The Edinburgh Festivals 2021: a Covid-era Return


  • Mark Brown



This article offers an overview of the live theatre programmes of the 2021 Edinburgh International Festival (EIF) and Edinburgh Festival Fringe as they sought to make a tentative return to live, in-person drama following the hiatus enforced by the Covid 19 pandemic in 2020. It attempts to evoke for the reader the significant differences created by the pandemic between the 2021 events and a more typical festival year, and considers whether the reduced size of the live programmes (particularly that of the Fringe) resulted in a much diminished experience for theatregoers. The article then considers the key theatre production of the EIF, (namely, the world premiere of Enda Walsh’s Medicine) and the author’s selection of what he considers to be the strongest live theatre shows on the Fringe, (those being: Grid Iron theatre company’s Doppler; Mamoru Iriguchi’s Sex Education Xplorers (S.E.X); and Michael John O’Neill’s This is Paradise). 

Keywords: Covid; pandemic; curated; free market; commercial; Edinburgh International Festival; Fringe; Enda Walsh; Traverse; Grid Iron; Ben Harrison; Mamoru Iriguchi; Michael John O’Neill