Residents of Edinburgh probably don't need reminding that their very own cultural Olympics will be taking place in August once again, with just about every venue in the city set to be taken over by a wealth of comedians, dancers, singers and performers with one aim - to win your love (and maybe to earn a few quid as well).
But before the late summer, warm-ups and previews are up for grabs for those not fortunate enough to live in the Scottish capital. Venues 'down south' will soon be offering you the opportunity to catch new routines and shows by some of 2012's most hopeful Edinburgh Fringe participants - so let the Edinburgh Festival Previews commence (in no particular order).
The creator of 'Excavating Rita', 'Talking Cock' and the recent 'What is Love, Anyway?' will be performing a few pre-Fringe shows very soon, including Dulwich (19th May), Islington, Palmer's Green, Oxford, Nottingham and Leicester. Tickets vary in price from as little as £5 (for the Islington show)
Another regular on the Fringe scene, writer and actor Cruttenden also has plenty of shows ready to split your sides with, including a specific Edinburgh Preview double-bill with Richard Herring at Palmer's Green's The Fox venue on 1st June. Priced from £9. Other gigs include Southsea, Hammersmith (Scope's charity bash with Ben Elton, Al Murray etc) and Salford.
This funny Kent comedian is a previous Fringe award-winner so you know you'll be chuckling at her preview slot at Ely's Maltings on 12th June (£12). Long is also booked to appear with Robin Ince at the Stoke Newington Literary Festival 2012 on 1st June and E4 Udderbelly Festival on 27th June.
This young musician and comedian already has a nationwide tour prepared for the autumn where he'll be 'Coming To Get You' across the UK. Beforehand and before the Fringe in August, Lawrence and Chris Martin will team up at Scoundrels in Winchester on 26th July for a double-bill. £6-£10.
If it's bonkers songs, improvisation and a spot of audience participation you're after, then Irish Abandoman are just for you. After slots at E4 Udderbelly, Beach Break Live and Ealing Comedy in the Park, the duo will hitch a ride to Leicester's Firebug with Ray Peacock for a Preview special on 22nd July. £8 and recommended.
As well as the various Previews that also feature Carl Donnelly, Sion James, Patrick Monahan and more, there is the actual Edinburgh Festival Fringe to consider as well. Tickets will get snapped up very quickly for August shows at Venue 150 which feature Jason Byrne, Jimeoin, Jimmy Carr and Rhod Gilbert, plus shows at other venues featuring Henry Rollins, Chilly Gonzales and more. Prices vary.
Bookmark this page to keep up to date with further Edinburgh Festival Preview and Edinburgh Festival Fringe shows, as they are announced.