Edinburgh Festival Fringe: Dame Judi Dench to appear in stage show

Dame Judi Dench is to take to the stage at this year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe – 64 years after her first performance in the city.

The 88-year-old Oscar winner will recall highlights of her career in a one-off show at the Playhouse. The James Bond, Mrs Brown, Belfast and Philomena star will be in conversation with Fringe favourite Gyles Brandreth, the author, comic and broadcaster.

The actress is expected to sing and perform excerpts of Shakespearean works during her appearance in the first week of the Fringe. Tickets for the show on August 8, which will cost from £25 to £95, will go on sale on Friday at 10am.

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The Playhouse has already confirmed Fringe appearances by comics Jimmy Carr and Daniel Sloss. Born in Yorkshire in 1934, Dame Judi made her first professional stage appearance in September 1957 with London’s Old Vic Company, playing Ophelia in Hamlet.

Two years later she performed at the Edinburgh International Festival in the play The Double Dealer. The show. Staged at the Royal Lyceum Theatre, it also featured Maggie Smith, Joss Ackland, Moyra Fraser and Donald Houston.

Dame Judi said: “I can’t wait to be in Edinburgh again, I’ve always loved the city and have many fond memories of it.”

Brandreth has already confirmed a one-man show for this year’s Fringe. He said: “Judi Dench is incredible. She loves doing new things – especially things she’s never done before.

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“When she heard I was going to be in Edinburgh in August, she said ‘that sounds rather fun, can I come, too?’ As a festival veteran, there’s no friendlier or more fun audience in the world. It’s going to be awesome.

Dame Judi Dench. Picture: Dan KitwoodDame Judi Dench. Picture: Dan Kitwood
Dame Judi Dench. Picture: Dan Kitwood

"These days, Judi appears on screen all the time, but we very rarely see her on stage. This is going to be something unique and very special.

“She’s determined to give Edinburgh a show to remember. She won’t just be telling fun stories. She is promising us some Shakespeare and some singing as well.”

Other Fringe shows on sale include Stewart Lee, Paul Sinha, Bridget Christie, Robin Ince, Frank Skinner, Geoff Norcott, Greg McHugh, Paul Merton, Susie McCabe, Rhod Gilbert and Danny Bhoy.

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Mayor of Manchester Andy Burnham and Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar will be part of The Stand’s “In Conversation With” strand.

Dame Judi Dench. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for BFI)Dame Judi Dench. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for BFI)
Dame Judi Dench. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for BFI)