Free Festival Venue Information for Performers

Laughing Horse @ The Counting House (venue 170)

& Laughing Horse @ The Pear Tree (venue 257) 

& Laughing Horse @ The Blind Poet (venue TBC) 

38 West Nicolson Street - Click here for location Map

Venue & Performance Space Specifications

Comedy Theatre Music Musicals & Opera beigedot.gif (858 bytes) Cabaret Children's Shows Exhibitions dkgreydot.gif (858 bytes) Events
jekyllimg.gif (22518 bytes)wifi1.jpg (5748 bytes)Food AvailableThe Counting House, Pear Tree and Blind Poet all form one large complex of venues. Laughing Horse has run The Counting House since 2007, and has gradually expanded the venue with outdoor staging, a big sound, stage and light set-up in the 'Ballroom', and in 2011 the addition of outdoor food and bar service. The Counting House itself has a long Fringe history, previously being a Gilded Balloon venue, and hosting numerous shows including Eddie Izzard's final Fringe show.

The venue is located on West Nicolson Street, in the heart of the area of Edinburgh most associated with the Fringe, and is only a 2 minute walk from The Spiegel Tent, Fringe central, The Gilded Balloon, Pleasance Dome and Udderbelly venues. It is also on the main route between those venues and the Pleasance Courtyard, and the Free Festival venues at the Meadow Bar and Koko..

ch17.jpg (19045 bytes)The venue is ideal for all types of performance, with a small intimate room for solo performers, a larger and very grand ballroom for bigger names and larger productions, a music bar, and an outdoor stage and courtyard. There are four bars in the complex, and a large outdoor drinking area, and the whole complex of venues is busy throughout the day with people seeking out the free shows, along with being able to sit in one of Edinburgh's best outdoor drinking spaces. (As voted for by The Scotsman newspaper in 2007).

The outdoor stage is used for booked music shows and bands, as the main stage of the Free music Festival - and also to showcase Fringe shows during the day, along the same lines as the spaces on the Royal Mile performance areas.

Performance Space: The Ballroom

The Ballroom is located upstairs at the venue, alongside The Lounge performance space, and the Lounge Bar. It has a large high ceilinged room, with a covered dome in the centre - suitable for larger theatre productions and big comedy shows. It was considerably upgraded for 2009 with the addition of a large raised stage, and backstage area, making it the prime Free room at the Fringe, with a better spec than many paid venues.. 

Stage - 4.5m x 2.5m raised Stage, 0.3m high.(ity has been lowered slightly to benefit performers). With large backstage area, and three entrances from backstage. High ceiling. (See image below, right of the stage from the audience)

Seating - Capacity is 150 fully seated in rows, plus capacity for 30 people to stand at the back and sides of the room. We have got 200 in for some shows with people sitting on the floor and utilising utilising the area to the side of the stage - but that was a bit crowded!

Lighting - Lighting rig comprising of 8xLED Par Cans, 8xMulti Lighting. Each providing stage flood lighting, and colour washes, plus disco lighting effects. Several pre-programmed settings suitable for most productions, can be programmed for performances by technician (programming is chargeable). Additional space is available for lighting supplied by groups.

The stage in the BallroomSound - The room is supplied with an 8 channel mixer (4xXLR, 4xJack, 2xStereo Jack and USB Inputs). The room has 2xCD Players, 2xMicrophones, 2xradio Mics and 2xmic stand. Additional Sound equipment can easily be added to the sound booth.

Audio Visual - No AV equipment is available, but the room is ideally set-up for use with screens and projectors supplied by the performance group.

Storage - There is ample storage at the venue for props and equipment, securely stored in the a storage cupboard in the ballroom, or backstage (both shared with other groups)

Bar - There is no bar in the room. Both this room and The Lounge are both located off of the Lounge Bar.

loungeplan.jpg (14292 bytes)Performance Space: The Lounge

The Lounge is located upstairs, alongside The Ballroom and the Lounge Bar. It is a small and intimate performance space, ideally suited to solo stand-up and theatre performance.

Stage - A flexible corner raised stage area, with size dependent on seating layout.

Seating - Seating capacity is 45, with additional space for standing, giving a capacity of 55.

Lighting - 3xFixed Spotlights to Flood light the stage.

Sound - The room is supplied with an 4 channel mixer,  (2xXLR Mic inputs, 4xphono/Jack). The room has 2xCD Players, 2xMicrophones and 2xMic stands. Any additional sound equipment can be supplied by performing companies and stored at the venue.

Audio Visual - No AV equipment is available, but the room is ideally set-up for use with screens and projectors supplied by the performance group.

Storage - There is ample storage at the venue for props and equipment, securely stored in the a storage cupboard in the ballroom space. This would not be accessible during performances in the Ballroom.

Bar - There is no bar in the room, both this room and the Ballroom are located off of the Lounge bar.

Performance Space: The Pear Tree Outdoor Stage & Courtyard

accessible.gif (3067 bytes)The Outdoor stage is a fully equipped, and covered, outdoor performance space, ideally suited to music and bands, but we are also open to other suggestions for it's use. Additionally other areas of the large walled Courtyard can be used for site-specific performance. It is located outdoors in the courtyard area, where people sit all day. During the afternoons the stage will be used primarily as a space for performers from across the Fringe to perform, in a similar way to the stages on the Royal Mile. The area is also fully wheelchair accessible for audiences. Please note that the Pear Tree Garden is over 18's only all day.

Stage - 6m x 4m Outdoor Stage area, 1.5m high. covered, with access from outdoor courtyard. 

Seating - There is seating for 200 people in the courtyard, on picnic style benches, with ample room for people standing alongside this, giving an overall capacity of around 300 people. 

Lighting - 6xFixed Spotlights to Flood light the stage.

Sound - The Stage is supplied with a full PA system suitable for performance and bands, with Amp, power and speakers provided. Additionally there is an 8 channel mixer,  plus 2xXLR Mics, 2xMicrophones and 2xMic stands  available on site. Any additional sound equipment can be supplied by performing companies, and it is easy to load in and out for bands.

Audio Visual - This area is not suitable for shows using additional AV items.

Storage - There is ample storage inside the venue, securely stored in the a storage cupboard in the ballroom space. This would not be accessible during performances in the Ballroom.

Bar - There is an outdoor bar and catering facilities, new in 2011 - as well as access to the indoor Pear Tree Bar.

Performance Space: The Blind Poet

The Blind Poet is a busy main bar venue, next to the Entrance of the Pear Tree / Counting house. This space will be available to bands in the evenings. This is not a separate performance space so is not suitable for other types of shows. 

Click here for overall Free Festival information for Performers

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Counting House Images:

  The Ballroom - view from stage    The Ballroom - looking at the stage
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  The Lounge    The Audience in the Ballroom
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Another Ballroom Audience shot Reginald D. Hunter and a packed House
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Full height view of the Ballroom with Red Dome lighting Wider view of the stage with Yellow/Green lighting
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The lounge     The Lounge 
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The Pear Tree Outdoor Stage and Courtyard ComedySportz Performers in the Bar
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Outside Staircase up to the Lounge/Ballroom

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