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Assembly Festival Gala Launch

The Assembly Festival 2023 was another huge hit providing a platform for over 1,000 performers and creatives, with around 200 shows taking place across the city of Edinburgh.

This was the first year with a presence at the Grassmarket, with a programme presented with Dance Bass. The critically acclaimed Recirquel Cirque Danse returned with their immersive circus experience IMA (Pray) which took over Murrayfield Ice Rink for the entire month of August!

The Best of the Fest is definitely one for your calendar next year! It takes place at the flagship venue Assembly Hall, The Mound, Edinburgh. Showcasing bitesize tasters of the best talent. Here is a look at the Best of the Fest 2023.

Photograph of outside the Assembly Hall, Edinburgh
Assembly Gala 2023 ©M D Harding Travel Photography

Assembly Gala 2023

Preshow: Ginava's Messy Friends

Artists unmasked in this multi-award drag variety show from Australia.

Host: Jason Byrne

The incredibly hilarious Irish Comedian.

Oscar at the Crown

An immersive nightclub musical phenomenon detailing the rise and fall of one of history's most extravagant characters: Oscar Wild.

Gyles Brandreth

The jumper-loving This Morning and Just A Minute star, who pops up on Pointless, QI, Would I Lie To You?, Sunday Brunch and Celebrity Gogglebox is back - and unstoppable. Gyles Brandreth can't stop talking.

Beats On Pointe

Australia's hottest commercial dance theatre production with a high-energy fusion of commercial dance entertainment intertwines ballet and street dance for all ages.

JM Coetzee's Life & Times of Michael K

The Baxter Theatre Centre at the University of Cape Town UK premiere of JM Coetzz's "Life and Times of Michael K". A hauntingly beautiful adaptation for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival of Michael K's journey through war-torn South Africa to fulfill his mother's dying wish. His profound connection to earth and his reason for living. A thought-provoking story told through puppetry.

The Umbilical Brothers

The Umbilicals take the energy of live performance and the spectacle of cinema and smash them together into a show performed simultaneously on stage and on the big screen.

Kyiv City Ballet

Celebrated Kyiv City Ballet remains in exile due to the ongoing war. These exceptional dancers with extraordinary resilience have gone from strength to strength training, devising new programs, reprising classics, and thrilling those able to see them.

Afrique En Cirque

A show by Yamoussa Bangoura, inspired by daily life in Guinea.

This performance shares the beauty, youth, and artistry of African culture. A colourful show beyond its scenery, costumes, and staging, that will make any theatre vibrate with energy.


1974 Ten-year-old singing sensation Lena Zavaroni zooms to overnight stardom in "Opportunity Knocks", ITV's top talent show. Twenty-five years later, we discover a very different Lena, one for whom the days of glitz and glamour are long gone. Exploring what had happened to her in the intervening years reveals a wholly contrasting story.

Yuck Circus

An all-women Australian powerhouse team with high-flying acrobatics, absurd confessions, and groovy dancing all smashed together with their trademark ripper comedy.

Kevin Quantum

Epic scale stunts and mind-blowing magic in a spectacle that swings from edge-of-your-seat astonishment to belly laughs.

Reuben Kaye

Unforgettable Australia's comedian - Reuben Kaye returned with The Butch is Back. An even faster, on-edge, and brutally funny show.

With thanks, to the Assembly Festival Team

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