Largest arts festival on earth launches 2013 programme

David Chadderton

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013, the largest arts festival in the world that annually contributes £142 million to the Scottish economy, officially launched its programme on Thursday 30 May, featuring more performances of more shows than last year and a few new venues.

This year, 273 venues will host 45,464 performances of 2,871 different shows, including 713 free shows, roughly a third of which are categorised as theatre, musicals, opera or dance.

While the total number of venues is down from last year's 279, there are a few new ones this year. Underbelly expands its programme into a new 200-capacity studio called Topside built onto the back of the Festival Theatre. Paterson's Land, normally used for teacher training by Moray House School of Education, will present work from leading Scottish companies including Scottish Opera, National Theatre of Scotland, Tron Theatre and Theatre Uncut.

The Arthur Conan Doyle Centre will present shows in the drawing room of its Victorian townhouse. Coinciding with its Scottish comedy greats exhibition, the Scottish Portrait Gallery will host two Fringe events. Paradise Green will open well-known cultural venue Grayfriars Kirkhouse as Paradise in the Kirkhouse, and the former Forest Fringe building will open as Assembly Checkpoint. Also, NoFit State Circus will present its show Bianco in a custom-built tent on the site of the former Fountain Brewery.

The McEwan Hall returns as a venue after two years closure for repair work to its organ, and leading Fringe and all-year-round venue Traverse Theatre will have a special Fringe celebration for its fiftieth anniversary.

For booking tickets, Fringegoers will see the return of the Glasgow Box Office at Queen Street Station, which last year saw ticket sales from Glasgow postcodes increase by nearly a fifth, and the Fringe App for iOS and Android users to browse shows, buy tickets, see the Half Price Hut listings and find out more information about the Fringe in general. New for this year is a Facebook app with facilities to browse the programme and buy tickets through Facebook.

For more information, see www.edfringe.com.