With great excitement and pride, Playbill is announcing the inaugural Playbill FringeShip, the official "Floatel" of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The Fringeship will launch in 2024. Ambassador Cruise Line’s Ambition—a sustainable and modern cruise ship—will serve as a home for and extension of the world's largest arts festival. In 2024, it will be docked for a week in Edinburgh's buzzing port district of Leith. The chartered cruise ship will be moored at the Imperial Dock in Leith August 8-15, 2024.
The Edinburgh Fringe is the largest arts festival in the world and takes place every August in Scotland. The program includes over 3,000 shows that span theatre, cabaret, and comedy shows taking place all over Edinburgh. The Playbill FringeShip will provide Fringe theatregoers a convenient lodging option, in a city where finding accommodations can be a challenge in the month of August.
Along with the accommodations onboard, guests on the Playbill FringeShip will enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner paired with a drink package across the ship's many restaurants and lounges; exclusive performances by highly-talented Fringe performers in the FringeShip's Palladium theatre and cabaret lounge; access to roundtrip coach service from Leith to the center of Edinburgh; and a variety of additional amenities including a wellness center, gym, two swimming pools, and a top deck open-air lounge with a pizza parlor. Playbill will also be working with local companies in Leith and across Edinburgh to also create special events for the week-long experience, as a way to champion local products.
Says Playbill's President and Chairman Philip S. Birsh, “Playbill Incorporated is very proud to be associated with the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. We believe this annual gathering is an incubator of theatrical creativity, a cradle for newborn productions, and the home of brilliant originality—it speaks to our passion, and we can’t wait to be a part of it this summer.
"Our hope is to be a welcome part of the Fringe, bringing the best of our resources to Edinburgh and helping American theatre lovers experience first-hand the genius of this phenomenal event. When we return in 2024 with our FringeShip, our goal for the seven-night residence is to bring, in the words of the Proclaimers, ‘Sunshine on Leith’; a place where people can stay and have a glorious time with joyous people who love the Fringe and theatre.
"The more we learn about this festival, and the more we meet the remarkable people behind it, the more we know we made a terrific decision; we’re excited to be a part of this collision of creativity and collective great will for years to come.”
The FringeShip is the next stage in Playbill's developing relationship with the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Playbill attended the 2022 festival and found it to be a "once-in-a-lifetime experience you can have every year." This August, Playbill will return to the Fringe for the entire month to report on the festival with Playbill readers. Playbill will also be co-sponsoring the official 2023 Edinburgh Festival Fringe app, which will give Fringe-goers the ability to view and search full show listings, book tickets on the go, and use a "nearby now" feature to find shows starting soon near an attendee's location within Edinburgh.
Playbill recently welcomed Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society's Chief Executive Shona McCarthy to New York City to celebrate its new partnership. McCarthy will be returning the welcome in Scotland. As McCarthy said, “Our partnership with Playbill is timely and just makes sense. Two renowned brands coming together to platform and promote creativity in all its glorious EdFringe manifestations. It is great to welcome Playbill to the 2023 Fringe and we are enormously grateful for their support in helping us deliver an all new Fringe app this year. Their support has enabled us to develop an app, which will be a key channel for audiences exploring the range and diversity of performance available to them at this year’s Fringe.
"Playbill is rooted within the creative landscape of the U.S. and their passion and excitement for the Fringe is fantastic. We look forward to welcoming Phil and the team to Edinburgh this August and to developing a long-term relationship.”
The FringeShip arrives with perfect timing to help alleviate the pressures of finding lodgings in Edinburgh during the festival. The Scottish government is looking to regulate short-stay rentals such as AirBnBs by turning the city into a "short-term lets" control area, with plans to have new limitations fully in effect before the 2024 festival. While AirBnBs have previously been one of the main forms of housing for the hundreds of thousands that come to the city to enjoy the festival every year, the new limitations will require for all short-term rentals to reapply for permission, with many expected to be denied. This will likely lead to further pressures on Edinburgh’s housing capacity, which is already at the brim and a premium, during the month of August.
Tickets for the Playbill FringeShip go on sale this month with prices beginning at $249 per day per person—the price encompasses a stay in a suite or cabin, all meals, as well as access to all the ship’s amenities, Playbill-sponsored Fringe entertainment, and transportation.
Visit FringeShip.com to book.
And if you are attending the 2023 Edinburgh Fringe, find out what Shona McCarthy recommends for Fringe first-timers below. And follow along with Playbill's Fringe coverage here.