30 July, 2008

Border Control Inspires Young People

The recent Border Control classes proved to be a huge hit with the young people involved and led to an outpouring of extremely poignant and revealing visual art in the form of Dadaist montages. Before the art workshops however the youngsters spent part of the week taking part in drama classes with drama worker, Jemima Levick, who used scripts from the provocative play from the East West theatre company Class Enemy to explore various themes and characters with the participants.

The youngsters discussed issues such as social exclusion and class borders. Visual artist Audrey Grant then held visual art workshops with a focus on Dadaist techniques which resulted in an abundance of bold, colourful and quite telling artworks which will soon be appearing at the entrance to The Hub, Castlehill, Edinburgh, from Friday August 8.
The workshops were part of the Bank of Scotland Connecting to Culture. The play Class Enemy shows at the Royal Lyceum Theatre from Wednesday 20 to Saturday 23 August at 8pm. To listen to an audio feature of the Cumbernauld workshop click here

Here is an excerpt from a blog written by Clare Dyer who took part in the Rutherglen classes:

"Monday was a great introduction to the project, and on Tuesday we were subjected to the controversy of the blatantly offensive aspects of Class Enemy, when we were asked to write insults on sheets of paper - the more disgusting and offensive the better. This was a game to get us inside the mind of Iron in particular, and it certainly helped to break the ice (if by this point there was any ice left to break !...I don't know if I've ever laughed so much in my life than this week, especially this morning's warm up exercise which involved us all walking around the room, but with Scott stumbling about the place blindfolded. We've had some laughs and we've learnt a lot - overall, it's been a really great week and a new experience to learn techniques for acting in front of the camera." To read the full blog post click here.

29 July, 2008

Culture Minister Put in the Frame

Scottish Culture minister Linda Fabiani visited the set of Scottish Opera’s Two Widows last week to mark the launch of the Scottish Government’s Edinburgh Festival Expo Fund. Despite being up half the night to see in the results of the East Glasgow by election, perhaps unsurprisingly the SNP minister was reported be in great form. She spent around half an hour on the set, enjoying a coffee with the creative team behind the production and chatting about the world premiere. The show, a co production between EIF and Scottish Opera, premieres on Saturday 9 August at 7.15pm and Mrs Fabiani said she was looking forward to seeing it during its three night run. She is pictured, second from the right, with directors Tobias Hoheisel and Imogen Kogge and on the
far right conductor Francesco Corti.

The Edinburgh performances of Two Widows are sponsored by First ScotRail.

From Russia with Love!

Festival director Jonathan Mills recently returned from Russia where he saw the Russian premiere of the Polish opera Król Roger.

Jonathan was invited to St.Petersburg as a guest of the Mariinsky Opera to officially launch the EIF 08 programme.
Along with the great Russian conductor and opera director Valery Gergiev the EIF director held a joint press conference for the Russian media.
It was touch and go back at the EIF press office with flight delays threatening to intervene, but after a frantic taxi dash Jonathan arrived to greet the Russian press right on time. The press conference created a real buzz with hoards of journalists and TV crews packed into the room.

Jonathan was joined by EIF media relations manager Susie Burnet and some Scottish journalists. The resounding verdict: the opera is a bonafide hit! Things are looking very good for this production’s EIF premiere.

The Mariinsky Opera will appear at EIF under the direction of Gergiev in Król Roger, the rare Rachmaninov opera Aleko, Semyon Kotko (Act3) and The Enchanted Wanderer. Valery Gergiev is also conducting the London Symphony Orchestra in Prokofiev’s The 7 Symphonies.

Alan Morrison of the Sunday Herald joined Jonathan on the trip. To read his report click here.
Król Roger is supported by The EIF Patrons and Muses, the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland and Adam Mickiewicz Institute.

25 July, 2008


The creative process came to fruition this week for five young Scottish composers when they met the four professional musicians who will perform their pieces and their mentor for the project, renowned Scottish composer Alasdair Nicolson. After four hard but fruitful days of composing, playing, rewriting and rehearsing the young hopefuls completed their compositions and on the fifth day they were recorded. The five short pieces will be played live in the Temperate Palmhouse of Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Gardens twice during the festival (Fri 15 & Thurs 21 Aug).

The initiative, entitled Twittering Machine, is inspired by a work of the same name by the late German visual artist Paul Klee and is also in recognition of the 100th anniversary of Oliver Messiaen. The artwork, which the composers discussed and used as inspiration during the composition process, centres on an arrangement of small birds which appear to be innocently chirping on their perch but on further inspection reveals mutated and strained mechanical creatures fixed above an ominous looking pit. The event is being run as part of the Bank of Scotland Connecting to Culture program.

24 July, 2008


Welcome to the Edinburgh International Festival blog.
The launch of this, the first ever EIF blog, signals a new era which will enable the masses to experience the thrills of the festival via the newest media formats. Our blog will contain up to the minute news, interesting festures and unseen previews allowing fans the world over to witness what happens at the heart of the festival machine before and during this spectacular celebration of the arts. Don't forget to visit our main website for full details of the programme.