We spoke to Niki Furley, Head of Sponsorship & Development for the Festival.
How did you come to work for the Edinburgh International Festival?
As a student I worked in the Festival Box Office one summer, the buzz and excitement was amazing and I always wanted to come back. I graduated with a degree in Psychology, however have spent my career in fundraising & events and was working with Scottish Ballet when I got the call to join the Festival’s Sponsorship Team. It’s just as buzzing as I remembered and the psychology degree certainly comes in handy at times!
What is your job title and what does your position involve?
I’m Head of Sponsorship and Development and our small team of five is responsible for raising funds to help support the work of the Festival, enabling the Festival to present the annual three-week cultural extravaganza as well as our year-round education and outreach programme.
What is the best part of your job?
Being part of something creative and extraordinary, not to mention the chance to attend Festival performances! Plus, I get to work with a group of enthusiastic and unbelievably hard working colleagues who manage to make even those difficult days fun.
What is the worst part of your job?
Sadly, I pretty much miss out on the other summer festivals and of course I have to remind my (very understanding) husband that not only are holidays in July and August out but that he won’t see much of me in those months either!
What has been your most memorable Festival experience so far?
Far too many to mention as each Festival brings something new, unexpected and unforgettable. Looking back on Festival 08 - I was really moved watching Sir Charles Mackerras and Alfred Brendel on stage together, completely blown away by the energy and adrenalin of the young dancers in Batsheva, mesmerized watching Nina Ananiashvili dance Giselle and enjoyed the beauty & tranquility of John Williams’ recital at the Queen’s Hall.
Which event/s are you most looking forward to at Festival 09? Why?
As a dance fan I’m particularly looking forward to Michael Clark’s New work and, of course, Scottish Ballet. I think the Lewis Psalm Singers will be extraordinary and the Bach at Greyfriars Series something truly special. Faust is unmissable according to a colleague who saw it in Romania in June and I also have Macbeth, Dream of Gerontius and Actus Tragicus on my hit-list.
What are your words of advice to those at the Festival this August?
Don’t waste a minute! Squeeze in as many performances as you can, take an umbrella and don’t forget to eat.
Describe the Edinburgh International Festival in 3 words?
Exciting, exhilarating … exhausting!