Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Open air event to open Edinburgh International Festival

The Harmonium Project Image copyright Edinburgh International Festival

A free open air event outside the Usher Hall will open this year's Edinburgh International Festival.

The programme also includes an operatic animation, a brass band spectacular and the world premiere of a staging of the Alasdair Gray novel Lanark.

It will be the first programme under new director Fergus Linehan.

The festival, which has moved its dates to coincide with the Fringe, will run between 7 and 31 August.

More than 2,300 artists from 39 nations will perform over the course of the annual festival.

It will open with an open air event which will see a digitally animated artwork projected onto the front of the Usher Hall and set to music.

A production of The Magic Flute with animated film and live action has also been announced in the programme.

Image copyright Freese/drama-berlin.de
Image caption A production of The Magic Flute with animated film and live action has also been announced in this years programme

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop announced £200,000 of Scottish government funding will go to the festival for a production of Alasdair Gray's famous novel Lanark.

The Edinburgh Festivals expo fund has already provided more than £15m to the city's world famous festivals since 2008-09, with more than £1.5m of this going to the Edinburgh International Festival.

Mr Linehan said: "The Scottish government's Edinburgh Festivals expo fund has enabled us to present new work from many wonderful Scottish artists and companies on the festival's international stage.

Younger audience

Pauline McLean

If the details announced so far hadn't convinced you, the new director of Edinburgh International Festival is out to woo a younger audience.

Or at least a middle aged audience, who would know French actress Juliette Binoche from The English Patient and be keen to see her onstage in a new version of the Greek tragedy Antigone.

Or would thrill at the notion of Franz Ferdinand collaborating for one late night performance with their heroes Sparks.

Or indeed any of the diverse late night music performances in the Hub.

The date change, moving back in line with the fringe, also sends out a signal that theiraudience is one and the same.

"The support for Lanark, which opens at the Edinburgh International Festival and then continues at the Citizens Theatre (in Glasgow) in the autumn, helps make it possible to stage this enormous Scottish literary landmark.

"I am truly excited about the creative team behind this endeavour and look forward to seeing the results of their work on stage.

"We would like to thank the Scottish government for its farsightedness in establishing this fund and for its continuing strategic support for Scottish artists and work at the festival."

The adaptation of Lanark will be written by Scottish playwright and theatre director David Greig, while the show will be directed by Graham Eatough.

The two men co-founded a theatre company in 1992 after meeting at Bristol University.

Ms Hyslop said: "Our ongoing investment in Edinburgh's festivals underlines this government's commitment to creating long-term benefits for Scottish artists, the economy and Scotland's international reputation.

"The Edinburgh festivals contribute more than £250m in tourism revenue to Scotland's economy but just as important is their international profile.

"Edinburgh's festivals have been defining and promoting Scotland's identity as a confident, creative, welcoming nation for over 65 years.

"We are supporting their work through the expo fund to fund innovation, collaboration and artist development, all vital for future success of our festivals."

Image copyright drew farrell
Image caption Dragon by Vox Motus, National Theatre of Scotland and Tianjin People's Arts Theatre will be at this years festival

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