IT’S the biggest arts festival on Earth – and now Edinburgh’s Festival Fringe is to expand its reach from the confines of the Capital to big screens in cinemas across the UK.
Theatre, opera and comedy shows at Southside venue Summerhall will be broadcast on Odeon screens nationwide throughout August.
Digital arts group Hibrow has teamed up with the cinema giant to make sure people further afield can enjoy a snapshot of the Fringe, with eight new shows to be transmitted to selected Odeon screens from Dundee to London.
Today, the partnership between Hibrow Hour and the Odeon was described as an “exciting new digital frontier” for the festival.
The eight shows include three plays created by young playwrights, an operatic satire from internationally recognised artist Alison Jackson, and a one-man show from celebrated Fringe actor Steven Berkoff.
Each 90-minute programme will also include exclusive coverage of the wider Festival in a special mini-feature.
It is the first time comedy acts will also form part of the Summerhall programme since the former Royal Dick Veterinary School opened as a venue in 2011.
The first screening on August 4 will be The Dispute, a new take on Marivaux’s La Dispute, directed by National Theatre staff director and former Royal Shakespeare Company assistant director Emily Kempson.
Some of the finer details of the other shows are being kept under wraps. The cinema screenings, which will run from August 4-21, from 3.40pm, will even give Edinburgh residents the chance to see it on the big screen – with the Lothian Road and Wester Hailes Odeon branches among the 29 cinemas taking part.
Don Boyd, artistic director for Hibrow, said the project was designed to give “audiences everywhere a flavour of Edinburgh’s creative buzz”.
“Our relationship with Odeon has given us the opportunity to extend the great work pioneered by the National Theatre and the Royal Opera House in bringing exciting new shows to local cinemas all over the country,” he said.
Rupert Thompson, artistic director at Summerhall, said they were “delighted” to host the Fringe first, adding: “We are immensely proud of the programme of Festival events this year.”
And Karen Koren, founder of Edinburgh festival institution Gilded Balloon, said the link between live performance and cinema was innovative.
She said: “It’s a great idea. Good on them, I wish them every success.”