Pleasance Futures is the artist development strand of the Pleasance Theatre Trust, acting as an incubator for bold new theatre makers to make their mark. Through their charitable initiatives, they’re committed to discovering and supporting the most exciting new theatrical voices, and this Edinburgh Fringe is no exception; 2024 sees an offering of £100,000 in support of the theatre artists of tomorrow, with over 20 shows being directly supported by Pleasance Futures.

The Charlie Hartill Fund supports UK-based theatre makers and comedians in bringing their work to the Fringe. Running for 20 years with generous investment each year, this flagship fund offers unique and unparalleled support to artists through direct cash investment, programming, and mentoring support. Previously, Olivier Award-winning Flesh + Bone from Unpolished Theatre and smash-hit Public – The Musical benefited from the fund, demonstrating how vital the work Pleasance Futures carries out is. From award-winning playwright maatin, Duck is about adolescence, the pressures of sporting competition and finding your identity in an environment that doesn’t cater for difference. The multi-sensory, participatory one-woman show from CHamoru/Filipina artist Sierra Sevilla is dedicated to two things, canned meat and colonialism. For the Love of Spam considers what this (delicious) canned meat symbolises. Emerging queer theatre collective, Sweet Beef, brings Crying Shame in the form of the dreamy Club Fragilé where you’ll encounter washed-up cabaret acts, filthy lip-syncs and a joyous celebration of queer culture, as these camp clowns try – and possibly fail – to connect with each other and the audience. You might be lonely, but you're definitely not alone.

In its 20th year, the Comedy Reserve, funded by the Charlie Hartill Fund, has helped launch the careers of Joe Lycett, Brett Goldstein, Roisin Conaty, Jamali Maddix, Lou Sanders, Chloe Petts, Sophie Duker and Jack Whitehall and many more. This year’s line-up highlights the four best up-and-coming comedy acts, handpicked by the Pleasance.: Marty Gleeson, Rohan Sharma, Sam Williams and Sharon Wanjohi.

The highly successful Edinburgh National Partnerships programme returns for a 6th year, with the Pleasance partnering with national producing houses to support extraordinary work around the UK and Northern Ireland. In the Lady Garden, supported by Theatre Royal Plymouth, is a rip-roaring feminist comedy where Alice tries to shake off the shackles of the patriarchy and live out the rest of her days with outrageous abandon. This Town, supported by Leicester Curve, pushes the boundaries of spoken word, storytelling and theatre, dropping the audience into centre of a small midlands town, reflecting on the importance of friendship and close knit communities. The Daughters of Róisín is a rallying cry for women everywhere, exploring the harrowing history of church and state abuse against pregnant women out of wedlock in Ireland over the last 100 years, supported by Lyric Belfast.

Combining spoken word, lyrical storytelling and a pulsating electronic live score, Òran is an urgent and entertaining modern retelling of the classic Orpheus and Eurydice myth, supported by Pitlochry Festival Theatre. Polly & Esther is a high camp chaotic drag cabaret, written and performed by iconic Welsh mother and daughter drag duo Polly Amorous & Esther Parade in this celebration of self-expression, supported by Sherman Theatre Wales. From the multi award-winning team at Documental Theatre SCAFFOLDING is a life-affirming interrogation of hope and community in the
most unique of two-handers, supported by Bristol Old Vic Ferment. Joining the partnership for the first time, Mercury Theatre Colchester are supporting I Really Do Think This Will Change Your Life, a hair-pulling, fake-nail scratching, cat-fight against what it means to be a Girl BossTM - a finalist for The Stage Innovation Award award and co-produced by ThickSkin.

With soaring ambition and a wellspring of youthful energy, Young Pleasance is truly nurturing the stars of the future, offering opportunities for young people aged 16-21. Past members include Nicholas Galitzine (Mary & George, The Idea of You) and Ella Balinska (Charlie's Angels). When her gang-leader brother leaves for WW1, Alice Diamond and her all-female crime syndicate seize their chance to take over London and stamp their mark on the streets of the West End. But sibling rivalry ensues in Alice Diamond and the Forty Elephants, a Peaky Blinders-style romp, brought to life through puppetry, based on unbelievable real-life events from Young Pleasance.

Anthony Alderson, director of the Pleasance Theatre Trust comments, It is imperative that the Pleasance stands firm in its commitment to supporting artists. Pleasance Futures doesn’t just provide vital funding for artists; we invest in their vision, provide mentorship, and open doors to industry opportunities. Through an array of initiatives, we empower artists and companies to make the very best of the Fringe experience, ensuring that the financial barriers or lack of resources don’t hinder their artistic ambition.

The fringe programme is nearly complete but don’t miss the final on-sale in June. There’s nowhere quite like the Pleasance at Fringe!