70th Festival programme announced

Edinburgh International Festival today unveiled its 2017 programme which marks the event’s 70th anniversary. This year’s International Festival runs from Friday 4 to Monday 28 August, welcoming 2,020 artists from 40 nations to perform in Scotland’s capita

Edinburgh International Festival today unveiled its 2017 programme which marks the event’s 70th anniversary. This year’s International Festival runs from Friday 4 to Monday 28 August, welcoming 2,020 artists from 40 nations to perform in Scotland’s capital city.

Unveiling his third International Festival programme, Director Fergus Linehan revealed a mix of world-class talent from across the performing arts, featuring the very best contemporary artists and ensembles. Major artists include British bass-baritone Sir Bryn Terfel, singer-songwriter Jarvis Cocker, world-renowned conductor Riccardo Chailly, playwright Alan Ayckbourn, Sitar player and composer Anoushka Shankar, Australian chanteuse Meow Meow, violinist Nicola Benedetti and Mercury Prize winner PJ Harvey.

Companies and ensembles include The Old Vic Theatre Company, revered Italian opera house Teatro Regio Torino, world-leading dance company Nederlands Dans Theater, the orchestra of Milan’s world-renowned opera house La Scala Filarmonica della Scala, and a celebration of the music of psychedelic-folk legends The Incredible String Band.

In a special season, leading Scottish theatre companies the Citizens Theatre, Royal Lyceum Theatre and the Traverse Theatre Company present works which consider the origins of European drama from a contemporary perspective. Each examines, in different ways, the fragility of human relationships, society and civilisation. The work of Edinburgh-based playwright Zinnie Harris underpins all three productions: Oresteia: This Restless House from the Citizens Theatre, a reimagining of Aeschylus’s 2,500-year-old drama; an new adaptation of Eugène Ionesco’s comment on the rise of extremism, Rhinoceros from the Royal Lyceum Theatre with DOT Theatre of Turkey, and the world premiere of new work Meet me at Dawn from the Traverse Theatre Company.

The International Festival was established in 1947 in the aftermath of the Second World War to ‘provide a platform for the flowering of the human spirit’ through a shared celebration of artistic excellence and cultural exchange. The 2017 programme celebrates 70 years of outstanding virtuosity and innovation, and explores how the Festival’s founding ideals still resonate in today’s uncertain world.

The International Festival begins with a free, public outdoor event on Friday 4 August. The Standard Life Opening Event: Bloom is a large-scale art event that celebrates the explosion of colour, vibrancy and optimism that supported the arrival of the International Festival in 1947, and its subsequent cultural influence in Edinburgh and the rest of the world.  The event brings together illuminations and projections in a central Edinburgh location produced for the third year by 59 Productions, creators of the acclaimed Harmonium Project and Deep Time.

The International Festival will once again be brought to a spectacular conclusion on Monday 28 August with the Virgin Money Fireworks Concert, when over 400,000 fireworks will burst into the sky above Edinburgh Castle, choreographed to live music from the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

Tickets for International Festival performances go on sale in a priority period to Festival Friends and Patrons on Saturday 18 March, with public sales going live at 10am on Saturday 25 March. A range of prices are available across the programme, with tickets starting from just £6.

Fergus Linehan, Festival Director said: ‘‘Since 1947, the International Festival has extended an invitation from the people of Scotland to people all over the world, to join us in celebrating the unparalleled creativity and talent that great artists bring to Edinburgh. In our 70th anniversary year, it feels more important than ever perhaps, that we celebrate the founding values of the International Festival and that through a shared celebration of artistic excellence and cultural exchange, we ‘provide a platform for the flowering of the human spirit’ and to continue to welcome the world to our city”

Councillor Richard Lewis, Edinburgh's Festivals and Events Champion, said: "This summer, the world’s greatest artists and ensembles will descend on our capital to celebrate the 70th anniversary of one of the biggest arts festival in the world – our Edinburgh International Festival. The Council and the city has championed the Festival since its inception in 1947. Seventy years later, the event continues to bring thousands of people together from all over Scotland and the world in a celebration of the arts and culture. From opera to the Old Vic, Joshua Bell to Jarvis Cocker, the 2017 programme will feature 2,020 artists in a diverse mix of music, dance and theatre. It could just be one of the most pioneering programmes yet. I am delighted we are this year providing additional financial support to mark the milestone year, which will also see a new generation of Festival fans showcase their very own performance venue. Pupils from Edinburgh’s Castlebrae Community High School will support the Festival team to deliver a world-class venue at their school, presenting a brand new hip-hop show. Don’t miss it.”

Tickets for all events at the International Festival go on sale on Saturday 25 March at 10am, unless signed up for staggered priority booking, which opens on Wednesday 15 April at 10am.