Edinburgh Festival Fringe: Old Town venue launches all-female comedy line-up

One of the Edinburgh festival programme’s most prominent venues is set to launch an all-female line-up of comedy acts in what has been billed a first for the Fringe.

The Tron, situated at Hunter Square in the city’s Old Town, will feature only female stand-up comedy acts during its Festival Fringe run in August.

The venue, managed by comedy club Just the Tonic, will feature nine different daily performances, including five acts making their festival debut.

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Those billed among the line-up will include Leister Mercury Comedy Award winner Nina Gilligan, 2020 UK Pun Champion Adele Cliff, Canadian Academy Award-nominated actress and comedian Aliya Kanani and London-based stand-up Kate Barron.

Adele Cliff will be among the female comedy performers at the Tron

The programme is running from August 4 to 28.

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Just The Tonic founder Darryl Martin said: “As we were programming The Tron, we realised, that without any actual intention, the room seemed to be mainly female performers.

"So, with only a couple of slots left, we actively sought out more to create an all-female venue. It wasn’t driven by us wanting to prove a point or to be all political. It was going that way, so we pushed it further.

"So, the point is, this happened because we chose a load of funny people to be in the space, and it just turned out they were female. Make of that what you will.

"Over the years, when booking comedy clubs, we have tried to make sure our line-ups are balanced. I would say that the way this happened goes to show that the comedy industry is heading towards a more balanced ratio of male to female performers.

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"It was definitely not that way 27 years ago when I started booking comedy, but these things take time to change. Cultural shifts take years to come to fruition. Without any real effort, we have now got a fully female line up in one of Edinburgh’s finest comedy venues, all programmed with ‘being funny’ as the first criteria.”

Organisers of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe are targeting a major comeback after two Covid-impacted years, having received a £1.5 million public funding boost to help the event bounce back from the impact of the pandemic.