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EIF Unveils Celebration of Asian Culture for 2011

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Edinburgh International Festival (EIF), this year held from 12 August to 4 September, has announced its 2011 programme, with a season of work celebrating the "vibrant and diverse cultures of Asia and the long standing influences on the cultural landscape of the west".

Mokwha Repertory Company from Seoul will stage a re-imagined production of Shakespeare's The Tempest which will weave the Bard's fiction with true stories from the fifth-century Korean Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms. The piece, which makes its European premiere with its run at the King's Theatre from 13 to 16 August, will be adapted and directed by Tae-Suk Oh.

The production, which will be performed in Korean with English supertitles, is designed by Eun-A Cho with lighting by Aikawa Masaaki and Kyung-Chun Lee, costume by Seung-Mu Lee, choreography by Keun-Sung Moon and traditional Korean music arranged by Eun-Jeung Wu.

The Royal Lyceum Theatre will host another international Shakespeare production, with Taipei's Contemporary Legend Theatre transforming King Lear into a one-man performance written, directed and performed by Wu Hsing-Kuo. Using the traditional stagecraft of the Chinese Peking Opera, Hsing-Kuo will simultaneously depict multiple characters as well as appearing as himself. The production will also harness martial arts, contemporary dance and traditional live music.

King Lear has costume design by Tim Yip with set designed by Chang Wang, lighting by Tommy Wong and Wong Choo-yean, music composed by Lee Yi-chin, songs arranged by Lee Men and Wu Hsing-kuo, with music arranged by Li Han-chiang. It will be staged in Mandarin with English supertitles.

EIF will stage the world premiere of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, a detective story, an account of a disintegrating marriage and a dramatic revelation of long buried World War II secrets, based on a novel by Haruki Murakami. Adapted for the stage by Greg Pierce and Stephen Earnhart (who also directs), it builds on the work of one of Japan's most celebrated writers.

Earnhart was formerly director of production for Miramax Films where he oversaw projects including A Rage in Harlem and Hardware. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle promises to be a "hypnotic production combining performance, music, puppetry, dance and film".

The cast for the production has been announced as James Yaegashi, Stacey Yen, ]James Saito, Maureen Sebastian, Toshiji Takeshima, Mina Nishimura, Akira Takayama, Akira Ito and Yoshihiro Watanabe.

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is produced by Pamela Lubell in association with Wind-Up Productions with Rafe Fogel and Erin Craig. It has set and puppet design by Tom Lee with projection by Adam Larsen, lighting by Laura Mroczkowski, sound by Jane Shaw and costume by Oana Botez-Ban.

Performed in English and Japanese with English supertitles, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle will run at the King's Theatre from 20 to 24 August 2011.

Moving away from the Far East, Tim Supple's One Thousand and One Nights, a six-hour exploration of the "never-ending stories" of Lebanese novelist Hanan Al-Shaykh will make it's European premiere at the EIF. It opens on 21 August at the Royal Lyceum Theatre (running until 3 September) following outings at the Luminato festival in Toronto in June and Chicago Shakespeare Theater in June and July.

Written from tales gathered across the Arabic-speaking world, it tells stories of the real and the supernatural, love and marriage, power and punishment, wealth and poverty, and the endless trials and uncertainties of fate.

One Thousand and One Nights is performed in two parts by actors and musicians from Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, Lebanon, Algeria, Morocco, Paris and London who are already rehearsing in Fez.

It is designed by Hussein Baydoun with lighting by Sabri El Atrous, music by Ahmad El Sawy and Bastien Lagatta and movement by Imen Smaoui.

One Thousand and One Nights is produced by Dash Arts under commission to Luminato, Toronto Festival of Arts and Creativity.

Elsewhere in the programme, winner of the 2010 EIF prize at the Edinburgh Fringe, cabaret artist Meow Meow (who opened last night in the West End production of Umbrellas of Cherbourg) will give two work-in-progress presentations on 17 and 18 August.

Cora Bissett, director of EIF Prize-winning Roadkill, and Pachamama Productions will explore ideas for a new Scottish musical based on the lives of young women living in Glasgow whose activism revealed the poor treatment of asylum-seekers in that city. The piece, Glasgow Girls, will be presented in two work-in-progress performances on 25 and 26 August.


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