Like a hairy man-purse locally known a ‘sporran‘, the Edinburgh Festival is in full swing.

With 3964 acts descending on audiences in 540 venues, during the month of August the Scottish capital hosts the biggest arts festival in the world.

It‘s peak time for visitors to the city as well, looking to soak up the madcap atmosphere in one of Europe‘s most picturesque cities. Ticket sales last year exceeded 2 million stubs.

People come from around the world to perform at the festival and this year that includes 24 acts from Aotearoa.


All of whom are vying for the elusive “five-star review” and a shot at stardom.

Through a maze of bar-rooms and impromptu performance spaces, this unlikely springboard is where international acts are spotted and names are made.

After all, this is the festival that launched the kiwi comedy duo Flight the Conchords on the world stage.

But, as much as you‘d like to, you can‘t possibly see them all.

Tourists navigating through the infamously unforgiving cobbled streets are prone to festival fatigue (and very sore feet). The dormant volcanoes of Arthurs Seat and Edinburgh castle create a topography that will challenge anything you‘ll find in New Zealand.

That‘s why we‘ve enlisted the help of Kiwi acts – from festival veterans and first-time Fringers – to share their advice with Kiwi travellers planning a trip to the festival.

Views from the Fringe: Tips for kiwi visitors

Robin Kelly in the Auckland musical cabaret, Valarie. Photo / Supplied facebook twitter email linkedin google-plus whatsapp pinterest reddit


Producer with Last Tapes, Robin Kelly is taking the company‘s show Valarie to the Fringe. The Auckland based act was selected to perform at prestigious Summerhall space.

First fringe?
I came to Edinburgh for a week last year to visit the festival, and I‘m so grateful I did, otherwise I would have had no idea what I was walking into.

I grew up in Dunedin so Edinburgh feels a bit like home, but on an almost magical scale. The architecture of the city is awesome, and all overlooked by Arthur‘s Seat which is this monumental craggy cliff face. It‘s quite breathtaking.

The food!!!! Oh god it‘s awful. I‘ve never eaten so many shades of brown in my life.

As stupid as it may sound – go and see New Zealand work. There is such an overwhelming amount of things to see that you can get lost, and the best way to find your way out is to meet artists and get talking to them. So start with Kiwis, they will LOVE you for coming to their show and will have all the hot tips on what to get to.

The NZ ‘Stand-Out Cabaret of the Year‘, Valerie is at Summerhall, Cairns Lecture Theatre, from August 5th through 26th

On the cobbles: The cast of Don Juan, from left, Andrew Paterson, Comfrey Sanders, Susie Berry and Jonathan Price. Photo / Supplied facebook twitter email linkedin google-plus whatsapp pinterest reddit

Don Juan

Auckland actress Comfrey Sanders has travelled to Edinburgh to perform in A Slightly Isolated Dog‘s production of Don Juan.

First Fringe?
I am an Edinburgh Fringe virgin and I am loving it! I have heard so many fantastic stories and rumours about the festival experience and I‘m going to say now that I think all of them might be true.

The city is beautiful, the festival is crazy and vibrant and the people are very genuine and lovely.

There are lots of other awesome kiwi theatre to see and some great international shows as well! I would recommend finding a good coffee shop to take a breather in when you need it (Cult and Press Coffee are two good ones I‘ve discovered so far), get prepared for the hordes of performers papering the streets with flyers for their shows, pack some sturdy shoes to combat the cobble stone and lastly go and see everything you can!

The ‘interactive performance party‘ Don Juan is at Assembly George Square Theatre, The Bubble, from August 5th through 27th

Kiwi mystery: Stella Reid in The Basement Tapes. Photo / Suppled facebook twitter email linkedin google-plus whatsapp pinterest reddit

The Basement Tapes

Stella Reid is starring in her podcast-inspired Kiwi mystery The Basement Tapes to the Fringe‘s Summerhall space, with Zanetti Productions.

First Fringe?
I went to Edinburgh as an audience member in 2012. I found it very overwhelming, and had no idea what to choose to see, but looking back that may have been because of the impending sense the world was going to end. It didn‘t, thankfully. Which is why I‘m here again six years later.

So far I love the sun setting after 9PM, but something tells me that is a seasonal thing. I love the accents, the architectures, and the acrobats required to walk on cobblestones. The atmosphere of the fringe takes over the city like a warm blanket or a smooth virus; but that depends which way you look at it.

Edinburgh‘s streets are real surprises. I‘ve found myself lost numerous times and streets seem to repeat on me. The layout is like a Escher drawing.

Drink water, get good shoes that AREN‘T your costume, don‘t try to see it all at once!

The Basement Tapes is at Summerhall‘s Former Womens Locker Room, from August 5th through 26th

Not in our Neighbourhood: Jamie McCaaskill and Kali Kopae star at The Guilded Baloon. Photo/ Supplied facebook twitter email linkedin google-plus whatsapp pinterest reddit

Not in our Neighbourhood

Jamie McCaskill is in Edinburgh with Not in Our Neighbourhood, a drama from Wellington production company Tikapa.

First Fringe?
It‘s the first time our company has come to Edinburgh which was overwhelming getting here, but we‘re really glad that we‘re here now

Loving the old buildings everywhere and hearing the accent all around us. Beautiful city only amplified by the festival.

Nothing to dislike, though if summer was like this all the time I‘d be taking a Pacific island holiday regularly.

My tip would be to not plan too much and go with your impulse for seeing shows. You might discover an absolute gem in some obscure venue that hasn‘t been start rated yet.

Not in Our Neighbourhood is at The Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre, from August 3rd through 26th

Ask Scarlett: Jes Haugh returns to the cobbles as a performer. Photo/Supplied facebook twitter email linkedin google-plus whatsapp pinterest reddit

Ask Scarlett

For Kiwi Jess Haugh, who goes by her stage alias Scarlett Lashes, this is not her first Fringe but it will be her first not as an audience member.

First Fringe?
I visited last year during the Fringe and was so inspired by the amazing shows I decided to come back and perform myself.

I love all the little alleyways in the old town, you can discover a hideaway bar or venue anywhere; The people are great too, really friendly.

Don‘t get overwhelmed “It‘s a little crazy how massive the programme is. The streets get packed so allow extra time to walk anywhere. Be spontaneous with some of the shows you see, some of the best things I went to were decided on 20 minutes beforehand.

Ask Scarlet a musical variety act is at Laughing Horse @ The Phoenix, from August 3rd through 14th

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2018: New Zealand acts

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