Gilded Balloon: 2018 Highlights

Gilded Balloon bring new life to the comedy, cabaret and theatre scenes with an inspiring programme and new venue in the heart of Edinburgh's West End

Advertorial by Ben Venables | 08 Jan 2018
  • Desiree Burch
Gilded Balloon
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A remarkable number of artists and events make up Gilded Balloon's 2018 programme which sees the Edinburgh Festival mainstays break out of August to introduce year-round programming to the capital. It includes weekly comedy nights, a year round roster of Fringe shows and regular monthly residences, turning The Rose Street Theatre into a social and cultural hub.


A raft of quality Fringe shows bring the animated atmosphere of Edinburgh in August to all seasons of the year. Comedy Award-winner Richard Gadd, and award nominees Mat Ewins (best show) and Brennan Reece (best newcomer) are just three highlights of a programme which is set to see about four shows per month. Comedians booked in include Charlie Baker, Alasdair Beckett-King, Desiree Birch, Catherine Bohart, Damian Clark, Grainne Maguire, Tom Stade and Fin Taylor.

Ray Bradshaw kicks off these Fringe hours with his unique show Deaf Comedy Fan (18 Jan), a stand-up show told simultaneously in two languages: his second language – English – and his first – British Sign Language.

Bradshaw also comperes one of the first weekly comedy line-up nights The Comedy Show (12-13 Jan) with Damien Clark headlining. Fern Brady (19-20 Jan) headlines the following week with Billy Kirkwood on compere duties.

There's also a chance for UK audiences to catch joint winners of Melbourne International Comedy Festival best newcomer award, Angus Gordon and Aaron Chen, who play a double bill show (14 Jan). Gilded Balloon also continues to showcase and support emerging talent with regular comedy night Nodha (7 Feb), a monthly testing ground for new and experienced comedians alike.

Monthly Residencies

Accomplished comedian and presenter Fred MacAulay's chat show In Conversation with... (14 Jan) starts a monthly residency at The Rose Theatre. His first guests are indomitable stand-up Tom Stade and Edinburgh's iconic crime writer Ian Rankin.

Stories and Stovies (25 Jan) is a new thematic storytelling night curated and hosted by adept compere and stand-up Jay Lafferty. The night is for anyone with a story to tell, so take along your inner raconteur. What's more, the stovies are included in the ticket price.

An established and essential night on the comedy scene, Watch Bad Movies with Good Comedians also arrives for a monthly residency (13 Feb). Big screen botch jobs are resurrected with live narration and insight from gifted comedians Joe Heenan and Billy Kirkwood. Their opening film is an inspired choice for which their humour will act as kryptonite: Superman 4 – The Quest for Peace. Then there's the hybrid literary salon and house party that is Sonnet Youth (20 Feb). Spoken word artist Kevin P Gilday and screenwriter Cat Hepburn bring together poets, authors, rappers, comedians and musicians for a night of audacious performances.


Dive Queer Party (5 Apr) is an unparalleled night of spoken word, music and comedy, which has evolved from a regular night in a small basement venue into a cabaret collective. It defies the mainstream and knows how to celebrate diversity and openness: late into the night, on the dancefloor and with a raucous soundtrack. 

Details of the full Gilded Balloon programme can be found at

Details of the full Gilded Balloon programme can be found online: