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Sunday, 6 August, 2000, 19:37 GMT 20:37 UK
Colourful start to Edinburgh festivities
Edinburgh Fringe cavalcade
A dragon sets the Fringe off to a monster start
Edinburgh was awash with colour and sound on Sunday as the Scottish capital's festival season got under way.

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe, officially launched at the Dynamic Earth Centre, was followed by a cavalcade down Princes Street by some of the thousands of performers.

The Fringe - dubbed the world's biggest arts festival by its organisers - will this year see 1,350 companies and individuals giving nearly 17,000 performances in 177 venues throughout the city.

A record number of new works of theatre, dance, drama and music will also be on show for the first time.

The International Festival - which has come to be dwarfed by the Fringe over the years - will start a week later.

Diana actress
An actress resembling Princess Diana appears in one video
Paul Gudgin, director of the Fringe, said 275 new works will be premiered, a record for the event's 53-year history.

He said: "This year we look forward to welcoming artists from Hollywood to Hong Kong and everywhere in between.

"This is the first time that we've highlighted the world premieres in our programme.

"It will provide audiences with opportunities to see exciting new theatre, music and dance performed by a whole host of performers from all over the world."

Controversy is never very far away from the Fringe, most often in the form of attempts by performers to garner much-needed publicity.

One of the first to attract attention is a video, featuring an actress who resembles Diana, Princess of Wales, which will be screened in Princess Street Gardens.

The short film features a Diana look-alike eating chocolate, crossing and uncrossing her legs in a way reminiscent of Sharon Stone in the Hollywood film Basic Instinct, and making an offensive gesture.

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