Festival Home

Festival Info

Perform with us

Venue Details

Help & Advice

Downloads

Login

The Free Sisters Fringe Venue 272   Accessible Bar Food Air Conditioned
139 Cowgate. 0131 622 6802
Age Restrictions: All ages until 8pm, then 18+ only
The biggest free venue in Edinburgh, quite often referred to as “The Free version of the Pleasance courtyard”, The Free Sisters is located right in the middle of the Cowgate, with numerous performance spaces, bars, outdoor areas, food stalls and even a hotel. It’s the epicentre of free fringe shows, where people come to watch shows, hang out or party away, with a huge variety of performance spaces to choose from.
Types of Performances possible at The Free Sisters
Comedy Theatre Childrens Courses Events and Tours Music Musicals and Opera Cabaret Spoken Word 
For the Fringe, 'The Three sisters' is rebranded as 'The Free Sisters' to become the epicentre of all things that are free in Edinburgh.

With all of the professional signage, trussing and signage along the Cowgate, you would mistake the venue as another Underbelly - and with a large number of performance spaces running off of a large central courtyard, it is easy to see why the Free Sisters has become firmly established as the 'Pleasance Courtyard' of the free Fringe. It's busy, full of people all day, and a buzzing venue for Fringe shows.

The courtyard is packed all Fringe with Fringe-goers, tourists, locals and performers from venues all around the Fringe hanging out and trying to sell their shows, in a prime location right in the middle of the Cowgate that nobody visiting the Fringe can miss - from early morning with Kids shows, through all-day Fringe performances, until late at night with shows, partying and the late night club until 5am.

The venue is an oasis in the middle of the city during the day, and a party venue at night the Free Sisters courtyard is buzzing with outdoor bars, a barbecue and numerous other food concessions, along with two of the most unique performance spaces at the Fringe and a giant screen showing kids films in the morning, show advertising in the afternoon, and a mixture of music and sports in the evening.

Off of this courtyard is also access to the main bar, a hotel, and four performance spaces on the ground and second floor of the venue - and all of the spaces are disabled accessible.

The free sisters is in the middle of a hub of other Free Festival venues, at Espionage, Cabaret Voltaire, The City Cafe and Dropkick Murphy's all of which are a couple of minutes walk from the courtyard. The Cowgate itself is within minutes of the Royal Mile, The Underbelly, Just the Tonics three main venues, C Venues and numerous other small venues all along the Grass market.

Performance Space: Maggie's Chamber

 

accessible.gif (3336 bytes)Maggie's Chamber feels very much like a basement Cabaret bar (even though it's actually on the first floor!) with a low brick arched ceiling creating a great atmosphere for comedy and cabaret, plus a large raised stage with velvet curtains and illuminated backdrop.  This space is available midday until 2am every day, and is absolutely gorgeous looking and feeling.

Stage - An large rectangular stage area, 4.5m x 3m and raised to 15cm. Small amounts of wing space utilising the sound/PA position and a backstage area. 

Seating - Capacity is 150 including standing, with up to 130 seats depending on layout. The room is set-up theatre style in rows of seats.

Lighting - 4xFixed LED Par Cans and three small spotlights to Flood light the stage, or provide colour washes. Additional Lighting can be supplied by companies and fixed as required.

Sound - The room is supplied with an 4 channel mixer (2xXLR Mic, 4xphono/Jack and USB inputs ), MP3 Player cables, 2xMicrophones and 2xmic stands.

Audio Visual - There is a projector and screen available for use and fitted into the room.

Storage - There is a small storage space at the venue for props and equipment, stored in a shared room with other groups.

Bar - The bar in the room can be open or closed and will be staffed throughout the shows.

Performance Space: Maggie's Front Room

accessible.gif (3336 bytes)Maggie's Front room is located next  to Maggie's Chamber on the first floor of the venue, with it's entrance from a shared hallway. This space is available midday until 2am every day.

Stage - A small raised stage, 2m x 1m with additional area around the stage to perform on the flat floor. There is a large backstage area, and entrance/exit from the room performers can use while shows are in progress.   

Seating - Capacity is 80 people, seated theatre style. . 

Lighting - 3xsmall spotlights to flood the stage area. Additional Lighting can be supplied by companies and fixed as required.

Sound - The room is supplied with a 4 channel mixer (2xXLR Mic, 2xphono/Jack), MP3 player connection,  2xMicrophones and 2xmic stands.

Audio Visual - A large LCD Screen is available for performers to used, positioned to the back/left of the stage.

Storage - There is storage space at the venue for props and equipment, stored in a shared room with other groups, and a locked  office which valuable items can be stored in.

Bar - There is a bar in the room which can be opened or closed during shows, and is staffed throughout the day.

Performance Space: The Gothic Room

gothicbar.gif (5516 bytes)accessible.gif (3336 bytes)The Gothic Room is located at the rear of the ground floor of the venue and is separated from the main bar with a thick curtain and Temporary Wall.

Stage - The stage area is raised to 0.5m,   and is 4m x 2.5m. There is a small backstage area, utilising the fire exit area  (so no props can be stored here) and also a toilet for performers only. Performers can also exit the venue into the back courtyard this way.

Seating - Capacity is up to 150, with 120 seats, with theatre style seating. . 

Lighting - 3xFixed Par Cans to Flood light the stage. Additional Lighting can be supplied by companies and fixed as required. Disco lighting is fitted and programmed, and this can also be used.

Sound - The room is supplied with a 4 channel mixer (2xXLR Mic, 2xphono/Jack), 2xCD Players,  2xMicrophones and 2xmic stands. 

Audio Visual - A Projector and Screen and projector & Screen is available

Storage - There is storage space at the venue for props and equipment, stored in a shared room with other groups, and a locked  office which valuable items can be stored in.

Bar - There is a bar in the performance space but it will not be open, the room is adjacent to the main bar of the venue.

Performance Space: The Staff Room

accessible.gif (3336 bytes)meet3sis.gif (4595 bytes)The Staff room is a small and intimate space on the 1st floor, with a different entrance to the Maggie's Chamber/Front Room. This space is a small rectangle, with theatre style seating suited to solo shows or small comedy club shows. It is a small space suited to solo shows.

Stage - The stage area is raised to 0.5m,   and will be set is around 1m x 1m. There is a no backstage area..

Seating - Capacity is up to 32, with 24 seats and 8 standing. Some shows have expanded to leave the door open to allow more people to view from the corridor.

Lighting - 1xFixed Par Cans to Flood light the stage.

Sound - The room is supplied with a 4 channel mixer (2xXLR Mic, 2xphono/Jack), 2xCD Players,  2xMicrophones and 2xmic stands. 

Audio Visual - An LCD screen is available in the room.

Storage - There is storage space at the venue for props and equipment, stored in a shared room with other groups, and a locked  office which valuable items can be stored in.

Bar - There no bar.

Performance Space: The Marquee

The Marquee is a new performance apace for 2016, replacing the Yurt in the Courtyard. It will be a similar structure using thick canvas and with fill light and PA - it will allow for larger audiences. As with the Yurt, this venue will get sound bleed from the people in the courtyard (it's a tent!), but this set-up has been enjoyed by many shows over the year, and is particularly suited to comedy and cabaret - kids shows early in the day - but not quiet theatre pieces.

Stage - The stage area on the flat, and if the venue is full to capacity around 2m x 1m. Seating can be removed to make the stage larger. There is no back stage or wing space.

Seating - Capacity is up to 40, seated, Plus room for around 10 people standing. People also often sit on the floor, and in the doorway for extra capacity in the tented venues.

Lighting - 1xFixed Par Cans to Flood light the stage.

Sound - The room is supplied with a 4 channel mixer (2xXLR Mic, 2xphono/Jack), MP3 player connections,  2xMicrophones and 2xmic stands. 

Audio Visual - None available in this room, but performers own AV equipment can be used easily - it's not suitable for projectors.

Storage - There is storage space at the venue for props and equipment, stored in a shared room with other groups, and a locked  office which valuable items can be stored in.

Bar - There is no bar. A bar is available outside in the Courtyard.

Noise - There is some sound bleed, the venue works well for amplified shows, comedy, cabaret and theatre, but there is a little bleed from the courtyard.

Performance Space: The Courtyard Stage

The Courtyard Stage is an area in the large paved space that is flexible and can be used for any performance suited to it, particularly busking or any other site specific work. This can be programmed shows or more informal music gigs, busking or street performance.

The Free Sisters Images:

Maggie's Chamber - Performance Maggie's Chamber - View from back of Room
3s222a.jpg (49934 bytes)
Maggie's Chamber - View of stage from 6th row back Maggie's Chamber in Action
Maggie's Chamber in Action Maggie's Front Room - View from Stage
Maggie's Front Room - Performance Maggie's Front Room - Looking at Stage
Maggie's Front Room - Audience from side of stage Maggie's Front Room - Act on stage
Gothic Room - looking from the stage Gothic Room - looking from the back
Gothic Room - looking from the side seating Gothic Room - Performance
Gothic Room - Performance Staff Room - Show in progress
 
Advertising on Cowgate for Venue  The Courtyard at night
The Courtyard   The Courtyard  
3s1.jpg (20771 bytes) table.jpg (62819 bytes)
The Courtyard   The Courtyard  
 The Courtyard   Free Festival Launch Night in the Courtyard

Festival Home

Festival Info

Perform with us

Venue Details

Help & Advice

Downloads

Login

      

 Website Design & Development by Craig Shaynak and Alex Petty

Sponsorship & Advertising About Us Press and Media Area
Kingswell Productions Laughing Horse Comedy Become a Free Festival Venue
Google+ Australian Festivals Brighton Fringe