Free Festival Venue Information for Performers

The Laughing Horse Free Festival Venues for 2012

Jump to venues:  Renroc Cafe Bar | City Cafe | Counting House | Edinburgh City FC | Espionage | Finnegan's Wake | The Hive | Jekyll & Hyde | Room at 34  | Meadow Bar | Newsroom | Pear Tree | Three Sisters | White Horse | the Blind Poet | VENUE MAP | Performers Info & Apply

All of our venues and performance spaces for the 2012 Fringe are listed below. If you have any questions please contact us on info@freefestival.co.uk

In 2011 there will be 15 Free Festival venues, with shows running in 31 different performance spaces...  The Counting House BallroomEach of our performance spaces ranges in size, shape and feel...

For each of the venues below you can click through to a separate page with all of the specifications for each performance spaces. We have rooms that range in capacity from 35 to 150, three outdoor spaces, and rooms that range from a full set-up with large stages, back stages, full lighting and PA system and backstage areas; to smaller room suited for solo performance.

View from the Sound booth at the HiveFully equipped Fringe Performance spaces for free...

All of our performance spaces which are designed for runs of Fringe shows are in separate spaces from the rest of the venue. All of our spaces are professionally managed and set-up and come fully equipped with, at the very minimum: A full sound system, microphones, mic stands, 4-8 channel mixers, stage lighting, CD players - and often much more - see the specs below for full details.

Video Screens in use at Espionage's Mata Hari RoomPlease do not confuse us with other free venue promoters that expect you to bring all your own equipment, do not set-up the performance spaces and have many rooms for shows that are public bars without a separate performance spaces.

The Three Sisters X Factor!We Welcome all Fringe genres...

We have spaces suitable for all Fringe genres and we programme a mixture of genres at each venue to provide a varied programme in each space, with shows suitable for each individual space, just like all of the paid Fringe venues.

In previous years we have had a large programmes of Comedy, Theatre, Music, Cabaret and Children's / Family friendly shows. Along with this our spaces have also hosted Musicals and Opera, Magic, Poetry, Courses, Talks, Exhibitions, Art displays,  and everything else. We also have outdoor areas for site specific works, music and busking.  We aim to be diverse as possible, and are always looking for something that bit different - so if you think your show will fit into one our venues let us know! There is an indication of the suitability of each venue for different genres listed The Hivewith the venues below.

If you are planning any free walking tours of Edinburgh, Scavenger Hints, or any other events why not include these in the Free Festival programme, or start/end the tour at a free venue?

A map showing all of our venue locations for 2011 and the main Fringe venues is at the bottom of this page. All of our venues are located centrally in Edinburgh - it is vital for Fringe shows not to be stuck a long way out of town and we don't have venues in unsuitable areas that don't attract crowds. The quality and atmosphere of our venues is paramount for the production of quality shows, and for being enjoyable and welcoming places for audiences and performers.

If you have any questions on our venues, by all means email us on info@freefestival.co.uk at any time. Once you have found out about our venues Click here for general performers information and to apply for a space at our venues in 2011.

Laughing Horse @ Espionage (venue 185)
4 India Buildings, Victoria Street, (Entrances on Victoria Street and Cowgate)
EspionageNow in it's fifth year of Free Festival shows, Espionage is an established Fringe venue right in the heart of the Fringe and old town, which has been described as "The free Fringe's own mega-venue". Espionage is located just off of the Royal mile and right next to the Underbelly, with entrances on Victoria Street and the Cowgate. Busy all day and all night, with show performances from Midday until 1am and a night-club following until 5am. With 5 Bars across 5 floors, and four dedicated performance spaces. In 2010 it was home to the first ever free show to be nominated for the Edinburgh Comedy Award (formerly The Perrier Award).
Espionage Performance Spaces:
Pravda 90 seats, end on stage, backstage area. Raised seating to rear. Low ceiling and standing room at rear to get capacity up to 100 people. Video Screens available.
Mata Hari 65 seats, thrust stage with low ceiling and additional space to hold 80 people with standing room (we have squeezed in 130 for  busy shows, though not comfortably!). Three video Screens available. Disabled/Step Free Access to this Room.
Kasbar Seating arranged around bar area, with 60 seats, and room for 100 with standing. Very popular with stand-up comedy and home to the Free Festival's main pick of the Fringe shows  in 2010 and 2011.  
The Lizard Lounge A successful new Room added in 2010 - A small and intimate performance space located off of the main bar on the ground floor, 35 seats.
Minus One An open bar space utilised in previous years as the starting point for tours, scavenger hunts and "mystery shows" utilising other rooms and venues.
Types of Performance possible at this venue:
  
Comedy
Theatre
Music
Cabaret
Musicals & Opera
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Venue Age Restrictions:
Over 12's until 9pm; 18+ only from 9pm to close.
   
Click here for location Map
 
Click here for full Espionage venue details, tech specs, and room layouts
   

"Best New Fringe Venues" - The Scotsman 2008

  

"Top 10 Best Venues" - The List 2009 & 2010

   

Home of Edinburgh Comedy Award Nominee Imran Yusuf in 2010

Laughing Horse @ The Counting House (venue 170)
38 West Nicolson Street
The Counting HouseFood AvailableNow in it's 6th year as a Free Festival venue, The Counting House is always a popular and busy venue, with its comfortable performance spaces, and outdoor space in neighbouring venue The Pear Tree, and another room in the neighbouring Blind Poet.  The venue was expanded in  2010, with improved facilities in the Ballroom. Open from 11am to 2am daily, with bars next door to the main rooms, and also in the neighbouring Blind poet and Pear Tree there's plenty of option for audiences at the Counting House! The Counting House is across the road from Fringe Central and just around the corner from The Underbelly, Pleasance Dome and Gilded Balloon.
Counting House performance Spaces:
The Ballroom One of the premier performance spaces on the Fringe, with a large raised stage, backstage area, wing space, 150 seats and full lighting and PA. Suitable for all manner of productions, large and small.    
The Lounge An intimate space, with 50 seats, ideal for solo performances. 

"Best New Outdoor Drinking" - The Scotsman 2007

Types of Performance possible at this venue:
  
Comedy
Theatre
Music
Cabaret
Musicals & Opera
Children's Shows
Exhibitions
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Venue Age Restrictions:
All Ages until 10pm; 18+ from 10pm until Close. Pear Tree Garden 18+ only all day.
 
Click here for location Map
 
Click here for full Counting House, Blind Poet and Pear Tree venue details, tech specs, and room layouts
Laughing Horse @ The Pear Tree (venue 257)
38 West Nicolson Street
accessible.gif (3336 bytes)Food AvailableThe Pear Tree is located underneath the Counting House, and has a huge and popular outdoor courtyard, seating over 200, and next to a large indoor bar. There will be new outdoor bar facilities in 2011, along with expanded food service including a daily barbecue. The Outdoor stage is a covered all-weather stage with full PA, video projection and lighting suitable for music and has been home to The Free Music Festival since 2008, in association with Kopparberg. The Pear Tree is across the road from Fringe Central and just around the corner from The Udderbelly, Pleasance Dome and Gilded Balloon.
Performance Spaces:
The Pear Tree Outdoor Stage Large covered outdoor stage overlooking busy 300 capacity courtyard area, suitable for bands and other performances suited to this. Complete with power, lighting, video projection and full PA.
Courtyard Large, flexible outdoor space suitable for site specific and various outdoor performances. 

"Best New Outdoor Drinking" - The Scotsman 2007

Types of Performance possible at this venue:
 
Comedy
Theatre
Music
Cabaret
Musicals & Opera
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Venue Age Restrictions:
Over 18's only
  
Click here for location Map
   
Click here for full Counting House and Pear Tree venue details, tech specs, and room layouts
Laughing Horse @ The Hive (venue 313)
15-17 Niddry Street - HOME OF THE ALTERNATIVE FRINGE, FREE & PAID SHOWS
Located on Niddry street, the Hive is located right in the centre of Edinburgh and is operating as a Free Festival venue in it's 4th year. It has two large performances spaces, with a very high-spec (and probably one of the best at the Fringe) set-ups in the Big Cave Room, suitable for large complicated productions that require full lighting and sound set-up. The venue has a spacious main bar area, and is light, airy and fully air-conditioned, with a nightclub following the free shows every night until 5am. The Hive is close to other Free venues at The Three Sisters, White Horse, City Cafe, Finnegan's Wake and Espionage. It's minutes from the Fringe office and just off of the Royal mile and close to C Venues and The Pleasance Courtyard.
Performance Spaces:
The Big Cave If you imagine one of the larger Underbelly rooms, you will have a good idea about the Big Cave. It seats 120, there is a raised stage, backstage area, large PA with 30 channel Mixer, full lighting rig with full control panel, and multiple options for set-up of multimedia and AV equipment. 
The Little Cave The Big Cave's little sister, with a capacity of 70 people seated in a smaller cave, with stage on the flat and full PA and lighting rig.
Types of Performance possible at this venue:
 
Comedy
Cabaret
  
Venue Age Restrictions:
Over 18's only
   
Click here for location Map
 
Click here for full Hive venue details, tech specs, and room layouts
Laughing Horse @ The City Cafe (venue 85)
19 Blair Street
Food AvailableNow in it's 3rd year of Free Festival shows, The City Cafe is located on Blair Street, between the Royal Mile and Cowgate, making it a walk of only about 2 minutes from the Fringe office. The venue has been fully refurbished in late 2010, giving the upstairs bar a new feel, with expanded bar and food services and a much brighter and airier atmosphere with a new frontage and windows - making a brilliant Fringe venue even better! In 2011 there will be a new lighting system to go with the new sound system installed for 2010.  The City Cafe is also very close to our other venues at The Hive, The Three Sisters, The White Horse,  Espionage and Finnegan's Wake. It's also a popular venue with performers as it's a great value bar to hang around, drink and eat in during the Fringe before and after flyering on the Royal mile.
Performance Space:
City 2 100 capacity, with 80 seats located below the main bar, with large raised stage, low ceiling and a full PA system and lighting.
Types of Performance possible at this venue:
Comedy
Theatre
Music
Cabaret
Musicals & Opera
Children's Shows
Exhibitions
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Venue Age Restrictions:
All ages up until 9pm; 18+ only from 9pm to close.
  
Click here for location Map
  
Click here for full City Cafe venue details, tech specs, and room layouts
Laughing Horse @ The Three Sisters (venue 272)
139 Cowgate
accessible.gif (3336 bytes)Food AvailableThe Three Sisters launched into the Fringe for the first time in 2010, and was soon being called "The Free Festival's version of the Pleasance Courtyard", with numerous performance spaces situated around an open courtyard full of performances, bars and food, with open-air DJ's carrying the party on until 3am outdoors every day. There is also a hotel located above the venues, and the whole complex is located right in the middle of he busy Cowgate in the heart of Edinburgh. The Three Sisters is also very close to our other venues at The Hive, The City Cafe,  The White Horse,  Espionage and Finnegan's Wake and is minutes from The Royal Mile, Fringe Shop. The Venue is fully wheelchair accessible.
Performance Spaces:
Maggie's Chamber Upstairs 140 capacity (100 seats) venue, with raised stage, full PA system and lighting, and small backstage. Ideal for cabaret shows and the room can be set with small tables or theatre style. Projector and Screen available.
The Room With A View A smaller room adjacent to Maggies chamber, with a 60 seat capacity cabaret style, small stage on the flat and full PA system.
The Meeting Room A small and intimate 30 capacity room ideal for comedy shows and intimate solo theatre or music.
The Gothic Bar Located at the back of the main downstairs bar, with raised stage, lighting, PA and a capacity of 125
The Cowgate Stage A covered Outdoor stage located in the Courtyard, with power and lighting usable during the day. 
The Courtyard A flexible outdoor space that can be utilised for site specific performances, located just off of the busy Cowgate
Types of Performance possible at this venue:
 
Comedy
Theatre
Music
Cabaret
Musicals & Opera
Children's Shows
Exhibitions
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Venue Age Restrictions:
All ages up until 8pm; 18+ only from 9pm to close.
 
Click here for location Map
  
Click here for full Three Sisters venue details, tech specs, and room layouts
Laughing Horse @ The Meadow Bar (venue 264)
42-44 Buccluch Street
The Meadow BarFood AvailableNow in its 7th year as a Free Festival venue, the Meadow bar is a popular city centre style bar with an intimate upstairs performance area that runs from midday to 3am daily, and is always popular with performers. The Meadow bar is located just minutes from Fringe Central, The Counting House, Koko, Udderbelly, Pleasance Dome and Gilded Balloon putting it in the heart of the Fringe's main Southside venue area. It is also a very popular late night hangout that tends to gets filled up with all the free performers each night, plus producers and other Fringe and industry people escaping the horrors of the main venue's performers bars!
Performance Space:
Upstairs Bar 55 Seats, 60 capacity with standing room. Intimate space with low ceiling, and small stage area.  

"Best Late Night Comedy" - The Scotsman 2008

Types of Performance possible at this venue:
 
Comedy
Theatre
Music
Cabaret
  
Venue Age Restrictions:
All ages up until 9.30pm; 18+ only from 9.30pm to close.
  
Click here for location Map
  
Click here for full Meadow Bar venue details, tech specs, and room layouts
Laughing Horse @ Jekyll & Hyde (venue 259)
112 Hanover Street
The Jekyll & HydeFood AvailableNow in it's 7th year as a Free Festival venue, The Jekyll & Hyde will have an additional performance space added for 2011 - The Aerie, a new space at the rear of the venue that offers a perfect cabaret style room in a gothic amphitheatre style. This will run along the established Crypt room (in the basement, where else?!). The venue is decorated in a Gothic style with skeletons and other macabre items 'hanging around' the walls, making it a truly original and atmospheric venue well loved by performers and is open from midday to 1am daily. The Jekyll & Hyde is located on Hanover Street in the New town, moments away from the Assembly Rooms and just off of Princes Street and the Princes Street Gardens - while also being close to the Mound performance area, Half Price Ticket Hut, The Stand and the free venue at The Newsroom.
Performance Spaces:
The Crypt 60 Seats in an L-shaped room, with a raised corner stage. Dark, gothic and atmospheric space. A room which is always popular with crowds and performers.
The Aerie 80 Seats and room for 100 with standing room, a gothic amphitheatre spread over two levels, and a cabaret style space ideal for cabaret, comedy and theatre.
Types of Performance possible at this venue:
  
Comedy
Theatre
Music
Musicals & Opera
Cabaret
  
Venue Age Restrictions:
Over 18's only
 
Click here for location Map
  
Click here for full Jekyll & Hyde venue details, tech specs, and room layouts
Laughing Horse @ The Blind Poet (venue TBC)
West Nicolson Street
The Blind PoetNew Venue for 2012: Located in the same complex as the Pear Tree and Counting House, on west Nicolson street, The Blind Poet has for several years offered ad-hoc performance spaces for shows during the fringe, and been part of our Counting House programme. This year will be the first year it us programmed as a separate venue for music, alongside the programmes in it's sister venues the Counting house and Pear Tree - giving us room to expand the Free music festival to a third official stage along side the Pear Tree and Room at 34
Performance Spaces:
The Main Bar New Space for 2012: A 100 capacity music venue, with raised stage and PA  
Types of Performance possible at this venue:
 
Music
Cabaret
  
Venue Age Restrictions:
Over 18's only
Click here for location Map
 
Click here for full Counting House, Blind Poet and Pear Tree venue details, tech specs, and room layouts
Laughing Horse @ Edinburgh City Football Club (venue 164)
7 Baxter's Place, Leith Walk
Edinburgh City Football ClubNow in it's 7th year of Free Festival shows, the Edinburgh City Football Club is situated at the top of Leith Walk, right next to the Playhouse Theatre and seconds from Highlight and the Omni Centre complex. It us a friendly and welcoming   venue, which is a private members club through the rest of the year which has one of the cheapest bars of any venue in Edinburgh, Located on a busy stretch of Road which is five minutes from Princes street, The Edinburgh City Football Club is also located close to our other venues The Newsroom and The Black Dutch Cafe Bar (formally Renroc Cafe). The venue also benefits from a newly refurbished main performance space.
Performance Spaces:
Room 1 60 Seats, plus standing from for 10. End on stage, with backstage area.  TV screen available.
Room 2 An room suitable for talks, courses, displays and presentations
Types of Performance possible at this venue:
    
Comedy
Theatre
Music
Cabaret
Musicals & Opera
Children's Shows
Exhibitions
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Venue Age Restrictions:
All ages up until 9pm; 18+ only from 9pm to close.
  
Click here for location Map
  
Click here for full   Edinburgh City FC  venue details, tech specs, and room layouts
Laughing Horse @ The Newsroom (venue 93)
5-11 Leith Street
The NewsroomFood AvailableNow in it's 4th year as a Free Festival venue, The Newsroom has benefited from a complete refurbishment in late 2010, providing a much enhanced performance space and bar area. The newsroom is located right on the junction of Leith Street and Princes street in an ideal location seconds from Waverley, North Bridge, The Royal Mile, Princes Street Gardens and the half-price ticket hut. The venue is open from breakfast, right the way through until late night, and this venue is available to use from 9am to 3am daily. The venue is also close to The Stand, Highlight and the free venue at The Edinburgh City Football Club.
Performance Space:
The Basement A corner stage, and a 60 capacity seated basement room, with enough space for another 20 people standing
Types of Performance possible at this venue:
Comedy
Theatre
Music
Cabaret
Musicals & Opera
Children's Shows
Exhibitions
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Venue Age Restrictions:
All ages up until 5pm; 18+ only from 5pm to close.
 
Click here for location Map
 
Click here for full Newsroom  venue details, tech specs, and room layouts
Laughing Horse @ The White Horse (venue 296)
266 Canongate (The Royal mile)
The White Horseaccessible.gif (3336 bytes)Food AvailableA brand new Fringe venue for us in 2011, with new owners taking over the building in mid-2010 who have taken what was a tired old pub and transformed it into a stylish Royal Mile Bar, Cafe and Bistro. Although the venue is new to us, the venue has previously been home to other Fringe shows over the last few years, and along with new owners Billy and Jane (who we have worked before at Renroc) look to turn this venue into a fantastic new and upgraded Royal Mile Fringe venue in August, and a regular comedy club through the year - all in a prime location right on the Royal Mile. The White horse is just around the Corner from The Hive, and is also near to The Three Sisters and City Cafe, along with being a short walk from The Fringe Shop and Pleasance Courtyard.
Performance Space:
The Back Room An intimate 60 seat performance space, located on the same level as the main bar,  ideal for stand-up comedy, music, cabaret and theatre
Types of Performance possible at this venue:
Comedy
Theatre
Music
Cabaret
Musicals & Opera
Exhibitions
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Venue Age Restrictions:
All ages up until 6pm; 18+ only from 6pm to close.
  
Click here for location Map
  
Click here for full White Horse venue details, tech specs, and room layouts
Laughing Horse @ Renroc (venue 84)
91 Montgomery Street
RenrocFood AvailableThe venue was revamped and redecorated into a fresh space for Fringe shows in 2011 where we are now presenting Free Festival shows for the 4th year here. Renroc is located in the Hillside area of Edinburgh, just off of London Road and Leith Walk, and is a busy and stylish licensed cafe, Bistro and bar also with a resident complimentary heath studio. There is an intimate basement performance space operating from mid-afternoon until midnight.  Very popular with audiences in 2009 and 2010, with very supportive staff who help sell all of the shows in the venue to their large number of regular customers as well as Fringe-goers. The venue is located very close to the Edinburgh City FC, as well as being near to Highlight, The Playhouse Theatre, Omni Centre and Valvona & Crola.
Performance Space:
The Basement An intimate 45 capacity performance space , with 40 seats. Low ceiling and atmospheric. 
Types of Performance possible at this venue:
 
Comedy
Theatre
Music
Cabaret
Children's Shows
Exhibitions
dkgreydot.gif (858 bytes) Events
  
Venue Age Restrictions:
All ages up until 9pm; 18+ only from 9pm to close.
 
Click here for location Map
  
Click here for full Renroc venue details, tech specs, and room layouts
Laughing Horse @ Finnegan's Wake  (venue 101)
9B Victoria Street
accessible.gif (3336 bytes)A brand new Fringe and Free Festival venue in 2011, and a fully refurbished bar re-opened in mid-2010 after a fire the previous year at the neighbouring Khushi's restaurant. Finnegan's Wake is a large music bar with Free music and bands in the evenings, and during the day Free Festival show performances in their back room area. The venue is exceptionally well located next door to our Espionage venue, moments from the Royal Mile and Grassmarket, and very close to The Underbelly
Performance Space:
The Back Room An intimate performance space with a capacity of 40 people, ideally located in Edinburgh so that the room should be full at every performance!
Types of Performance possible at this venue:
  
Comedy
Theatre
Music
Cabaret
  
Venue Age Restrictions:
Over 18's Only
  
Click here for location Map
   
Click here for full Finnegan's Wake venue details, tech specs, and room layouts
Laughing Horse @ Room at 34 (venue 110)
32-34 Potterrow (Behind Pleasance Dome)
Food Availableaccessible.gif (3336 bytes)A brand new Fringe and Free Festival venue for 2011, Koko is now called ROOM AT 34 - a recently refurbished bar that has a music stage with full sound and light set-up. Koko is located on Potterrow, right behind the Pleasance Dome, so is well located a bar for food, drink and music being so close to The Dome, Udderbelly, Pleasance, Fringe Central and Free Venues at the Counting House, Pear Tree and Meadow Bar.
Performance Space:
The Music Stage Suitable only for music performances as not a separate space, in this 200 capacity bar for music and bands during the Fringe.
Types of Performance possible at this venue:
   
Music
Cabaret
  
Venue Age Restrictions:
All ages up until 8pm; 18+ only from 8pm to close.
  
Click here for location Map
  
Click here for full Room at 34 venue details, tech specs, and room layouts

Jump to venues:  Renroc Cafe Bar | City Cafe | Counting House | Edinburgh City FC | Espionage | Finnegan's Wake | The Hive | Jekyll & Hyde | Room at 34  | Meadow Bar | Newsroom | Pear Tree | Three Sisters | White Horse | the Blind Poet | VENUE MAP | Performers Info & Apply

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