23 March 2011 The Guardian

Edinburgh festival looks east – but is it cultural tourism?

Blog about the launch of the Edinburgh International Festival 2011

SINCE he took over in 2007, artistic director Jonathan Mills has put his stamp on the Edinburgh international festival by programming thematically. Rather than just presenting a load of good opera, dance, theatre and music, he has tried to order the work around a governing principle. In his inaugural year, for example, he explored the meeting place between theatre and music; in 2009, he considered the impact of the Scottish enlightenment; and, in 2010, he looked to the Pacific cultures of the "new world". He does not apply the theme to every last show but, to varying degrees, he lets it seep into most of the work.


5 August 2010 Scotland on Sunday

EIF theatre programme

Edinburgh International Festival review

IN THIS year's Edinburgh International Festival, Jonathan Mills set out to shift our cultural centre of gravity. By drawing on the art of the Americas and Australasia, he aimed to give the event an unfamiliar Pacific flavour. In the dance, opera and music line-up, I imagine this was the case, whether it was in the South Pacific dances of Lemi Ponifasio or the early South American music in the Treasures And Traditions series. By contrast, the theatre programme was primarily an Atlantic experience.

16 July 2010 The List

Teatro en el Blanco's Diciembre

Edinburgh International Festival preview

GUILERMO Calderon was 17 and in his first year of university when Augusto Pinochet stepped down as president of Chile and returned the country to democracy. It should have been a moment of liberation, but for Calderon, whose whole life had been shaped by the dictatorship, it was a big disappointment. 'My generation grew up during the dictatorship and then we were welcomed into this new democracy, which we didn't like. We wanted to challenge it.'

27 March 2010 The Scotsman

EIF: Sin Sangre/The Man who Fed Butterflies preview

Teatro Cinema interview

TO say I am late getting to see Sin Sangre is an understatement. It is the day when the first snow of the winter has fallen and the transport system has all but ground to a halt. My plane has sat for two-and-a-half hours on the Edinburgh runway and, by the time I get through passport control in Paris, the show has started. I arrive at the Théâtre des Abbesses, on one of the slippery streets of Montmartre, just as the final applause goes up.

27 March 2010 The Scotsman

EIF: Caledonia preview

By Alastair Beaton. A National Theatre of Scotland preview.

IT is a story about easy money in a get-rich-quick culture. It is a tale of calamitous financial mismanagement. It involves reckless risk, poor planning and ends up with the economy of a whole country in crisis. Yet the investors most responsible for the disaster get their money back. And then some. ¥ Alistair Beaton Ring any bells? It did with playwright Alistair Beaton when he stumbled across the story of the Darien Scheme.

27 March 2010 The Scotsman

EIF: The Sun Also Rises preview

Elevator Repair Service interview

ANYONE addicted to the frenetic pace of the festival should be grateful New York's Elevator Repair Service is bringing only the third part of its trilogy of novel adaptations to Edinburgh and not the first. That show, a staging of The Great Gatsby, retitled Gatz, lasted a full six-and-a-half hours. The reason for such length? The company performed every last word of F Scott Fitzgerald's 1920s classic. It took a long time but was, said the New York Times, "thrillingly theatrical and moving". By comparison, the company's version of Ernest Hem ingway's The Sun Also Rises is modest in ambition, although extreme by the standards of most adaptations.


21 March 2010 Scotland on Sunday

Preview: Edinburgh International Festival

EIF 2010 comment

WHEN Jonathan Mills took the top job at the Edinburgh International Festival four years ago, he made a study of the organisation's history. The year that particularly caught his eye was 1983. That was when the outgoing artistic director John Drummond put together his Vienna 1900 programme, inviting companies as diverse as the Glasgow Citizens' Theatre and the Tokyo Quartet to take a fresh look at the Austrian capital at a time of great cultural flowering.

17 March 2010 The Guardian

Edinburgh International Festival looks to the New World

EIF 2010 blog

THE programme for this August's Edinburgh International Festival is out and, of all Jonathan Mills's lineups to date, it is the one that shifts our centre of gravity the farthest. The theme running throughout the three-week festival is to do with the New World, drawing attention to those cultures that naturally look to the Pacific rather than the Atlantic, whether that be a dance company from Auckland or orchestras specialising in the music of 15th-century Bolivia and Mexico.

17 March 2010 Variety

Edinburgh Intl. Fest looks to Americas

EIF 2010 news report

THE lineup of the 2010 Edinburgh Intl. Festival focuses on the Americas and the New World, with helmer Jonathan Mills shifting the character of the traditionally Euro-centric event to include more theater, dance and music from countries such as Chile, Brazil and New Zealand.


30 August 2009 The Guardian

Testament of Cresseid

Translated by Elizabeth Elliot. An Edinburgh International Festival production

THE story so far: in Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde, two lovers have been forcibly parted thanks to a Trojan/Greek prisoner swap. After promising to be true to Troilus, Criseyde joins her banished father in Greece where she hastily switches her affections to Diomede. Troilus is none too pleased. Writing a century later, around 1490, Dunfermline poet Robert Henryson decided to tie up some of Chaucer's loose ends. In his narrative poem The Testament of Cresseid, he imagined the luckless young woman being dumped by Diomede. Cursing Venus and Cupid for her misfortune, she rouses the wrath of the gods and ends up a destitute leper, too disfigured for Troilus even to recognise her.


24 August 2009 Variety

The Last Witch

By Rona Munro. An Edinburgh International Festival/Traverse production

THE scene is Dornoch in the far north of Scotland, where, in 1727, Janet Horne became the last woman in Britain to be legally executed for witchcraft. If the man in a curly gray wig playing the harpsichord seems anachronistic, it is nonetheless a reminder that superstition did not die out the moment the age of Enlightenment dawned on 18th-century Europe. Despite a powerfully acted production by helmer Dominic Hill, however, Rona Munro's new play would need more such jarring imagery if it were to transcend its historical roots and escape the predictability of its incendiary ending.

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