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The Free Sisters

Laughing Horse Free Festival Venue

The Free Sisters

Fringe Venue 272 - Click here for map
139 Cowgate, Edinburgh, EH1 1JS. Phone: 0131 622 6802
Food  Accessible  Licensed  Air Conditioned
Open from 08:00 to 05:00
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.



For the Fringe, 'The Three sisters' is rebranded as 'The Free Sisters' to become the epicentre of all things that are free in Edinburgh, which has been called the free Fringe's 'Pleasance Courtyard'. 

With all of the advertising, signage, trussing, lighting and signage along the Cowgate, the venue looks like a large pop-up paid Fringe venue, and attracts an enormous amount of people for shows, to drink and who people who want to hang out and use all of the street food and drink options along with the shows. It's busy, full of people all day, and a buzzing venue for Fringe shows - from early morning with breakfasts and 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 barely closed all August.

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 street food stands, along with a giant screen showing kids films in the morning, show advertising in the afternoon, and a mixture of music, sports and fringe show publicity 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 venue is in the middle of a hub of other Free Festival venues in central cowgate, with a large number of Fringe venues nearby including The Underbelly, Just The Tonic, Cabaret Voltaire, The City Cafe and Dropkick Murphy's all of which are a couple of minutes walk from the courtyard. 

The venue also offers Front of House assistance with the crowds and queues, staff to help direct audiences and an on-site tech to assist with sound and light set-up and issues.

Performance Space: Maggie's Chamber

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.

- Stage: 4.5m (wide) x 2m (deep) raised to 5cm. No Wing space or back stage, though curtains can be utilised to create this. 

- Seating: Capacity 130 seated, in rows plus some room for standing up to 150 on agreement with venue.   

- Lighting: 4 x  fixed spotlights to flood the stage.

- Sound: 18 Channel Mixer, DI to stage, Cable for MP3 player, 3 Mics, Cables and Mic stands. Performers own sound equipment can be added easily and a sound tech is on hand for general assistance.

- AV: There is a projector and screen in this room.

- Storage: There is a very small storage room for equipment at the venues cellar for props and equipment, shared with other groups

- Bar: There is a small bar at the rear of the room that is manned for audiences as they enter the room.

- Access: The performance space is located on the 1st floor and is fully wheelchair accessible via a lift from Stay Hotel reception. The venue has a disabled toilet.

Performance Space: Maggie's Front Room

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.

- Stage: 2m  (wide) x1.5m (deep) raised to 5cm. stage entrance from left of stage, and a large backstage area.

- Seating: Capacity 80 seated theatre style.

- Lighting: 2 x  fixed spotlights to flood the stage.

- Sound: 8 Channel Mixer, Cable for MP3 player, 2 Mics, Cables and Mic stands. Performers own sound equipment can be added easily.

- AV: There is a large TV that can be used in this room, located back stage and wheeled into room for performances as required.

- Storage: There is a very small storage room for equipment at the venues cellar for props and equipment, shared with other groups.

- Bar: There bar in this room is not usually in operation.

- Access: The performance space is located on the 1st floor and is fully wheelchair accessible via a lift from Stay Hotel reception. The venue has a disabled toilet.

Performance Space: The Gothic Room

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: 4m  (wide) x4m (deep) raised to 0.5m. Stage entrance from audience (steps) and back stage door. Large backstage area.

- Seating: Capacity 120 seated theatre style.

- Lighting: 8 x  fixed spotlights to flood the stage. Some minimal colour changing is possible.

- Sound: 8 Channel Mixer, Cable for MP3 player, 2 Mics, Cables and Mic stands. Performers own sound equipment can be added easily.

- AV: There is a projector and screen in this room above the stage, and TV screens on the side of the room that can all be used.

- Storage: There is a very small storage room for equipment at the venues cellar for props and equipment, shared with other groups.

- Bar: The bar in this room is not usually in operation.

- Access: The performance space is located on the ground floor and is fully wheelchair accessible. Disabled access toilet nearby.

- Notes: There is some minimal sound bleed through the curtains during the day, more at night for audience sitting at the rear of the room.

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Performance Space: The Wee Room

The Wee 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 bench and movable seating suited to solo shows or small comedy club shows. It is a small space suited to solo shows. It's fully air-conditioned.

- Stage: 0.5m  (wide) x 0.5m (deep) flat on floor, no backstage or wings

- Seating: Capacity 20 seated around room, with limited extra standing 

- Lighting: 1 x  fixed spotlights to flood the stage.

- Sound: 4 Channel Mixer, Cable for MP3 player, 2 Mics, Cables and Mic stands. Performers own sound equipment can be added easily.

- AV: There is no AV in this room.

- Storage: There is a very small storage room for equipment at the venues cellar for props and equipment, shared with other groups.

- Bar: There is no bar in this room.

- Access: The performance space is located on the 1st floor and is fully wheelchair accessible via a ramp and separate entrance.  Disabled toilets in ground floor.

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The Free Sisters Images

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  Maggie's Chamber

              

Maggie's Front Room

           

Gothic Room  Room

   

Wee Room

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General venue Photos