Jazz, Juliette Binoche and a calendar change on cards for Edinburgh International Festival 2015
Incoming director designate Fergus Linehan outlines his plans for change at the EIF
This article is from 2014.
Fifteen months before the start of his first event, Edinburgh International Festival director designate Fergus Linehan has taken the unusual step of revealing some of his thinking behind the 2015 programme – as well as sharing details of a few of its events.
French actor Juliette Binoche will come to Edinburgh for one of the 2015 EIF’s headline events, a new staging of Antigone in a new English translation by Anne Carson, directed by Belgian theatre director Ivo van Hove. In an example of what Linehan indicated was a move towards more new international collaborations, the staging will be a co-production between the Barbican, London, and Les Theatres de la Ville de Luxembourg.
Following extensive discussions between the city’s festivals and stakeholders, the EIF will move its dates forward one week from 2015 to come back in line with the Fringe, after the two events parted company in 1995. The EIF in 2015 will run from Friday 7 August until Monday 31 August, also coinciding with the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, the Edinburgh International Book Festival and the Edinburgh Art Festival. Linehan said he felt that the real power of Edinburgh’s festivals was that they happened at the same time, and pointed to the opportunities for large-scale opening and closing events that a shared calendar would offer.
While not being drawn on specific details, Linehan also indicated that the 2015 opening event would be a major public celebration, almost certainly outdoor, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Edinburgh Festival Chorus. He also revealed that he would not be continuing his predecessor Jonathan Mills’ themed approach to festival programming, instead working with festival performers to ensure coherence and richness.
Linehan also stated that he was keen to broaden the EIF’s musical offering into ‘forms of music that have prominence and a seriousness around them’, giving as examples electronic music, folk and jazz – while retaining the breadth and richness of the festival’s existing, and loyally supported, classical programme. He said that the additional music events would probably take place in smaller venues around the city, possibly even venues that the EIF had not previously used.
In terms of opera, he accepted the financial challenges of bringing large-scale productions for multiple performances at the festival, and said that although there would still be fully staged productions at the 2015 EIF, he was also exploring smaller-scale opera events that would allow a greater number of performances. As an example, Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro will be given several performances in the Edinburgh Festival Theatre by the Budapest Festival Orchestra under Ivan Fischer.
‘It has been a truly exciting few months getting to know the Festival and the staff, to talk to artists and so many stakeholders, and to begin to form and share my thoughts around the Edinburgh International Festivals I have the opportunity to programme,’ Linehan said.
Edinburgh International Festival, Fri 8–Sun 31 Aug 2014, Fri 7–Mon 31 Aug 2015, eif.co.uk