Theatre News

Fergus Linehan announces inaugural EIF programme

The theatre programme will put a spotlight on ‘previously successful’ Scottish work

Juliette Binoche
Juliette Binoche in Antigone, one of the centrepieces of the theatre programme
© Jan Versweyveld

New Edinburgh International Festival director Fergus Linehan has unveiled his inaugural programme, which runs in the Scottish capital from 7 August to 31 August.

Over 2,300 artists from 39 countries will participate in this year's festival, which opens with a large, free, public outdoor event which sees a "spectacular digitally animated artwork" projected onto the Usher Hall, accompanied by the Edinburgh Festival Chorus.

Highlights of the theatre programme include new work from directors Simon McBurney and Robert Lepage, and Scottish playwright David Greig with an adaptation of Alasdair Gray's novel Lanark.

McBurney's company Complicite will stage The Encounter, inspired by Petru Popescu's book Amazon Beaming, while Lepage's ExMachina present the European premiere of 887, billed as a "riveting foray into the world of memory".

As previously announced, Ivo van Hove's new version of Antigone starring Juliette Binoche, currently at the Barbican, will also play the EIF. The Volksbühne Berlin makes its Festival debut with visual artist Dieter Roth's "unstageable play" Murmel Murmel.

And in a significant change there will be a showcase of "already proven successful Scottish work" with Paul Bright's adaptation of Confessions of a Justified Sinner and Vox Motus's Dragon.

Linehan said: "Edinburgh in August is the greatest platform we will ever have anywhere in the world. I don't think it's the time to say if something has been fantastically successful in Scotland that we should deny ourselves the possibility of putting it on."

The opera programme includes a collaboration between Australian director Barrie Kosky and British theatre company 1927 on The Magic Flute, blending animated film and live action. Acclaimed Irish playwright Enda Walsh premieres his first opera libretto in the world premiere of Donnacha Dennehy's The Last Hotel.

Iván Fischer's The Marriage of Figaro with the Budapest Festival Orchestra will put the orchestra and conductor on stage to "assist in the dramatic action". And there will be concert performances of Stravinsky's The Rake’s Progress and Gilbert and Sullivan's H.M.S Pinafore.

Elsewhere, celebrated Austrian pianist Rudolf Buchbinder will play all 32 of Beethoven's piano sonatas – around 10 hours of music. The music programme also features FFS, a new 'supergroup' formed by bands Franz Ferdinand and Sparks.

To view the full programme click here. Tickets for the EIF go on sale on 28 March.

Look out for Michael Coveney's interview with Fergus Linehan