Fringe mainstays unveil new MultiStory venue

Gilded Balloon, Zoo, Traverse Theatre and Dance Base will join together this August to programme a new open-air festival hub called MultiStory

Article by Jamie Dunn | 13 Jul 2021
  • NCP Castle Terrace

This year’s Fringe is going to look and feel very, very different. It turns out that some of Edinburgh’s centuries-old buildings, warren-like venues and literal dank caves that host the world’s largest arts festival every August are not ideal places to spend time while an ever-changing virus continues to run through the population.

But necessity is the mother of invention, as they say. This year will see four of the Fringe’s major venues join forces to curate a new open-air festival hub called MutiStory. The name is a slight giveaway for its location: it will be situated at the NCP Car Park at Castle Terrace.

From 6 to 29 August, MultiStory will host a programme of comedy, theatre, dance, family shows, music and poetry performances. Fringe mainstays like Jason Byrne and Fred MacAulay will be among the comedy acts with the latter performing Fred MacAulay and Friends, which will see the veteran standup joined by the likes of Maisie Adam, Chris Forbes, and Susie McCabe. A younger crowd will probably snap up tickets for TikTok favourite Paul Black; the Glasgow-based writer, actor and comedian will perform his sketch show Worst Case Scenario.

Traverse Theatre will be bringing a brace of plays from Oràn Mór’s A Play, a Pie and a Pint series to Edinburgh: Aye, Elvis by Morna Young, described as “an alternative love story about escapism, identity and a Doric Elvis”, and Chic Murray: A Funny Place to put a Window by Stuart Hepburn, a comedy about the glittering but flawed life of the eponymous Scots comedian. Traverse also present Class Act, the theatre’s flagship schools project which will feature a selection of pieces created by young people from across Edinburgh.

Dance Base’s lively contribution to MultiStory includes Celebrating Okoe, a tribute to the drum master Bortier Okoe by African Groove Collective – we’re told to expect Ghanaian rhythms mixed with Scottish Jazz spirit for an explosion of kpanlogo grooves and incredible dancing. Elsewhere, Booker Prize-winner Ben Okri OBE and Edinburgh-based choreographer Charlotte Jarvis combine for Starting from First Position, a performance of movement and spoken word "reflecting on life’s constant demand for improvisation". Dance Base also presents Slanjayvah Danza and Dance Ihayami’s Shiva’s Camino, described as “a celebration of how culture crosses borders” and Eowyn Emerald Barrett’s Your Tomorrow, which examines the impact of Parkinson’s disease and the power of human connection.

There’s also a collaboration between former poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy and musician John Sampson, and a show from Edinburgh-based six-piece Celtic fusion band Shooglenifty. Theatre company Dirty Protest presents Double Drop, a play combining 90s English rave culture with Welsh Eisteddfod, Edinburgh drag queen Alice Rabbit makes her Fringe debut with Alice Rabbit’s AYE-Cons, and Scottish actor Leah McCrae will be returning to Edinburgh with her one woman comedy show My Big, Fat, Fabulous Diary.

Among the family shows, meanwhile, are Return to the Fringe! by Funbox (creators of The Singing Kettle); eco-musical Bicycle Boy, where the show is powered by the kids and their exhausted parents; and a pantomimic riff on Rapunzel from Kapow.

All that, plus you’ll be fed and watered with street food courtesy of The Pitt and tasty beverages from Innis & Gunn.

MultiStory, Castle Terrace, 6-29 Aug; most shows listed above are on sale now at