EdBookFest Theatre

Jun 22 2015 | By More

Tickets on sale 8.30am Tue 23 June

Edinburgh Book Festival 2015 tickets go on sale tomorrow morning with a strong number of theatre-related events in the mix.

The good things come in twos, it seems. A pair of dramatic readings; a couple of Shakespeare talks; a pair of critics debating the future of theatre criticism; two playwrights with new books to talk about; a pair of authors who use theatre as a device; and the singular BookFest regular Alasdair Gray has two things to discuss this year.

Alan Cumming who will be in conversation with Ian Rankin. Photo: Kevin Garcia

Alan Cumming who will be in conversation with Ian Rankin. Photo: Kevin Garcia

However it is the meeting of two of Scotland’s most successful and high-profile creative talents that is likely to be the biggest seller for those getting online at 8.30am on Tuesday 23 June.

Actor Alan Cumming has been invited to chat to Ian Rankin, as part of Rankin’s own series of events, on Sat 29 Aug. Cumming made waves with Not My Father’s Son, his memoir about his tough upbringing. He will discuss his life and an acting career that has turned him into the darling of Broadway and Hollywood.

In one of the tie-ins with other festivals, which seem rarer this year than some, Alasdair Gray will be talking about his great novel Lanark (Sun 16 Aug), which is being staged in a new David Greig adaptation by the EIF. He will be contrasting his ideas for Lanark with a reading from his newest project, a paraphrase of Dante’s The Divine Comedy and will reveal the classic work of literary criticism which provided inspiration for both.

Contemporary critics Joyce McMillan of the Scotsman and Mark Fisher of the Guardian will no doubt have already had an opinion on Greig’s adaptation by the time they appear at BookFest on Mon 24 Aug. But their debate on this occasion will be over whether arts journalism is in crisis, in a discussion chaired by journalist Jackie McGlone.

rambunctious mixture

The first of the dramatic readings is Edwin Morgan’s translation of Edmond Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac (Sun 16 Aug). It was commissioned by Gerry Mulgrew’s Communicado theatre company in 1992 and its rambunctious mixture of English and Scots won a Fringe First that year. To mark the fifth anniversary of Edwin Morgan’s death, Mulgrew returns to present a one-off rehearsed reading of the play.

The second is Seamus Heaney’s adaptation into modern English of Beowulf from the Anglo Saxon original (Sat 22 Aug). The event, staged as a coproduction with the Glasgow Tron, is a BookFest farewell to Heaney, who died in 2013, and described the original as “one of the foundation works of poetry in English”.

The first of the playwrights at the festival is Michael Frayn, of Copenhagen and Noises Off fame (Wed 26 Aug). A novelist as well as a playwright, his new book, Matchbox Theatre, contains 30 short “entertainments” that are both stories and micro plays. He provides the dialogue, the reader’s imagination supplies the scenery, characters, direction and interval ice-cream.

David Hare has many great plays under his belt, notably at the National Theatre, where he was made an associate director in 1984. On Sat 29 Aug he will be discussing his memoir, The Blue Touch Paper, which covers his days as a student at Oxford through to the 1970s and his early breakthroughs as a playwright, with fellow playwright and former Channel 4 Head of Drama, Peter Ansorge.

For those of a Bardic disposition, there is a pair of events around Shakespeare too. Andrew Biswell is leading a reading workshop (Tue 18 Aug) to explore the  biography written by Anthony Burgess, who was apparently fascinated by Shakespeare throughout his career.

The following Saturday 22 Aug, actor and Shakespeare specialist Ben Crystal will be talking about the  Oxford Illustrated Shakespeare Dictionary which he co-authored with his father, the linguist David Crystal. Aimed at a audience over 9 years old, Understanding Shakespeare will see Crystal bring Shakespeare’s language to life.

The final pairing is aimed at younger readers. Elen Caldecott and Emma Shevah are appearing together on Sun 23 Aug, and both used theatre as a device in their latest novels aimed at the 9-12 years age group. Caldecott’s latest Marsh Road Mysteries novel Diamonds and Daggers involves a nasty act of theft when a Hollywood legend comes to star in a local theatre production. While Dara Palmer’s Major Drama by Emma Shevah, describes Dara’s disappointment at not getting a role in the school play. Both novels touch on themes of immigration, prejudice and rising above adversity.

But the last word goes – as it often does – to the Guardian’s London-based theatre critic Lyn Garner, who is introducing the last of her Olivia series about the trials and tribulations of attending drama school (Sat 15 Aug). In Olivia’s Curtain Call, Olivia finds herself faced with a difficult decision: Should she follow her dreams of becoming a West End actress like her mum, or join her father in a high-wire stunt performance?


Edinburgh International Book Festival 2015
15-31 August 2015
Charlotte Square Gardens, Edinburgh, EH2 4DR
Booking opens 8.30am on Tuesday 23 June, 2015.
Phone booking: 0845 373 5888
Internet booking: https://www.edbookfest.co.uk/.
Further details here: https://www.edbookfest.co.uk/the-festival/how-to-book
Tickets will be limited to four per person for each event on the first day of booking.

Lyn Gardner
Sat 15 Aug: 10am – 11am (£4.50)
Booking link: www.edbookfest.co.uk/the-festival/whats-on/stage-dreams-with-lyn-gardner
Stage Dreams with Lyn Gardner

Alasdair Gray: Lanark and the Comedy United
Sun 16 Aug 5pm – 6pm (£10, £8)
Booking link: https://www.edbookfest.co.uk/the-festival/whats-on/alasdair-gray-5

Cyrano de Bergerac
Sun 16 Aug 7.30pm – 9pm (£12, £10)
Booking link: https://www.edbookfest.co.uk/the-festival/whats-on/cyrano-de-bergerac
Dramatic Reading of the Classic Play

Andrew Biswell on Shakespeare
Tue 18 Aug: 1pm – 2.30pm (£15, £12)
Booking link: www.edbookfest.co.uk/the-festival/whats-on/andrew-biswell-on-shakespeare
Reading Workshop

Understanding Shakespeare with Ben Crystal
Sat 22 Aug: 11.45am – 12.45pm (£4.50)
Booking link: www.edbookfest.co.uk/the-festival/whats-on/understanding-shakespeare-with-ben-crystal
Families & 9+

Sat 22 Aug: 7.30pm – 9pm (£12, £10)
Booking link: www.edbookfest.co.uk/the-festival/whats-on/beowulf
A Tribute to Seamus Heaney

Queens of Drama: Elen Caldecott & Emma Shevah
Sun 23 Aug: 2pm – 3pm (£4.50)
Booking link: www.edbookfest.co.uk/the-festival/whats-on/queens-of-drama-elen-caldecott-emma-shevah
Age 9-12

Mark Fisher & Joyce McMillan
Mon 24 Aug: 2.15pm – 3.15pm (£10, £8)
Booking link: www.edbookfest.co.uk/the-festival/whats-on/mark-fisher-joyce-mcmillan
Is Arts Journalism in Crisis?

Michael Frayn
Wed 26 Aug: 3.15pm – 4.15pm (£10, £8)
Booking link: www.edbookfest.co.uk/the-festival/whats-on/michael-frayn-2
Theatre in the Mind

David Hare
Sat 29 Aug: 6.45pm – 7.45pm (£10, £8)
Booking link: www.edbookfest.co.uk/the-festival/whats-on/david-hare
Starting Out in Theatre

Alan Cumming with Ian Rankin
Sat 29 Aug: 8.15pm – 9.15pm (£10, £8)
Booking link: www.edbookfest.co.uk/the-festival/whats-on/alan-cumming-with-ian-rankin
Part of  Guest Selector Ian Rankin’s series of events.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.