Gilded Balloon is one of Scotland’s leading entertainment venues presenting an annual programme as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe as well as at its new year-round home at the Basement on Rose Street. As one of the four largest venues at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the Gilded Balloon is respected internationally for presenting a stunning annual showcase of theatre, comedy and cabaret.
The Gilded Balloon is notably renowned for producing its own in-house late night comedy line-up show, Late ‘N’ Live. Funny, outrageous and more than a bit sweary, Late ‘n’ Live is the last stand of proper, raw, live comedy – where anything can, and does happen because the audience are still very much in control. Nowadays, Late’n’Live takes place seven nights a week, 1am – 5am, during Fringe inside the Debating Hall of the Gilded Balloon in the Teviot building. Many a household name has cut their teeth on the Late’n’Live stage, from Dylan Moran to Rhona Cameron, Tommy Tiernan to Peter Kay, Bill Bailey to Tim Minchin and the infamous Russell Brand; the list of comedy pedigree is endless.
The Gilded Balloon is also well known for the ‘So You Think You’re Funny?’ comedy competition which strives to discover new comic talent every year. It has now developed into the most influential competition of its kind in the UK, having just celebrated it’s 30th year. The pedigree of the competition is reflected in the list of past winners: Bruce Morton, Phil Kay, Rhona Cameron, Lee Mack, Dylan Moran, Tommy Tiernan and Peter Kay. These individuals are all now established comedians, with successful careers.
More recently, Gilded Balloon has taken up residence at the Rose Theatre. This Fringe, Gilded Balloon at Rose Theatre opened its doors to present an eclectic programme of over 40 productions, from acclaimed musical theatre, through drama, comedy and cabaret, to Edinburgh’s very own panto kings and Scottish-American star of screen, stage, and radio – Craig Ferguson. After the success of our fringe season, The Rose Theatre is now a year round venue in the heart of Edinburgh’s West End.
Karen Koren, Artistic Director, is the founder and creative force behind the Gilded Balloon. Over the years, Karen has earned a deep respect throughout the comedy and entertainment industry both in the UK and abroad. The award winning track record at the Gilded Balloon is ample testament to her success in innovative programming and in her instinct for unleashing previously undeveloped potential.
In 2014, Katy Koren, Karen’s daughter, joined the company and since then they have become a partnership running the family business together. Katy shares Karen’s passion and determination to provide a platform for new and emerging Scottish as well as international artists. Together they started a podcast to record their shared journey of running one of the largest comedy empires in Scotland. Boss Wummin’ is an insight into what it’s like to be women in the comedy industry as well as being women and family in business together.
The Gilded Balloon continues to push the boundaries of programming the best local and worldwide entertainment throughout the Edinburgh Fringe and beyond.