EIF Theatre Announced

Mar 14 2018 | By More

Seven plays for EIF 2018

The Edinburgh International Festival has launched its 2018 programme with seven pieces of theatre, a musical theatre production of The Beggar’s Opera, two staged operas and four pieces of contemporary dance.

The EIF is also taking a fortnight residency at the Leith Theatre, where it will be staging Light on the Shore, bringing together major bands, artists and collectives to “celebrate the diversity, virtuosity and originality of Scottish popular music”.

Home by Geoff Sobelle. Pic: Peggy Baud-Woolsey

The centrepiece of the EIF theatre section is a three show residency by the Paris-based company Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord, which was taken over by Peter Brook in 1974 with the French producer Micheline Rozan.

Brook’s own production The Prisoner, one of his modern fables according to EIF director Fergus Linehan, will be at the Lyceum (Wed 22 – Sun 26 Aug).

Director Katie Mitchell is making her first ever appearance at the EIF with an adaptation of La Maladie de La Mort, the novel by Marguerite Duras, adapted by Alice Birch, which will also be at the Lyceum (Thurs 16 – Sun 19 Aug).

The third production from the Bouffes du Nord is a staging of The Beggar’s Opera at the King’s (Thurs 16 – Sun 19 Aug) using stars of musical theatre. Direction will be from Robert Carsen with original music direction from William Christie, whose work is known to EIF audiences as founder of Baroque ensemble Les Arts Florissants.

expanded and enlarged

The National Theatre of Scotland is also in residency, at the Hub, where it is staging an expanded and enlarged version of David Greig and Gordon McIntyre’s Midsummer with a live band (Thurs 2 to Sun 26 Aug).

Katie Mitchell. Pic: Jan Versweyveld

Geoff Sobelle is well known on the fringe for his miniature pieces such as Flesh and Blood and Fish and Fowl in 2010 and the multi-award-winning The Object Lesson in 2014. He has now been commissioned to create a much larger piece, Home, which will be at the King’s Theatre (Wed 22 – Sun 26 Aug).

As a whole house miraculously materialises around him, Sobelle explores how a home shapes the lives of those within it – from the humdrum rituals of showering, cooking and doing the washing, to the momentous events of births, deaths, even crazy parties.

In terms classic drama, Galway-based Druid theatre with artistic director Garry Hynes will be staging Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot at the Lyceum (Fri 3 to Sun 12 Aug).

verbatim theatre

The EIF is making use of the Church Hill Theatre again, where it is staging Anna Deavere Smith’s Notes From The Field (Mon 6 – Sat 18). A solo piece of verbatim theatre from Smith, who played National Security Advisor Nancy McNally in The West Wing, it draws on interviews and statements about the US “school-to-prison pipeline” to shine an uncompromising light on a lost generation of US youth.

Notes fom the Field. Pic: Evgenia Eliseeva

The one world premiere of the theatre strand is The End of Eddy, a co-production between London’s Unicorn Theatre and Stewart Laing’s Untitled Projects, in an adaptation of the book by Édouard Louis. Staged in the Festival Theatre Studio (Tue 231 – Sun 26 Aug), it is one of two productions aimed at a younger audience.

The other piece, also at the Studio, is Hocus Pocus by Philippe Saire Company (Fri 10 – Sun 12 Aug). Aimed at children over seven and their families, it “weaves together dance, theatre, visual art and bewitching lighting to tell a wondrous story of how bravery and confidence can overcome darkness and fear”.

The two staged operas both come from the pen of Rossini but reveal very different attitudes to staging opera.

At the Festival Theatre The Barber of Seville (Sun 5 – Wed 8 Aug) is an elegant staging from Théâtre des Champs-Elysées. Director Laurent Pelly places the action directly within the music itself, amid the curling stacks of Rossini’s musical manuscripts.


Also at the Festival, Opera de Lyon have La Cenerentola (Fri 24 – Sun 26), in a rather more sumptuous staging from Norwegian director Stefan Herheim who uses ingenious optical illusions, video projections and comedy to get to the heart of Rossini’s take on Cinderella.

On the dance front, Xenos is a solo work which sees Akram Khan marking his final performances in a full-length ballet (Festival Thurs 16 – Sat 18 Aug) and Autobiography from the Company Wayne McGregor (Festival Sat 11 – Mon 13 Aug), sees McGregor uses the sequencing of his own genome to illuminate his choreography.

Cold Blood, from Kiss & Cry Collective at the King’s (Sat 4 – Mon 6 Aug), uses a cast of dancing hands and live film to create a feature-length cinema-dance show.

Also at the King’s Love Cycle is two separate and complementary pieces, OCD Love and Love Chapter 2, from choreographer Sharon Eyal’s L-E-V Dance Company (Thurs 9 – Sun 12 Aug). The first, OCD Love, is an intensely kinetic dance piece that collides together frenzied passion and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Love Chapter 2 is a dark, provocative piece of startling intensity that begins where love breaks down and stares unflinchingly at isolation and loneliness.

Full details are on the EIF website: https://www.eif.co.uk/whats-on.

Tickets for EIF 2018 shows go on public sale from Saturday 24 March 2018. Earlier booking can be made by joining the EIF Friends, who can book tickets from this Saturday, 17 March 2018.


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