Created in the aftermath of World War II to reunite people through culture, the first Edinburgh International Festival took place in 1947. Eight companies who had not been invited to perform turned up and staged their shows on the International Festival's fringes. This was the beginning what came to be known as the 'Fringe'.
In 1958 the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society was formed to handle the burgeoning alternative scene. It published its first dedicated brochure the following year.
Today, the Fringe brochure, reflecting the growth of the festival, lists thousands of shows across many genres including comedy, theatre and dance.
The Fringe's culture of freedom of expression encourages new, experimental work to jostle with the traditional. Celebrities appear alongside unknown performers. Many now-famous actors started their careers at the Fringe long ago. Our collection of programmes and thousands of show flyers allows the evolution of the Fringe to be traced through the decades.
[Library reference: P.la.6126]