EIF Launches 2023 edition

Apr 24 2023 | By More

First Benedetti festival asks “Where do we go from here?”

The Edinburgh International Festival has launched its 2023 programme under the title of Where Do We Go From Here? inspired by Martin Luther King Jr’s last book.

Speaking to the press at the launch of the programme, Nicola Benedetti said that her vision for the EIF in the coming years under her artistic directorship, is to provide the deepest possible experience to the broadest possible audience.

Festival Director Nicola Benedetti launches the 2023 Edinburgh International Festival. Pic: Mihaela Bodlovic

King’s book provides both the title and the guiding principals of a festival which Benedetti says “will harness our storytelling power to try and make our festival as relatable as possible to anyone and everyone from all walks of life.”

This year’s programme, which include a solid section of seven pieces of theatre is arranged under three invitations: Community over chaos; Hope in the face of adversity; and A perspective that’s not one’s own.

Benedetti said: “I want Summer 2023 to feel personal and to feel personable.

“I know the audiences and people of Scotland because I have been playing to them and talking to them for my whole life. The institution of the EIF has built hallmark qualities of trust and excellence of unwavering consistency over 75 years.

“There is a sweet spot that lies in-between the formal state of ritual that we have come to know and love at our performance spaces and the welcoming hospitality that makes the audience intrigued, relaxed open and curious.”

Theatre in the EIF 2023
Community over chaos

Lyceum Theatre, Grindlay Street EH3 9AX.
Sat 5 – Tue 8 August 2023
Evenings: 7.30pm; matinee Mon 7: 2.30pm.
Brazilian film and theatre director Christiane Jatahy makes her International Festival debut with the UK premiere of Dusk, an arresting performance based on Lars Von Trier’s Dogville. A young Brazilian woman flees her homeland and finds refuge in a community of theatre artists staging Dogville. Tackling the idea of community over chaos, Dusk explores to what extent our society is tolerant of the Other. Jatahy was awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement in Theatre at the 2022 Venice Biennale and praised for merging the horizons of cinema and theatre.

Traverse, 10 Cambridge Street, EH1 2ED
Thurs 3/Fri 4 August (previews)
Sat 5 – Sun 27 August (not Mons), various times.
For the entire length of the Festival, the National Theatre of Scotland presents the new work Thrown: five wildly different women gather in the muddy fields of the Highland Games circuit, ready to compete in the obscure art of Scottish backhold wrestling. Glasgow-based writer, actor and movement specialist Nat McCleary joins forces with director and performer Johnny McKnight to create this uniquely Scottish play, presented in its world premiere season.

The Studio, 22 Potterrow, EH8 9BL.
Thurs 3/Fri 4 August (previews)
Daily, not Mons, 8pm. Matinees: Sats 12, 19 & 26, Sun 27 Aug: 2pm
Following the success of his 2018 show HOME, Geoff Sobelle returns to the International Festival with FOOD, an immersive performance offering a meditation on how and why we eat. The audience gathers around a dining table for an intimate dinner party of smell, taste and touch, in a performance served with Sobelle’s signature flavour of rigorous design, stage illusion and an absurdist sense of humour.

Hope in the face of Adversity

As Far As Impossible
Lyceum Theatre, Grindlay Street EH3 9AX.
Fri 11 – Mon 14 August
Evenings: 7.30pm; matinee Sun 7: 2.30pm.
Portuguese theatre director and Director of the Festival D’Avignon, Tiago Rodrigues, asks powerful questions within the theme of hope in the face adversity, delving into what drives someone to risk their life to help others in the UK premiere of As Far As Impossible. Inspired by the testimonies of staff from the International Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders, this multilingual performance exposes the dilemmas of those who come and go between troubled areas of intervention and their own peaceful homes.

The Lost Lending Library
Church Hill Studio, 33 Morningside Road, EH10 4DR.
Thurs 3/Fri 4 (previews)
Sat 5 – Sun 27 (not Mon 7, Tue 14, Sun 20, Tue 22).
Various times from 11am daily.
Punchdrunk Enrichment welcome young people aged 6-11 (and their parents and carers) into The Lost Lending Library, a site-specific immersive experience that will also run for the duration of the Festival. The show is set in a giant travelling library, containing the largest collection of books in the world, as young audiences help one of its departments find new stories.

Church Hill Theatre, 33 Morningside Road, EH10 4DR.
Tue 15 – Sat 19 August
Evenings: 7pm.
Two award-winning Belgian mime and puppetry companies, Focus Company and Chaliwaté Company, come together for a stunning visual performance in Dimanche. Combining puppetry, video, mime and clowning, Dimanche observes hope in the face of adversity in the ingenuity and stubbornness of humans, as they try to preserve their day-to-day habits, going to absurd extremes to keep up a sense of normalcy despite the chaos of an ecological collapse.

A perspective that’s not one’s own.”

Life is a Dream
Lyceum Theatre, Grindlay Street EH3 9AX.
Wed 23 – Sun 27 August
Evenings Wed – Sat: 7.30pm; Mats Sat/Sun: 2.30pm.
Award-winning international theatre company Cheek by Jowl presents a radical new version of Spanish classic, Life is a Dream. Marking its first Spanish-language production, performed by an ensemble of Spanish actors, the company returns to the International Festival after its 2016 production of Measure for Measure, with one of the 40 greatest plays of all time.

See www.eif.co.uk/theatre for further information on individual productions.

Tickets on general sale from Wednesday 3 May, 2023.


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