Ladyboys of Bangkok to move to Fountainbridge site

The Ladyboys of Bangkok. Picture: Kate Chandler
The Ladyboys of Bangkok. Picture: Kate Chandler
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ONE of the Fringe’s best-selling and longest-running shows is set to return this year after securing what organisers described as a “better” venue.

The Ladyboys of Bangkok learned last month that they would be ousted from their prime location on the Meadows after 17 years on the site.

The show lost out to promoter Underbelly by the tightest of margins in a new bidding process designed to give a cash boost for the city’s parks.

But terms have now been agreed with the city council for the Ladyboys to perform at the Fountainbridge Brewery site, two acres of derelict land previously used by NoFit State Circus.

Ladyboys founder and promoter Phillip Gandey said the Fountainbridge site was “in some ways a better location”.

He said: “It’s not going to be soggy underfoot, and it will be easier to park nearby.

“We will have a lot more room than we had on the Meadows, and it is quicker to walk to the site from Princes Street which is another bonus.”

The council confirmed that organisers had requested the use of a site and that discussions were “ongoing”, with details “yet to be finalised”.

But Mr Gandey said the site had been offered to them at a “comparable” rate to the 
Meadows. He added: “I hope the people that have supported us on the Meadows are going to be happy with the new site.

“Our main consideration was always for local Edinburgh people. They are our core customers who supported our show for the last 17 years.

“We could have gone for a site like Princes Street Gardens. But we were conscious that, while this site may have been more convenient for Festival-goers, it may have been less convenient for local people.”

Councillor Steve Cardownie, former festivals champion, predicted that the show’s thousands of supporters would be relieved at the news.

“The Ladyboys is the most successful Fringe show that has ever been and I’m sure that a legion of fans will be delighted that they will be performing in Edinburgh again,” he said.

Cllr Richard Lewis, who took over from Mr Cardownie as festivals champion earlier this week, described the site as a “great venue” within a cultural hub that includes the Lyceum, Usher Hall, Filmhouse and Traverse Theatre.

He said: “It’s great that they have been able to come back because we know they have a loyal and regular crowd. I think the Festival is spreading out and having more separate hubs can only be a good thing.”

Meanwhile, the Ladyboys are still waiting to hear back from the council’s solicitors after losing the Meadows to Underbelly.

The tendering process was branded “ludicrous” by Ladyboys bosses after they lost out in a close-fought battle.

Lawyers representing the group have written to the city asking why the rules were amended after the closing date for bids on January 15 – after interested parties were asked to provide information on their estimated revenues.