Cardiff Hosts 2005 Musical Fest, EIF Sets New DateDate: 10 December 2003
Following its inauguration last year (See News, 14 Oct 2002), organisers of the International Festival of Musical Theatre have confirmed that Cardiff will host the second triennial event in April 2005.
The 2002 festival attracted audiences to more than 100 performances in 11 venues across the Welsh capital. In 2005, it will also host the first mainstream musical production in the new Wales Millennium Centre, which opens at the end of 2004.
The 2005 festival will also herald a new round of the Global Search for New Musicals, a specific project to develop new musical theatre for the future. In 2002, the search attracted 186 entries from around the world. Of the nine selected to be showcased as part of the festival, three are now being developed for full-scale productions in the US.
As part of its preparations for 2005, the International Festival of Musical Theatre has appointed four more theatrical practitioners to its board: actress and director Julia McKenzie, actor and president of MENCAP Lord Rix CBE DL, former chief executive of the Society of London Theatre (SOLT) and the Theatrical Management Association (TMA) Rupert Rhymes and Open University Professor Trevor Herbert.
Meanwhile, in the Scottish capital, the longer established Edinburgh International Festival (EIF) has reported that ticket sales for its 2003 event in August broke all previous box office records, with a final income of £2,628,702, which is up 12% on 2002 (See News, 11 Aug 2003). Figures show that the main grown area in the over 400,000 festival-goers came from visitors from the UK (up by 5%).
Organisers have confirmed that the 2004 EIF will run from 15 August to 4 September 2004. The full programme will not be announced until April 2004, when tickets go on sale, but preliminary theatrical highlights include a production of Ibsen's The Wild Duck and a visit from American playwright Wallace Shawn as well as stagings of Debussy's Pelleas et Melisande, Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice and Britten's War Requiem.
The granddaddy of them all, the Edinburgh International Festival is just one of some seven festivals that overtake the Scottish city in August. The others are the Edinburgh Film Festival, Book Festival, Jazz & Blues Festival, Visual Arts Festival, the Military Tattoo and, of course, its main spin-off, the Edinburgh Fringe which, on its own, qualifies as the world's largest arts festival, with more than 1,500 shows presented in 2003 (See News, 1 Aug 2003).
- by Terri Paddock