Amnesty at the Fringe: Edinburgh 2009

Tomorrow we’ll be announcing Amnesty’s programme for this year’s Edinburgh Festival, and once again it’s looking pretty exciting – particularly for me as I get to go up to Edinburgh for two weeks to help promote it.

The Amnesty Stand Up For Freedom comedy shows return to the Assembly Rooms on 12 and 19 August, featuring the likes of Simon Amstell, Russell Howard, Andrew Maxwell and Phil Nicholl. The midnight shows are quite an Edinburgh institution. This year we’ve also got Kurt Braunohler and Kristen Schaal from ‘Flight of the Conchords’, which I’m particularly excited about – I’ve already been to see them live earlier this year and Kristen’s show at the 2007 Edinburgh Fringe was hilarious.

We’ve also got a bigger-than-ever presence at the Book Festival this year too, with the launch of Freedom, a new book of short stories by renowned writers based on the articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. And the Imprisoned Writers Series will have authors like Iain Banks and Ian Rankin reading from the work of writers who’ve been locked up for expressing their views. The Amnesty Lecture this year will come from Emmanuel Jal, formerly a Sudanese Child Soldier and now an acclaimed rap artist.

We’ll also be awarding the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award to an outstanding Fringe play that carries a human rights message. The 2007 winner, The Container, plays at the Young Vic from 15-30 July this year and it’s another one I’ll be keen to get a ticket to – as the play’s set inside a shipping container it only seats 28 audience members, so I missed the play when it opened at Edinburgh in ’07.

More info about the whole Edinburgh programme at www.amnesty.org.uk/scotland

Amnesty will be campaigning in Edinburgh for the release of Dr Binayak Sen, an Indian paediatrician facing trial on trumped-up charges that Amnesty believes are a response to his activism, speaking out on behalf of the poor and marginalised. If convicted he could face a life term in jail. We’re asking people to go to www.amnesty.org.uk/binayak-sen and send an appeal to the Indian authorities.

I’ll be blogging and tweeting from the Festival, so watch this space.

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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