyonsRaven’s horrifying comedy, inspired by Stephen King, is not to be missed. And there’s more: straight out of Live at The Apollo, Mock the Week and The Last Leg, nominated for Best Newcomer Maisie Adam‘s Buzzed over Grace CampbellFringe’s highly anticipated return after her sold-out 2019 show about her two lifelong passions: men and herself. Also, BBC Radio Scotland presenter Kaye Adams brings his show How to be 60: Live!
Julie Jay’s This Is Toxic is centered on the survival of sexism but, above all, is a tribute to the “princess of pop” Britney Spears. Everyone’s Favorite Tennis Mom Judy Murray joins actor and comedian Chris Forbes on The Duncan and Judy Show – Duncan being Judy’s other son!
Sharing a poignant story you won’t soon forget, Harriet Dyer is an award-winning comedian and mental health advocate while The guilty feminist hits us with a laugh out loud routine. Other notable performers are Eleanor Tiernan, Esther Manito, Alice Fraser, Lou Conran, Anna Clifford, Janeane Garofalo of the United States and much more!
Exploring the diagnosis, relationships, sexuality, creativity and history of autism, Ian LynamThe Autistic License aims to prove that people with autism have more to offer than just being good at math. Lost Voice Guy (aka Lee Ridley) presents his brand new show Cerebral LOL-sy at Gilded Balloon. With a Geordie accent, the winner of The Britain’s Got Talent and star of Ability on BBC Radio 4 pokes fun at his life as a disabled person in a post-apocalyptic world. When the New York Times asked Jamie MacDonald “What is the worst that can happen to you? Blindness has won! But Jamie isn’t so sure. The Life on the Blink (BBC Radio 4) and Blind Ambition (BBC Two) star once hated his eyes, now he loves them (a similar trip he had with olives).
Spoons per Jon Canter is a sharp and touching piece about the revenge of a marriage counselor who spent 35 years with bickering partners. Jon has worked alongside Dawn French, Richard Wilson, Fry and Laurie and Lenny Henry.
Winner of the first triple fringe Henry NaylorAfghanistan Isn’t Funny is an extraordinary award-winning performance that takes us back to the beginning of modern Afghan tragedy. Birds of passage in the twilight by Kat Woods is dark, comedic theater that unveils some of life’s deep complexities. Award-winning writer Keir McAllister‘s The Intervention is a dark comedy full of fun twists while Jack DochertyBAFTA-winning star of Scot Squad, delivers a tender yet playful tale as he grapples with lost youth, love, fatherhood and truth in Nothing But.
Cameron Young is one of the hottest names in modern magic and has appeared on national television shows such as Britain’s Got Talent, Penn & Teller: Fool Us and Tu Si Que Vales. Her A Secret Show debuts at the Fringe this year. There’s more magic than Tom Crosby, Kevin Quantum, Pete Heat and headliner and main comic Pete Firman.
Jesus L’Oreal it’s so worth it! Sassy, dyslexic, he’s the ultimate lifestyle guru showcasing an hour of high-octane song and dance. His Jehovah fitness will help you build those Pentecostal muscles. Jazz Emu is there to clear his name. He can explain why, and when it comes to theatrical wrestling, Ragnarok Myth is ready for the rounds.
Stream Gilded Balloon’s shiny podcast To hear Lynn Ferguson, Neil Harington and the one and only Chesney Hawkes discuss temporary epiphanies and, most likely, swear words! Each day a different guest joins this unlikely trio to reveal their perspective on life and in return, Chesney plays their version of their favorite, festival favorite song. Fred MacAulay makes a welcome return with ‘In Conversation’ featuring star comedy and TV guests.
Other major players in Gilded Balloon’s lineup include American comic and actress Jeanne Garofalolead singer of rock band King Crimson Jakko Jakszykwho launches his solo piece The road to Ballina directed by Michael Attenborough, Chris Gethard, Tehran Von Ghasri, Samy Obeid and Saturday Night Live Sarah Sherman (aka Sarah Squirm), known for her surreal, body-horror comedy.
For the little ones, Fergus and Kate’s Song uses storytelling, music and animation to encourage children to celebrate their differences. A Ladder to the Stars is a heartfelt and humorous story of what can happen when the universe hears their dreams.
Britain’s cutest fox Basil Brush (Boom! Boom!) takes them on a journey of laughter, storytelling and song. It’s a show specially written for the live stage, full of fun and excitement for the whole family. (For adult fans of the early fox book for Unleashed… and Uncut).
The haunted bookstore has a story for anyone who can take on the dreadful, the ghostly, and downright grizzly. There’s also Magic Roman’s Summer Vacation, The Dark Room, Pirates and Princesses vs Sea Monsters and award-winning films. Marcel LucontThe awful children’s game show called Les Enfants Terribles. For a collision between theater, dance and circus, where the public chooses the order of the show, Fruit Flies Like a Banana is a must.
Starting earlier at 11:30 p.m. (not 1:00 a.m. as before) is the legendary Late’n’live and the social leith makes its Fringe debut – the Gilded Balloon’s regular year-round variety show brings big names from the Fringe to Leith every week. Located in Lothian Street, the Golden balloon at the Museum welcomes Attenborough and his animals, Boris Live at Five and other stellar performers.
To celebrate 35 years of So you think you’re funny?, the famed Gilded Balloon Comedy Newcomer Contest has backed hundreds of the biggest names in comedy in their first year of careers. Supporting last year’s winners, the mixed Gilded Balloon show sees Andy Watts, Rae Brogan and winner Omar Badawy to get on stage. The winner of the 2019 contest also makes his debut Finlay Christie. Previous contestants and winners of So you think you’re funny? to understand Aisling Bea, Pierre Kay, Lee Mac, Romesh Ranganathan, Tom Allen, Kevin Bridges, Maisie Adam, and Sara Pascoe.
The competition heats and the Grand Finals take place live at Gilded Balloon and online with streaming partner Next Up. Grab tickets to see where the future comedy begins.