Biggest-ever Fringe gets underway in Edinburgh


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The Independent Culture

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe opens today with a record number of performances.

Comedians, musicians, dancers and actors will take to the streets of the Scottish capital as shows get under way in 279 venues across the city.

Organisers of what is said to be the world's largest arts festival have also introduced a spoken-word category for 2012, with poetry and storytelling included.

Another new aspect of the Fringe will see a box office operating in Glasgow for the first time, at Queen Street Station, throughout the month-long festival.

An estimated 22,457 performers will take to the stage from August 3 to 27, with well-known names including shows from Jimmy Carr, Phill Jupitus and Paul Merton as well as performances on stage from Les Dennis, Matthew Kelly and Claire Sweeney.

Overall, the Fringe features 42,096 performances, with comedy taking the biggest chunk of the programme at 36 percent.