Fringe venue expands into Macdonald Holyrood Hotel

Performers: Caileigh Marshall, Michael Daviot, Libby Tamang outside Macdonald Holyrood Hotel.
Performers: Caileigh Marshall, Michael Daviot, Libby Tamang outside Macdonald Holyrood Hotel.
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A POPULAR Fringe venue is set to expand its operation in the 70th Anniversary year of the world’s biggest arts festival by going into partnership with the prestigious Macdonald Holyrood Hotel.

A regular fixture of the Fringe, Dundee-based Sweet Venues will operate three new performance spaces at the four star hotel under the banner Sweet Holyrood.

Open from 11am to 11pm daily during the festival, the venue on Holyrood Road will programme an eclectic mix of theatre, music, spoken-word, cabaret and comedy.

From its traditional Grassmarket base, Sweet Venues’ has gained a growing reputation over the years as a performer led venue, focussing both on the experiences of performers and audience members alike.

Artistic Director and co-owner JD Henshaw believes this has contributed an explosion of applications to be part of what he affectionately calls “the Sweet Family.”

He says, “We started out at the Fringe as performers and, just like many performers, had some great experiences and some not so great experiences.

“I knew that we could run a venue that would offer a boutique, high quality Fringe experience.

“One that would appeal to the performers and the audiences that travel to Edinburgh from around the world every August.

“This new partnership with Macdonald Holyrood Hotel will help us to keep doing that for an ever-increasing number of people.”

Stuart Douglas, General Manager at Macdonald Holyrood Hotel, adds, “During the Fringe, Edinburgh comes to life. Performers and visitors travel to the city from all over the world.

“It’s a great privilege for Holyrood to be a venue for the Fringe, and we hope that it is the first of many similar occasions with Sweet Venues. “The hotel is ideally-located for revellers, at the foot of the Royal Mile, a must-see for visitors to the city.”

The new venue, which will also be home to a 250 hour interactive gaming marathon, will have its own dedicated box office and foyer café bar and will operate in tandem with Sweet’s four current performance spaces in the Apex Grassmarket Hotel, which Henshaw and co-owner Annie Marrs have run for seven years.

Marrs, says, “The Fringe is the greatest show on earth, we truly believe that.

“We also believe that it should be as accessible for performers and audiences as possible.

“In Macdonald Holyrood Hotel we have found a company who share that ethos alongside a destination which perfectly fits the standards of Sweet’s EdFringe model.”

Sweet Venues’ 2017 Fringe programme will run from 4 to 27 August.

Returning Sweet performer Michael Daviot, who starred in the acclaimed production Nosferatu’s Shadow at the venue last year, says, “Sweet are the friendliest, most enthusiastic and most supportive venue on the Fringe.”