The Edinburgh Festival is here again with all the delights and stress that it entails. We’re really lucky to have the world’s largest arts festival on our doorstep but it does take a hell of a lot longer to get anywhere in August. And no disrespect to the regulars but the quality of the busking outside our office on Rose Street really does improve for this month!

One of the most difficult parts of the fringe is the overwhelming choice of shows to see every day. That’s why we’ve waded through the booklets and websites to pick out a few environmental themed favourites to share with you. There are no guarantees and we’re really keen to here what’ve you’ve enjoyed. Post your recommendations in the comments section below.

1.5 Degrees live!

Aug 12-16: Greenside at Infirmary Street
Book tickets 
Chosen by Kate, Activism Organiser
Why you picked it: Inspired by the famous reading of the Chilcot report in 2016, local Edinburgh activists have organised for over 100 scientists, performers, activists, politicians and members of the public to read the full 2018 IPCC report on the impacts global warming of above 1.5 degrees.

This crucial report lays out the human cost of the climate crisis as well as the impact on biodiversity, Arctic ice and every other corner of the planet. It also states the need for a rapid and total transformation of our society to avoid the very worst of the crisis. 1.5 Live has been built around the need for collective education and action to achieve this.

Go and listen to the hard facts about the threat facing our planet with a room full of performers, tourists and locals. Then explore the shipping container where the reading is happening, which will be full of information, stories of hope and success, as well as ideas for how people can get involved in the ever-growing climate movement!

International Climate Crisis Plays

Aug 13-17: The Studio on Potterow
Book tickets 
Chosen by Connal, Communications Officer
Why you picked it: As a communicator, I’m always interested to see how people put the facts of climate change into a fictional story. That’s why the suite of 5 new pieces as part of the International Festival is so exciting.

This series of new specially-commissioned short plays are written by emerging international writers from Brazil, China, India, South Africa and Syria. They aim to share urgent perspectives from across the world on the global climate crisis.

These lunchtime performances are free and they all look fascinating. But if I was forced, my pick would be Amy Jephta’s piece set in 2080 when climate breakdown has meant the southernmost tip of Africa is now the only habitable place left. Her story looks at the welcome that European and American climate refugees receive when they come to Africa looking for safety and compassion.

Sad Eyes to Smile With

Aug 12-17, 19-24: Greenside at Infirmary Street
Book tickets 
Chosen by Catrina, Young Friends of the Earth Scotland Co-ordinator
Why you picked it: This slam poetry performance explores queer identity and austerity – crucial themes in today’s political climate, and so important to our understanding of social justice.

The show is written and performed by the amazingly talented Ink, who is a member of the Young FoES network. They have taught us loads about using theatre and creative actions in our campaigning! When it comes to the Fringe and beyond, press and awards often ignore minority performers. It’s so important to make the effort to seek them out and support them. Check out #TransFringe to find more acts from trans and non-binary performers.

Fake News Kills World

Aug 22, 24: The Stand’s New Town Theatre
Book tickets 
Chosen by Lipa, Administrative Assistant
Why you picked it: Since 2016, I have become closely aware of how these words have single handedly changed the discussion around politics. Sometimes it has its’ uses, other times it has been used to silence the truth. Before going mainstream in 2016, fake news was principally used to attack climate science.

Richard Milne (University of Edinburgh) sets about busting those climate myths and showing how to dismantle false claims with logic and analogies – no expertise necessary! Climate change is an issue I have become more invested in and to see the push back by certain politicians and agendas dubbing it as fake news, only makes me question why there is such a resistance to acknowledge it by the “higher ups”. Richard Milne has been at the forefront of this fight and I look forward to hearing his perspective.

Fringe of Colour

Aug 2-26: Everywhere!
Learn more
Chosen by Rebecca, Digital and Events Fundraiser
Why you picked it: Okay, it’s not a single show but it is a great idea that I have to share! Edinburgh Festival is meant to be multicultural, international, and diverse; yet often it’s white performers and audiences that dominate this space. As a white person, I try my hardest to be aware of my privilege in all areas of society, including arts spaces.

Fringe of Colour aims to counter this injustice and invisibility by drawing the public’s attention to acts by people of colour. They’ve gathered together a huge list of great comedies, dance, theatre and more here. They’re also offering free tickets to young people of colour for their shows, which is equally brilliant. It’s so important that we all get behind this and show support and solidarity. More of this, please!

And there’s more…

If you’re still hungry for climate-themed shows, check out the Canada Hub who have two shows on the impacts of rising temperatures. Matt Winning returns with a storytelling climate lecture and Sam Haygarth’s debut stand up hour on the Free Fringe is about getting arrested as a climate activist!

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1 thought on “Our environmental recommendations for the Edinburgh Festival”

  1. Jessica Gioia says:

    While flyering on the High Street today I met a company who were NOT flyering because they are here to have a zero waste Fringe. They were standing in wheelie bins instead. They are BoxedIn Theatre and they have four shows, all environmentally themed.


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