Summerhall share 2024 Edinburgh Fringe programme

Summerhall will be bringing another eclectic selection of theatre and performance to Edinburgh this August, as well as some of the coolest club nights around

Article by Jamie Dunn | 09 May 2024
  • A History of Fortune Cookies. Sean Wai Keung

There are few more exciting places to be than Summerhall in August. The year-round Edinburgh arts venue can be relied upon to bring some of the most exciting indie theatre to the Fringe each year, and with their 2024 Fringe programme being announced today, it looks like this year is no different. As ever, it is an eclectic mix of shows from all over the world filled with challenging and forward-thinking work.

“Summerhall’s 2024 programme reflects the unstable state of the globe, with artists probing questions surrounding identity, mental health, grief and loss, racism, Queerness, parenting and ageing, and connection, with both romantic and platonic love,” says Summerhall.

Award-winners bringing shows to Summerhall

One show to look forward to each year is the one from Summerhall’s Autopsy Award winner, the annual prize which helps an artist making boundary-pushing performance work in Scotland undertake an Edinburgh Fringe run. This year’s Autopsy Award went to performance maker, poet and self-professed foodie Sean Wai Keung, who is presenting A History of Fortune Cookies. Described as “an intimate, highly unique performance”, the show is limited to ten audience members. Wai Keung will bake each of them a fortune cookie while performing an oral history of these iconic Chinese after-dinner snacks.

Another show coming to Summerhall through an annual award is queer clowning performance plewds from non-binary artist Kathrine Payne. Payne is the winner of the Mary Dick Award, a prize in collaboration with Laura Murphy and Birds of Paradise that offers a supported run for d/Deaf or disabled artists. Meanwhile, The Meadows Awards, which support artists of colour, goes to two shows: Yolanda Mercy’s Failure Project, which examines what it means to fail and recover from failure, and Lula Mebrahtu’s OommoO - I am a Walking Universe, which explores Afrofuturism through an East African lens of a first generation immigrant.

Summerhall's Fringe theatre highlights

VL looks a laugh. It’s from the same creative team that brought us the hilarious Square Go (writers Kieran Hurley and Gary McNair) and like that show, it follows the story of two high school lads – in this case, they still have anxiety about having VLs aka Virgin Lips. VL is from Francesca Moody Productions, who’ve scored major successes at the Fringe before with Baby Reindeer and Fleabag, so also look out for their other shows Weather Girl, a dark comedy about the destruction of our planet, and I’m Almost There, Todd Almond’s one man show that’s a poignant modern love story told in song.

The brilliant Bryony Kimmings brings a new play to the Fringe: for Show Pony, she’s teamed up with Berlin-based company still hungry to tell the story of female acrobats in crisis as they approach middle age. It’s described as “part circus show, part training session, part open-heart surgery”. ​​Glasgow playwright and live foley artist Guy Woods will be also at Summerhall with Puddles & Amazons, a “queer coming-of-age story of grief, male tenderness and fluids” – expect live audio mixing, mild audience interaction, and well, fluids. Also catching the eye is REVENGE: After the Levoyah, which sees Nick Cassenbaum back at Summerhall with a two-hander comedy following twins who are enlisted to kidnap the then-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. It’s described by Summerhall as a “ragtag-Yiddishe-heist examining antisemitism in the diaspora, and the dangers of collective hysteria”.

Ancient Greek myths are combined with live music in Wright&Grainger's two-parter Half Man || Half Bull; part one reimagines the stories of Daedalus and Icarus, and part two is concerned with Theseus and the Minotaur. New Zealand theatremaker Karin McCracken will also be in town with Heartbreak Hotel – we’re told it combines “story, science and synth to examine what happens in our bodies when we are heartbroken”. Fans of Traitors should head along to Werewolf, another show McCracken is bringing to Summerhall with Joel Baxendale. Based on the similar game of deception, it features Stella Reid and Hannah Kelly.

A couple of royals get reanimated in Queens, which sees Scotland’s Mary Stuart and England’s Elizabeth I return as undead, washed-up drag acts – absurdist comic shenanigans ensue. Australian musical comedian Darby James turns the process of sperm donation into a cabaret performance in Little Squirt (which sounds like classic Fringe to us). Fringe legends Sh!t Theatre are also back at Summerhall with Or What's Left of Us, a show exploring grief through folk music – be prepared for a singalong!

Edinburgh Comedy Award-winner Adam Riches has a show about tennis legend Jimmy Connors and his wild comeback at the 1991 US Open – it's called, simply, Jimmy. Grid Iron, meanwhile, pay tribute to country music icon June Carter Cash in The Woman, Her Music and Me. It’s written and performed by Charlene Boyd, while Cora Bissett directs. And the mighty James Rowland is back with James Rowland Dies at the End of the Show, the final part of his trilogy, which began with Learning to Fly and Piece of Work.

Club nights at Summerhall

Those are just a few of the theatre highlights. There’s also Summerhall’s Fringe art exhibitions, and plenty of club nights. Optimo Espacio returns to Summerhall for their first east coast party of 2024. There's drag and ballroom from Q’IWA Vogue Night. Faerie Circle is a brand new night amplifying feminine and Queer performers, and some of The Skinny’s favourite regular club nights like FEMMERGY, Hot Mess, and 249 all come to Summerhall with special Fringe events too. Closing out the Fringe at Summerhall will be LUCKYME®, who’ll be bringing the house down with the LUCKYME® Festival Closing Party.

For full Summerhall listings and tickets, head to