The University at the Festival

The University is again a major contributor to the world-famous Edinburgh Festivals.

Bristo Square during the Festival

Edinburgh is the world’s festival city where people come together from across the globe to share their passion for arts, culture and ideas.

The University is at the heart of an array of events, performances and spectacles to enjoy.


The Edinburgh Festivals website has details of all shows, venues and how to book.

Edinburgh Festivals

Largest venue provider

Our connection to the Festival Fringe can be traced to the 1950s when some students opened a drop-in centre, which was used by many performers in need of cheap food and a bed for the night.

The following year, the students set up in Old College a central box office and café for performers.

Outside the Plesance during the Festival

Today, we offer space and venues for Fringe productions from all over the world.

We are the largest venue provider for the Fringe.

Last year, 686,431 University campus festival tickets were sold by tenants including Underbelly, Pleasance, Assembly and C Venues.

Also in 2009, 19,473 attendees passed through Fringe Central at Appleton Tower.

The Festivals Office

Our involvement in the International Festival, the Fringe Festival and the International Science Festival is co-ordinated by the Festivals Office.

The team works all year round, ensuring the smooth transition from University campus to a centre for one of the world’s biggest art events.

Festival Fringe

Festival performers promote their shows

As part of the Festival Fringe our venues will lend themselves to some big performances with a mixture of comedy, theatre and musicals.

One of this year’s highlights is a performance at the Assembly Theatre featuring English actor, writer and theatre director Simon Callow, in Shakespeare the Man from Stratford.

International Festival

Two of the University’s academics will be taking part in high profile debates at the Edinburgh International Festival.

Tom Devine, Professor of Scottish History will join a distinguished panel to discuss Scotland's failed foray into colonialism at an event titled “Explorations: The Darien Venture”.

Latin American literature specialist Dr Fiona Mackintosh joins a panel to discuss the new cultural expression in South American theatre and literature at an event titled “Explorations: New voices from the landscape”.

International Book Festival

Iain Rankin at the James Tait Black Memorial Prize ceremony

One of the highlights of the International Book Festival is the award of the oldest literary prizes in Britain, the University’s James Tait Black Memorial Prizes.

Also appearing is Ewen Cameron from the School of History, Classic and Archaeology at an event to explore Scotland and its changing political relationship with England since 1880.

The Festival also features scholars from the Genomics Policy and Research Forum based at the University.

Film Festival

The Office of Life Long Learning hosted a popular course to provide an insight into the Film Festival.

The course included five film premieres and an exclusive live event.

Festival of Politics

Appearing at the Festival of Politics are numerous Edinburgh academics, including Professors Adrian Sinfield, Michael Northcott and Charlie Jeffery.

Art Festival

Meanwhile the Talbot Rice Gallery will present an exciting pair of exhibitions in the festivals season, with shows by Julie Roberts and Craigie Aitchison.