EIF Indoors & Out

June 2, 2021 | By | Reply More

EIF 2021 programme announced

The Edinburgh International Festival has announced its full programme of events for 2021, which will include theatre at the Traverse and Lyceum, opera at the Festival Theatre and a free opening event at the Botanics.

However the majority of events will take place at three temporary covered venues, with a 670 seat venue at Edinburgh Academy Junior School added to the already announced venues in Old Quad and out at Edinburgh Park.

EIF Launch. Fiddler Jenna Reid and cellist Su-a Lee in the Botanics. Pic: Ryan Buchanan

As previously announced, the temporary venues will have covered concert stages and socially distanced seating. Other Covid-secure elements will include shorter performances with no intervals, physical distancing, regular cleaning, and contactless ticketing.

All events have been designed to go ahead under current covid restrictions of two metre distancing on stage and off, a situation which festival director Fergus Linehan says is necessary to ensure certainty.

“We are in a position of enormous privilege where we have got donors and stake holders which means we can do that,” he said before the launch. “Otherwise it can’t happen. Two metres cannot be done commercially in any sense.”

nip and tuck

Even if restrictions do ease, Linehan says it is unlikely that further seats will go on sale: “We have got to build the venues and we have got to get the thing done.

“There might be a bit of nip and tuck around the edges. Just from a purely planning point of view we just want to keep things as simple as we possibly can. People will have bought off a certain type of seating plan and we don’t want to suddenly flip that. And it is the public as well, we want to make sure that they are confident.”

The major theatre work for festival is at the Traverse, where Enda Walsh’s latest play Medicine gets its world premiere, with 20 performances between Saturday 7 and Sunday 29 August.

Domhnall Gleeson leads a cast of three in what is expected to be a devastatingly funny and profoundly moving examination of social responses to mental health concerns – while deconstructing the fabric of theatrical performance.

The Lyceum plays host to live audiences for the first time in over year, with a programme including the National of Scotland’s Lament for Sheku Bayoh and rehearsed readings of Hindu Times by Jaimini Jethwa and You Bury Me by Ahlam.

Alan Cumming

Alan Cumming returns to the EIF for the first UK performances of his new show Alan Cumming Is Not Acting His Age, an evening of story and song which celebrates aging which will be at the Old Quad for four performances on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 August.

Scottish Opera returns to indoor productions at the Festival Theatre, with a new production of Falstaff by Glasgow-born director Sir David McVicar. The production will get four performances from Sunday 8 to Saturday 14 August.

Down at Inverleith in the temporary venue in the Edinburgh Academy, A Grand Night for Singing is a staged musical revue which showcases the iconic songs of classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals. Staged by musical theatre performer Kim Criswell and conducted by Wayne Marshall, the handpicked cast features Criswell alongside Danielle de Niese.

absolutely glorious

Against the odds, the festival will kick off with the Aberdeen Standard Investments Opening Event: Night Light, which will run over three nights from Friday 6 to Sunday 8 August, from 8pm.

Rather than lasers and masses of people crammed onto Lothian Road, it will be a free large scale fire night walk through the Botanics, created by French artist collective Compagnie Carabosse. It combines elaborate fire sculptures with live traditional Scottish music.

“It is absolutely glorious,” says Linehan. “It has been done all over Europe. They are crazy French free spirits, and essentially they take over a site where they create these sculptures made out of little fire pots and they create this lovely smell. And then it is a walk through the Botanics.

“So it is not like laser beams and fireworks – it is much more meditative than that. It is just an environment so beautiful you just want to sit in it. We are still working on the musical end of it which is very much drifting in the air, rather than arriving at a point where there is a concert on or anything like that.”

EIF Tickets go on sale on Friday 11 June at https://www.eif.co.uk/whats-on.

Tickets for the opening event will be available at a later date.

ENDS

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