Edinburgh Fringe

The Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas

The Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas, brought to you by the Beltane Public Engagement Network is debate, discussion and discourse in the company of some of the fiercest intellects that Scotland has to offer – all within a yurt! The Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas first ran at the 2013 Edinburgh Fringe, and has got bigger and better every year!


The Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas is designed as an informal platform for academics and researchers to engage with the public on an array of topics.

Renowned for its extravagant displays and outlandish performances the Fringe provides the ideal setting to discuss hidden and controversial research with an entirely different group who may not usually come into contact with it.


The concept of the shows is simple; to get research out to the masses, beyond the university walls. Academics from different universities and organisations come together to create, write and perform individual shows, in which they try to make their expertise more accessible in a different context by discussing provocative and ‘dangerous’ topics.

Previous shows

Heriot-Watt shows to date include:

  • Derek Ball (IB3, EPS): 'Exercise is Bad for you!'
  • Jenny Wood (EGIS):  'Keep the Kids Out!'
  • Jemina Napier, Mark MacQueen, Stacey Webb, and Gary Quinn (SML):  The Myth of Universal Sign Language.
  • Dr Lorna Street & Prof. Phil Wookey (SLS): 'Skating on thin ice'
  • Dr Derek Ball (SLS): 'What if Lance Amrstrong had the right idea?'
  • Prof. Jemina Napier (SML): 'Hearing loss or Deaf Gain?'
  • Dr Alan Gow (SOSS): 'Brain training on trial', 'The Great British Brain Off', 'What makes you sharp', 'This show will make you sharper'
  • Jenny Wood (EGIS): 'Keep the Kids Out!'
  • Prof Graham Turner (EGIS):'Send the Deaf to Orkney' and 'Speech Sucks: The Future Signs'
  • Dr Prabir Bhattachyra (SML): 'Sex Selective Abortions: behind the headlines'
  • Dr Tim Johnson (MACS): 'Rethinking Rules'
  • Dr Peter Matthews (SML): 'Demolish Morningside!'
  • Professor David Cobham (SML): 'George Osborne's Vain Pursuit'
  • Dr Ross Alexander (EPS): 'Lets kill half the world'
  • Dr Paola Ruffo (SOSS): Can Google really translate?'
  • Dr Anna Sedda (SOSS): 'Disgust for Dummies'
  • Dr Ross Donaldson (EPS): 'The Dark Side of Data Security'
  • Dr Ross 
  • Dr Thusha Rajendran (SOSS): 'Ok Computer or Paranoid Android?. 

Key information

HW Engage