An Open Letter and Invitation to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II to attend the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Thursday 18 July 2013

Madam,

It recently came to my attention that when you awarded Nica Burns an OBE for services to entertainment, your brief conversation resulted in you registering your surprise that the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (the Fringe) had existed for more than 20 years.

I feel quite certain that you went home immediately to research the largest arts festival in the world and discovered that it actually came into existence in 1947, as a response to the Edinburgh International Festival, and has flourished ever since.  Indeed, just last year, the Fringe was said to generate some £141million for the local economy.

I’ve seen your wonderful crown and palace and shan’t assume that you will necessarily be able to appreciate the enormity of this, so for purposes of clarity, let me state that for your typical Edinburgh resident in Dumbiedykes, £141million is A LOT of money.

It struck me that though in recent years I’ve seen images of David Hasselhoff, Ricky Gervais and Miriam Margolyes enjoying all that the Edinburgh Festival Fringe has to offer, I have never seen a photograph of your Majesty in a festival beer garden. Nor have I ever read a ‘fun’ Herald diary piece about you inadvertently falling asleep during a production of Hedda Gabler in a hotel loft.

Then it struck me.

As your humble servant, it is my duty to ensure that you experience the first and best Fringe Festival the world has to offer.  Particularly as it happens annually in your land.  So I put this to you:

I am currently producing The Big Comedy Gala in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.  It’s exactly as it sounds and aims to raise money for the wonderful charity by showcasing a veritable smorgasbord of light entertainment.

It’s on a school night – Monday 12th August to be precise – but as you’ll no doubt be aware, in Edinburgh in August, there’s no such thing as a weekend.

Madam, I would like to invite you and the Duke of Edinburgh to the show to experience fourteen of the best comedic acts that the Edinburgh Festival Fringe has to offer.

As luck would have it, the Gala is being staged in the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, a venue synonymous with high quality events and very much used to welcoming global dignitaries and their security cartel.

I do not want to assume that you will be available to attend, and as such I have not included any tickets with this correspondence.  Instead, inspired by the classic film Never Been Kissed, I have reserved two seats for you in the middle of the auditorium and will wait by them until 21:25 on August 12th, hoping that you can find it in your heart of hearts to show up.

Please, your Majesty, be a very wealthy Michael Varnan to my oddly shaped Drew Barrymore.

Of course, the Fringe is not all about comedy; there’s a massive programme of dance, theatre, music and visual arts to choose from too. If you do come to Edinburgh, the day after the gala I’m sure I can hook you up with some tickets for one of the many student productions.  Just let me know in advance.

Now, let’s get to the nitty gritty of it all.

I know you have a wonderful home in Edinburgh; indeed, two years ago you invited me to your garden party.  Alas I was somewhat in the huff with you and didn’t attend due to your rewarding famous homophobe Brian Souter with an OBE – but I’m ready to move on, if you are.

If you would like the full Fringe experience, I would be more than happy to welcome you into my home to stay for a couple of nights.  As it’s you, you and the Duke can have the room with the en-suite, though you will need to share a kitchen with the cast of Briefs and Corey Feldman.

I can guarantee that if you make the trip to Edinburgh, you will not regret it.  Indeed, many of the people on the bill have also performed at the Royal Variety Performance, including our wonderful host The Boy with Tape on his Face, and don’t even pretend you won’t absolutely lose your shit when Caroline Rhea from Sabrina the Teenage Witch comes on stage.  She is truly one of the greatest comediennes out there.

Tickets are normally £20, though I’m happy to cover the cost if you throw a ring or bracelet into the Macmillan bucket at the end.

So there we are.

If you would like to attend the Big Comedy Gala in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support, it’s on Monday 12 August 2013 from 21:30 at Venue150@EICC.

I very much hope to see you there.

I have the honour to be, Madam, Your Majesty’s humble and obedient servant.

Barry Hetherington

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