The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the world's largest arts festival, which in 2018 spanned 25 days and featured more than 55,000 performances of 3,548 different shows in 317 venues. Established in 1947 as an alternative to the Edinburgh International Festival, it takes place annually in Edinburgh, Scotland, in the month of August; the Edinburgh Festival Fringe has become a world-leading celebration of arts and culture, surpassed only by the Olympics in terms of global ticketed events. As an event it "has done more to place Edinburgh in the forefront of world cities than anything else", it is an open access performing arts festival, meaning there is no selection committee, anyone may participate, with any type of performance. The official Fringe Programme categorises shows into sections for theatre, dance, physical theatre, cabaret, children's shows, opera, spoken word and events. Comedy is the largest section, making up over one-third of the programme and the one that in modern times has the highest public profile, due in part to the Edinburgh Comedy Awards.
The Festival is supported by the Festival Fringe Society, which publishes the programme, sells tickets to all events from a central physical box office and website, offers year-round advice and support to performers. The Society's permanent location is at the Fringe Shop on the Royal Mile, in August they manage Fringe Central, a separate collection of spaces in Appleton Tower and other University of Edinburgh buildings, dedicated to providing support for Fringe participants during their time at the festival; the Fringe board of directors is drawn from members of the Festival Fringe Society, who are Fringe participants themselves – performers or administrators. Elections are held once a year, in August, Board members serve a term of four years; the Board appoints the Fringe Chief Executive Shona McCarthy who assumed the role in March 2016. The Chief Executive operates under the chair Timothy O'Shea; the Fringe started life when eight theatre companies turned up uninvited to the inaugural Edinburgh International Festival in 1947.
With the International Festival using the city's major venues, these companies took over smaller, alternative venues for their productions. Seven performed in Edinburgh, one undertook a version of the medieval morality play "Everyman" in Dunfermline Abbey, about 20 miles north, across the River Forth in Fife; these groups aimed to take advantage of the large assembled theatre crowds to showcase their own alternative theatre. Although at the time it was not recognised as such, this was the first Edinburgh Festival Fringe; this meant that two defining features of the future Fringe were established at the beginning – the lack of official invitations to perform and the use of unconventional venues. These groups referred to themselves as the "Festival Adjuncts" and were referred to as the "semi-official" festival, it was not until the following year, 1948, that Robert Kemp, a Scottish playwright and journalist, is credited with coining the title "Fringe" when he wrote during the second Edinburgh International Festival: Round the fringe of official Festival drama, there seems to be more private enterprise than before...
I am afraid some of us are not going to be at home during the evenings! The word "fringe" had in fact been used in a review of Everyman in 1947, when a critic remarked it was a shame the show was so far out "on the fringe of the Festival". In 1950, it was still being referred to in similar terms, with a small'f': On the fringe of the official Festival there are many praiseworthy "extras," including presentations by the Scottish Community Drama Association and Edinburgh University Dramatic Society – Dundee Courier, 24 August 1950 Since it was not yet developed, much of the early years of the Fringe has gone unrecorded, except through anecdote, it did not benefit from any official organisation until 1951, when students of the University of Edinburgh set up a drop-in centre in the YMCA, where cheap food and a bed for the night were made available to participating groups. Late night revues, which would become a feature of Fringes, began to appear in the early 50s; the first one was the New Drama Group's After The Show, a series of sketches taking place after Donald Pleasence's Ebb Tide, in 1952.
Among the talent to appear in early Fringe revues were Ned Sherrin in 1955, Ken Loach and Dudley Moore with the Oxford Theatre Group in 1958. Due to many reviewers only being able to attend Fringe events late night after the official festival was finished, the Fringe came to be seen as being about revues, it was a few years. John Menzies compiled a list of shows under the title "Other Events" in their omnibus festival brochure, but it was printer C. J. Cousland, the first to publish a listings guide, in 1954; this was funded by participating companies and was entitled "Additional Entertainments", since the name "Fringe" was still not yet in regular usage. By that year, the Fringe was attracting around a dozen companies, a meeting was held to discuss creating "a small organisation to act as a brain for the Fringe", or what The Scotsman called an "official unofficial festival". A first attempt was made to provide a central booking service in 1955 by students from the university, although it lost money, blamed on those who had not taken part.
In 1956, the famous actor Donald Wolfit performed. This was not part of the International Festival, yet nor was it in the Fringe Programme, leading him to question the value of the'Fring
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The Inspection is the third canvas in the series of six satirical paintings known as Marriage à-la-mode painted by William Hogarth. The viscount, suffering from syphilis, makes a visit to a French doctor. A black patch on the viscount’s neck is Hogarth's device for signifying the Viscount is suffering from syphilis; the French doctor is based upon Dr. Rock, his surgery was at 96, St. Martins Lane, London; the taller woman is opening a clasp knife and is turning away from the viscount whom she dislikes. Commentators variously identify her as the child's mother, the doctor's assistant or another prostitute. According to one interpretation, if she were the child's mother, Hogarth would have certainly placed mother and child together, but according to the analysis of Judy Egerton, the curator of the National Gallery's exhibition, the interpretation is different: The viscount has brought the child to the doctor because he believes he has infected her with syphilis. The woman with the knife is the girl's mother, feigning anger in order to blackmail the viscount, being set up.
The child had the disease when her mother sold her to him, either because he was not her first "protector" or because she inherited the illness from her syphilitic father, the quack doctor. The cabinet on the left has shelves crammed with a wolf's head on the top. On the left wall are two paintings of monsters: one is a man with his head below his shoulders underneath two mummies, the other of a two headed hermaphrodite; the cabinet against the rear wall has a door ajar, revealing a skeleton suggestively leaning against an embalmed body. There is a long wig on a plaster head. Fixed to the wall and on top of the cabinet, from left to right, there are: a narwal tusk, a pile of pill boxes, a bleeding basin, a glass urinal, a giant plaster head with a huge femur behind, an alchemist's tripod for holding flasks over burners, a broken mediaevial comb, a tall red Jacobean hat, two mismatched mediaeval shoes, a spur buckler and a sword and shield. On the ceiling is a stuffed crocodile with a large ostrich egg hanging from it.
The complicated mechanical contraptions on the right are identified by the inscription on the open book, as being for setting a dislocated shoulder and drawing corks out of wine bottles. An additional inscription on the book reads, "Inspected and approved by the Royal Academy at Paris," Hogarth emphasising the ignorance of the French and their scant knowledge of medicine. Georg Christoph Lichtenberg sees the basin, tripod and spurs as a suggestion that the doctor′s career has been barber, near execution and knighthood. Go back to Marriage à-la-mode: 2; the Tête à Tête Go on to Marriage à-la-mode: 4. The Toilette Return to main article National Gallery The Literary Encyclopedia