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2016 Archive: National Museum of Scotland Presents Biggest Ever Festival Programme

Monday 1 August, 2016

The return of the hugely popular Fringe extravaganza Museum After Hours, award-winning contemporary dance, a new partnership with the Gilded Balloon and live music inspired by National Museums Scotland’s five star summer exhibition Celts, all feature in the National Museum of Scotland’s largest ever Fringe programme.

National Museum of Scotland Presents Biggest Ever Festival Programme

National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, Edinburgh

The return of the hugely popular Fringe extravaganza Museum After Hours, award-winning contemporary dance, a new partnership with the Gilded Balloon and live music inspired by National Museums Scotland’s five star summer exhibition Celts, all feature in the National Museum of Scotland’s largest ever Fringe programme.

Following sell-out runs in 2014 and 2015, the National Museum of Scotland will open after hours, on 12, 19 and 26 August, to offer audiences an unforgettable flavour of the Fringe in one of Scotland’s most spectacular venues.

Artists from across the globe have been hand-picked to perform at these unmissable events. Showcasing the very best of the Fringe, the line-up of comedy, music, dance, circus, and spoken word will change each week creating a never-to-be-repeated experience for audiences. In addition to the programmed acts, Fringe-goers can put on their best poses at a themed selfie studio, explore a range of hands-on activities around the Museum, and enjoy pop-up bars, food stalls and late night opening at the Museum’s Brasserie.

This year’s performances, programmed in partnership with The List, will be set against the backdrop of ten new galleries devoted to decorative art, design, fashion, science and technology. Fringe-goers will have the rare opportunity to explore these galleries by night as well as exclusive access to the spectacular Celts exhibition, organised with the British Museum (

New to this year’s daytime Fringe programme, award-winning choreographer Janis Claxton will bring her latest work POP-UP Duets (fragments of love) to the Museum. Created with composer Pippa Murphy and four world-class dancers, James Southward, Christina Liddell, Carlos J. Martinez and Adrienne O’Leary, these free performances are designed to emerge unexpectedly from public situations. Exploring the theme of love, each five minute duet will ʻpop upʼ throughout the National Museum of Scotland, to surprise and delight unsuspecting audiences.

Festival favourite, Free Fringe Music will return with performances inspired by Celts. There will be daily live performances from bold brass and fabulous fiddlers, to soprano soloists and traditional Welsh clog dancing. Free Fringe Music will showcase the very best in contemporary musical talents from across Scotland, England, Ireland, Wales and France, featuring emerging artists from the roster of Live Music Now, an international music outreach charity.

Celts features in the 2016 Edinburgh Art Festival programme and for the first time the Museum will be the starting point for an Art Late. The Art Festival’s popular series of specially programmed late openings and events will feature live music, performances, artist talks and tours across a selection of venues.

National Museums Scotland has also joined forces with the Gilded Balloon to host an exciting programme of shows including Rory Bremner Meets …, an hour of comedy and chat with invited guests, hosted by Bremner, Horse McDonald in Careful…, a biographical play based upon Scottish singer-songwriter Horse McDonald’s life, and Night at the Museum, a late-night improv show that brings the Museum’s dazzling history together with the very best comics from across the Fringe. From Shakespeare to beatboxing, politics to art, 18 productions covering adult and children’s theatre, comedy and music will make up the programme in the Auditorium at the National Museum of Scotland.

Stephen Allen, Head of Learning and Programmes at National Museums Scotland said:

“In the Museum’s 150th anniversary year, we are delighted to present our largest festival programme yet. From returning Fringe favourites, such as Museum After Hours and Free Fringe Music, to our new partnership with the Gilded Balloon, there are now more ways than ever for visitors to engage with and enjoy the Museum this August.”

Summary of event listings

Museum After Hours: Friday Fringe Takeover
Friday 12, 19 & 26 Aug 2016
Cost: £18/ £16 concessions (includes admission to Celts)
Tickets are on sale now. Tel: 0300 123 6789 or book online at

Until 25 Sept 2016
Cost: £10/ £8, Child (12-15) £6.50. Members are under 12s Free.
For more information and to book tickets visit

Janis Claxton Dance presents POP-UP Duets (fragments of love)
Previews: 4–5 Aug, 10–14 Aug, 17–21 Aug and 24–28 Aug 2016
Find out more

Free Fringe Music
6 Aug–28 Aug 2016
Discover the full programme

Art Late
Thu 4 Aug 2016
Meeting outside the west door of the Main Entrance of the National Museum of Scotland at 17:45
Cost: £7.50 / £5, complimentary drinks included in the ticket price.
For more information and to book tickets, visit

Gilded Balloon at the Museum
3 Aug–29 Aug 2016
Various times and prices.
For more information and to book tickets,

Further information and images from Kirsten Cowie, Press Office,
National Museums Scotland on 0131 247 4391 or email

Notes to Editors

  1. National Museums Scotland is one of the leading museum groups in the UK and Europe and it looks after collections of national and international importance. The organisation provides loans, partnerships, research and training in Scotland and internationally. Our individual museums are the National Museum of Scotland, the National Museum of Flight, the National Museum of Rural Life and the National War Museum. The National Museums Collection Centre in Edinburgh houses conservation and research facilities as well as collections not currently on display.
  2. The National Museum of Scotland reopened in summer 2011 following a three-year, £50m redevelopment. With more than 8.5 million visitors since reopening, the National Museum of Scotland is the most popular museum in the country outside of London according to ALVA figures.
  3. POP-UP Duets will be performed at Merchant City Festival (Glasgow); National Museum of Scotland (Festival Fringe); at Creative Edinburgh bespoke events and in locations in Fife. Funders and partners include: Creative Scotland, Merchant City Festival, Made in Scotland, National Museum of Scotland, Fife Cultural Trust, Creative Edinburgh, Dance Base, Festival City Theatres Trust and Dance House Glasgow. POP-UP Duets is part of the 2016 Made in Scotland Showcase.
  4. Live Music Now (LMN) is the leading musician development and outreach organisation in the UK. LMN selects young, professional musicians who combine exceptional performing skills with special qualities of insight, generosity of spirit and flexibility. We enhance their skills through our distinctive approach to training and performance, and send them out into the community to perform for older people and children with special educational needs across the UK. LMN's approach has been developed over 37 years, realising the vision of our founders, legendary violinist Yehudi Menuhin and his friend, LMN Founder Chairman, Ian Stoutzker CBE. A Scottish branch of LMN was set up in 1984.
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