Assembly at the Edinburgh Fringe

Among Edinburgh Fringe venues, Assembly (aka Assembly Festival) is perhaps one of the most famous and recognisable brands, and has earned a reputation for hosting top tier Fringe performances.

William Burdett-Coutts, Assembly Festival's grey-haired director, the "grand-daddy of the Fringe", has steered the organisation for decades from a single venue with a dozen or so staff to an operation involving hundreds of performers and support staff.

The organisation was historically associated with the Assembly Rooms on George Street, which it returned to in 2017 after an absence of seven years.

Assembly will also has a big presence at the Edinburgh University campus area in George Square Gardens and Studios, with a major venue at the top of the Mound at Assembly Hall, as well as the smaller Assembly Roxy and Assembly Checkpoint.

Tickets for all the Assembly venues can be booked at one single box office number or on its web site:

Box office telephone (0131) 623 3030

Web site

Assembly History

As well as operating out of the Assembly Rooms on George Square venue until 2010, Assembly introduced a new venue in a big tent Assembly @ Princes St Gardens.

In 2008, due to financial losses in 2007, Assembly was operating just 3 venues under the Assembly banner. Assembly's Expansion in 2007, to 8 venues with some 600 staff (not including the additional 500 people working on the shows themselves), proved to be too much.

Among those venues axed was its Aurora Nova contemporary dance programme at St. Stephen's Church and comedy at the Edinburgh Comedy Room.

Universal Arts continued with two other former Assembly venues: Universal Arts, and the Hill Street Theatre

In 2009, Assembly's venues included its two main ones - Assembly Hall on The Mound and Assembly Rooms on George Street - as well as Assembly @ Royal Botanic Garden and Assembly @ 7 Holyrood Road.

The Assembly Rooms were closed during the 2011 festival and re-opened following renovations in 2012. Assembly fought, unsuccessfully, the controversial plan to put a restaurant and retail outlets on the bottom floor of the venue. In 2012, Assembly lost tenancy of the venue to the similar sounding but separate organisation "Assembly Rooms Festival".

In 2019, Assembly had over 242 shows in a range of temporary and permanent performance spaces across five different sites. As well as the Assembly Rooms, Assembly was back at Assembly Hall at the top of the Mound, the bustling tented area in Assembly George Square Gardens, Assembly Roxy, and Assembly Checkpoint.

After the pandemic led to the cancellation of all summer festivals, Assembly returned in-person in 2021 with a slimmed down, hybrid programme of shows: in-person shows were at the spiegeltent Palais du Variété in George Square Garden and Assembly Roxy, while there was also an online programme under the banner Assembly Showcatcher.