The beauty of Berlin-based agency Aurora Nova's Fringe programme is that it leads you straight to the kind of material you don’t know you’ve been craving until you finally get to see it. 

The Skinny, August 2015

Wolfgang Hoffmann... Well known to Edinburgh Fringe audiences as the dancer, director and producer from former East Germany who ran the mighty Aurora Nova venue at St Stephen’s Church from 2001 to 2007 – bringing some of the finest physical theatre in the world to Edinburgh (...) ”The Edinburgh Fringe?” he says.”I think it’s just a force of nature; it has its own energy, so that when one creative venture ends, another emerges, and it just keeps on growing. It’s 12 years since I first came to Edinburgh from Potsdam, with a Do Theatre show called Hopeless Games. Yet even now, I still love to be there. And I love saying to people, ‘I’ll see you in Edinburgh, in August.'"

The Scotsman, July 2011

Of course, what can help any venue is a reputation for putting on good shows. The now-defunct Aurora Nova, for instance, was almost a place of pilgrimage for many dance enthusiasts.

Herald Scotland, August 2010

It is three years since the Edinburgh Fringe saw the last programme of the acclaimed Aurora Nova festival of visual theatre. Since then there have been numerous pretenders to the crown, but no one has quite managed to come up with a programme which has the distinct identity, the coherence and the sheer quality that Wolfgang Hoffmann's event brought to the Scottish capital.

Sunday Herald, August 2010

Edinburgh festival: Where’s the best physical theatre?
Aurora Nova is out of action. If you’re looking for total theatre of international calibre, you’ll have to look further afield. At the end of St Vincent Street in Edinburgh stands a church that, this year, looks more than a little forlorn. Since 2001 St Stephen’s had been the home to Aurora Nova – by far the best place in Edinburgh for international physical theatre. The venue could always be relied on to showcase work which was not only enormously accomplished artistically, but which was often visually stunning. Financial restrictions for most shows on the Fringe mean that they often consist of little more than one performer and a chair. But the stuff at Aurora Nova came with some of the highest production values that you could expect to see on the fringe or anywhere else. Putting that programme together each year must have cost a fortune, and perhaps that is why, only a few months ago, a financial crisis forced artistic director Wolfgang Hoffman to shut his venue down at the last minute. When I heard this news, the Fringe became, for me, just a little duller.

Chris Wilkonson, Guardian Theatre Blog, 
August 2008

 The Fringe will be a poorer place without Aurora Nova this year... This is a bad news, good news type of story. The bad news, which some of you may have heard, is that there will be no Aurora Nova at the upcoming Edinburgh Fringe. It’s a blow. Since it took over St Stephen’s Church in 2001, Aurora Nova has, under Wolfgang Hoffman’s tireless direction, been delivering a superlative programme of international visual theatre and dance. It has become almost a festival within a festival, and the programme has been worth the trip to Edinburgh in August in its own right.

Lyn Gardner, Guardian Theatre Blog, May 2008

When I first picked up my Fringe programme and discovered that Aurora Nova had been swallowed up by Assembly I felt much as I did on the day when I discovered the gerbil had escaped from its cage straight into the jaws of the cat. (...) Aurora Nova’s innovative programme of international dance and physical theatre is absolutely unique on the Fringe and worth protecting. From what I see so far, Aurora Nova continues to operate in its own delightfully idiosyncratic way, acting as a meeting place for international artists and adventurous festival audiences looking for something a little bit different.

Lyn Gardner, Guardian Theatre Blog,
st 2007

The real theatrical story of the Festival isn’t a play – it’s a place. For the past seven  years, it’s been worth heading to Edinburgh in August simply to see what’s on at Aurora Nova. Programmed by the inspired German-born, Dublin-based Wolfgang Hoffmann, Aurora Nova is international, dance-driven, song-led, visually startling: taken together, its pieces (hardly any are what you’d call plays) add up to a lexicon of alternative theatre.

Susannah Clap, The Observer, August 2007

Aurora Nova … probably the most exciting venue on the Fringe.
IT’S the fringe within the Fringe, the venue where you are guaranteed to see the most daring and passionate programme of physical theatre during August. Entering its sixth year at St Stephen’s Church, Aurora Nova has always occupied a special place on the Fringe, one where sponsorship, sales and shoddy stand-up are shunned in favour of a commitment to internationalism, collaboration and inventiveness. Jointly run by German theatre company Fabrik, Potsdam and Brighton promoters Komedia, Aurora Nova is outward-looking even in the way it is structured. This year’s programme is no exception, with a larger and even more diverse run of dance, physical theatre and all the experimental forms in between, from silent film to audio-visuals. ….In Aurora Nova’s inaugural year, Fringe director Paul Gudgin referred to the venue as “the thing that the Fringe has been missing”, adding that “they could go from zero to audiences of 25,000 in a few years”. In 2004, audiences reached a staggering 30,000. Aurora Nova now represents the best of what the Fringe can be.

The Scotsman, June 2006

Firstly I highly recommend all the shows at Aurora Nova @ St Stephens – during the Fringe it’s the vibrant heart of International Physical Theatre.

Edinburgh Guide, August 2005

Curtain up on a new dawn — Performed by Poland’s Song of the Goat Theatre (you couldn’t make it up), Chronicles: A Lamentation is a beautiful 40-minute blend of vocal music and physical dance….. It’s the best show I saw all Fringe. I even bought the CD on the way out.That such a show should appear at Aurora Nova is no coincidence. Over the past few years, the venue has established itself as a haven for physical theatre of what you assume to be the Eastern European variety, although this year’s programme features work from France, Norway, Australia, Sweden and Germany as well as Poland, Russia and the Czech Republic.

The Scotsman, August 2004

This Nova is Super – Our writer finds delight amid the dross.

In the cultural catch-all that is the Edinburgh Fringe, some art forms inevitably get the short end of the stick. Theatre listings landed a whopping 66 of the 2004 programme’s 224 pages, while comedy grabbed 55. Dance and that nebulous entity called physical theatre make do with a mere six. The truth is that in a marginal field littered with half-baked uncertainties, silly irrelevancies and just plain junk, not much can claim lasting value. There are saving graces ... for lovers of international dance and largely text-free theatre the most adventurous Fringe programming, and the venue of choice, is Aurora Nova. Named after the Russian battleship that fired the first shot in the October Revolution, this festival-within-a-festival is located on the edge of New Town in the former St Stephen’s church. Few knew what to expect when Aurora Nova opened its doors in August 2001. A co-production between the Fabrik company of Potsdam and the Brighton venue Komedia, it has since become as key a Fringe player as the Traverse Theatre, the Pleasance or the Assembly Rooms. “We see Aurora Nova as colleagues,” says Joseph Seelig, co-director of the London International Mime Festival, “who have made visual theatre desirable, exciting and accessible in a festival overrun by comedians and commercial theatre.” Aurora Nova’s revolutionary approach grew from the experiences of its artistic director Wolfgang Hoffmann. “As a Fringe performer,” he says, “I had a hard time accepting the conditions that artists put themselves in. After my second Fringe I had a lot of suggestions to improve things, mainly through the creation of a more efficient, venue-identified co-operative where artists promote each other rather than just themselves.” With Komedia, Hoffmann found the potential for a hugely sympathetic partnership. Hoffmann describes his aesthetic criteria as “embarrassingly simple. I select work that I enjoy, by which I’m inspired, or which moves me. The hardest, but crucial, bit is to reject companies that don’t convince me.” For those who win Hoffmann’s favour, Aurora Nova functions in a communal spirit of shared risks and pooled resources. Artists find this a welcome antidote to the factory-like operations of bigger, supermarket-like venues...

Donald Hutera, The Times, August 2004

Aurora Nova – World Theatre Festival

This is what the Fringe is about – independent operators from Germany, Russia, Scotland and England pulling resources in order to dig deep into the corners of central east Europe (and further) to bring some of the most innovative acts to the Fringe. The venue is uniquely co-funded and marketed by all participating companies to ensure total fairness and equal exposure.
This year a new venue hosts much of the happenings, an impressively imposing baroque church in the heart of the New Town. Included in the “10 countries, 4 continents” line up this year is: 5 Russian avant-garde groups, and individual groups from Japan, Germany, Costa Rica and Sweden as well as England’s
Komedia and Scotland’s Theatre Cryptic. A word to the wise – these are the folk responsible for introducing the incredible BlackSkyWhite to an incredulous public last year with the staggering, Bertrand’s Toys.

The Scotsman, June 2001