Theatre News

Edinburgh International Festival 2019 full line-up to include Stephen Fry, 1927 and Kate Tempest

The Festival runs across the month of August 2019

Stephen Fry
Stephen Fry
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

The full line-up for the 2019 Edinburgh International Festival has been revealed.

Internationaal Theater Amsterdam and Robert Icke's political reimagining of Oedipus, which initially ran in April 2018, will have its UK premiere at the festival. Swiss director Milo Rau's production of La Reprise. Histoire(s) du théâtre (I) also has its UK premiere following a run at Avignon Festival in 2017. Exploring the real-life 2012 killing of Ihsane Jarfi in Liege, the production explores the causes and consequences of murder.

Stephen Fry will present a trilogy of plays adapted from his best-selling book Mythos, about the Greek pantheon of gods and their various inceptions. Writer and director Ifeoma Fafunwa, founder and creative director of iOpenEye, will bring together ten of Nigeria's biggest stars for Hear Word! Naija Woman Talk True.

Disability-led Scottish company Birds of Paradise will present Robert Softley Gale's Purposeless Movements, exploring the perception of disability and masculinity. Sydney Theatre Company will come to the festival for the first time with the European premiere of The Secret River, based on the histories of two families in 19th century Australia. The production has an ensemble cast of 22 and live music composed by Iain Grandage.

National Theatre of Scotland will present two world premieres at the festival – Jackie Kay's Red Dust Road, about growing up as a mixed-race adopted Scot, as well as Tim Crouch's Total Immediate Collective Imminent Terrestrial Salvation, in the company's first ever co-production with the Royal Court.

Canada's indigenous history is put under the microscope in Kiinalik: These Sharp Tools, while hit company 1927 will return to the festival for the first time since 2015 to bring to life little-known folk tales in Roots.

A previously announced co-production between the International Festival and the National Theatre, entitled Peter Gynt, will run following its premiere in London. David Hare's new text is based on Ibsen's iconic story, with Angels in America star James McArdle leading the cast.

John Eliot Gardiner will conduct the Scottish Chamber Orchestra for a concert performance of Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story, featuring Sophia Burgos and Alek Shrader.

Ian McKellen will also stop off at the festival as part of his epic national tour.

Festival director Fergus Linehan said: "At the end of the first Edinburgh International Festival in 1947, conductor Bruno Walter wrote that the Festival has succeeded because 'it was of the utmost importance and most to be desired that all the ties, which had been torn, should be re-united'. The 2019 International Festival launch is framed against a backdrop of division and confusion. With artists and audiences from all over the world gathering to celebrate each other's music, theatre, dance and art, we hope that the 2019 International Festival will offer a refreshing dose of generosity, inclusiveness and optimism".

Other highlights include a new narrative ballet version of Arthur Miller's The Crucible performed by the Scottish Ballet, with Mercury Prize nominee Kate Tempest taking to the stage.

The International Festival opening ceremony will this year take place at the Tynecastle Park football stadium, where the LA Philharmonic Orchestra will play a series of film scores to the crowd. Tickets are free and will be available from 1 July.