Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Expanded programme for Edinburgh International festival

MacBeth Image copyright Franco Lannino
Image caption The knives are out for MacBeth

The Edinburgh International Festival will mark its 70th anniversary with an expanded programme and events which relate back to the very first festival.

There will be a free open air event and nine operas including Verdi's Macbeth, which was performed at the first festival in 1947.

The Old Vic were also there, and they will return this year with the premiere of a new play by writer Alan Ayckbourn.

Tickets go on sale from Saturday 25 March at 10:00.

Contemporary music is a strong strand including performances from Jarvis Cocker and Chilly Gonzales and a tribute to Edinburgh's Incredible String Band.

When the festival began is was described as a "platform for the flowering of the human spirit".

Now it has grown into one of the world's biggest and best known festivals.

This year's festival begins once again with a free open air event, called Bloom, which continues the theme of flowering culture.

Artistic excellence

Fergus Linehan, Edinburgh International Festival director, said: ''Since 1947, the international festival has extended an invitation from the people of Scotland to people all over the world, to join us in celebrating the unparalleled creativity and talent that great artists bring to Edinburgh.

"In our 70th anniversary year, it feels more important than ever perhaps, that we celebrate the founding values of the international festival and that through a shared celebration of artistic excellence and cultural exchange, we 'provide a platform for the flowering of the human spirit' and to continue to welcome the world to our city."

Richard Lewis, Edinburgh's Festivals and events champion, said: "This summer, the world's greatest artists and ensembles will descend on our capital to celebrate the 70th anniversary of one of the biggest arts festival in the world - our Edinburgh International Festival.

"The council and the city has championed the festival since its inception in 1947.

"Seventy years later, the event continues to bring thousands of people together from all over Scotland and the world in a celebration of the arts and culture.

"From opera to the Old Vic, Joshua Bell to Jarvis Cocker, the 2017 programme will feature 2,020 artists in a diverse mix of music, dance and theatre. It could just be one of the most pioneering programmes yet.

"I am delighted we are this year providing additional financial support to mark the milestone year, which will also see a new generation of Festival fans showcase their very own performance venue."

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