Monday, August 31, 2009

Edinburgh Festival Insider - Venue of the year 2009

With 100s of venues across the city - from the 'big three' of the Assembly, Pleasance and Gilded Balloon to the likes of private residences and restaurants - there's almost as wide a choice of places to see shows as there are performances to enjoy.

The nominations for the Edinburgh Festival Insider Venue of the Year Award 2009 are:
  • C Venues. Particularly the multi-levelled labyrinth in Chambers Street, culminating in the wonderful Urban Garden. A great place to hang out and mingle with performers who keep the spirit of the Fringe alive.
  • Venue 150 at the EICC. With its air-conditioning, ample legroom and modern decor, this feels far removed from many of the hot, cramped and crumbling venues elsewhere.
  • St George's West. Few things can compare to witnessing some world-class music being performed in front of St George's beautiful stained-glass rose window.
  • Spaces venues. Played host to some small first-time groups on a budget and therefore brought some interesting - and in the case of productions like Stitches, exceptional - new talent to the Fringe
  • New Town Theatre / Universal Arts. A wonderfully diverse programme in the grand and only slightly spooky Masonic Hall on George Street.
And the winner is...

Venue 150 at the EICC

Although the EICC has been used as a Fringe venue in the past, this year it featured a far wider and more adventurous programme than ever. With close ties to Universal Arts and The World Festival, it saw two amazing world music shows, the wonderful Sambor Dudzinksi and his Time(less) Machine, Fred MacAulay's daily breakfast show, Fringe Select, a great cafe and more.
Besides its aforementioned comfort, its willingness to take a little bit of a risk results in it being my favourite venue this year - especially as its success during the Fringe could see more and more shows of a similar ilk being featured there outwith the Festival season.

For a resident like me, the chance of that is enough for me to give Venue 150 the:


  1. Nice award! But surely Underbelly is one of the 'big ones' as well??

    Louise Ridley

  2. That's a good point - I suppose I always think of the Underbelly (the one in the Cowgate, as opposed to the Udderbelly) as being one of those old stalwarts of the Fringe that has been there almost since time began - before it got incorporated into the company of the 'giants' as well. Of those, it's the one that still seems to put on a diverse programme, rather than relying on the huge crowd-pullers.