The Fringe: A Platform for the New or a Forum for Those we Love?

As Speakers Corner’s finest comedy acts prepare for the annual pilgrimage to Scotland, the team picks our favourite acts – all lining up to take the festival-going masses by storm. But will these big names steal the show, or will there be room for new acts to shine?

66 years ago a group of dejected artists, feeling cut off from the new Edinburgh International Festival, came together, forged a space of their own, and called it The Fringe.

Its appeal was in its defiance and independence, but as the years have passed the Fringe has become absorbed by the mainstream establishment, and the lines between those who have ‘made it’ in the commercial world, and those who are still climbing blindly towards elusive recognition, are blurred.

The creeping professionalism of the fringe is demonstrated by the big-name TV comedians, like Mark Dolan - appearing at this year’s Festival with his hilarious new stand-up show You’re Awesome! Filling a major venue, and preceding his appearance with an impressive publicity campaign is the mark of an established comedian. But it doesn’t mean that he will detract from the equally valuable lesser known acts, at the early stages of their careers, and intent on making a name for themselves.

Speakers Corner will be keeping a close eye on many such acts this year, including Howard Read; Jarlath Regan; Lucy Porter; Joe Lycett; Ellie Taylor; Charlie Baker; David Elms and Patrick Monahan.

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