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Usher Hall By Ryan Buchanan Photo: Ryan Buchanan

2019 Annual Review

The Edinburgh International Festival is the world’s leading multi-genre arts festival. For more than three weeks in August, Scotland’s capital hosts an unparalleled celebration of the performing arts and becomes an annual meeting point for people of all nations. Every year the International Festival presents a curated programme featuring the finest performers and ensembles from the worlds of dance, opera, music and theatre.

Los Angeles Philharmonic 2 © Ryan Buchanan 1 Yuja Wang and Gustavo Dudamel with the Los Angeles Philharmonic | Photo: Ryan Buchanan

In August 2019, the Edinburgh International Festival reached exceptional attendance numbers, enjoyed strong donor and partner support, delivered a balanced budget and, of course, brought unforgettable performances to the Festival City. Alongside our sister festivals we proudly maintain a platform for creative expression completely unrivalled anywhere in the world, both in scale and diversity.

Behind the scenes, we endeavour to be good citizens of our city, our country and the world; to offer a view that is resolutely international; to give artists the best possible conditions in which to perform; to provide a positive, professional and caring workplace; and to offer residents and visitors to our city inspiration, motivation and fun in a world very much in need of all three. The 2019 programme was marked by strong contributions from all five of Scotland’s national companies, a spectacular residency by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the final chapter of our acclaimed Ring cycle, a celebration of the work of Sir James MacMillan, and a new season of globally and socially connected performances entitled You Are Here. Our residency with Leith Academy gathered pace and we continued to build on our successful programming in venues right across Edinburgh from Ferry Road to Bruntsfield. 

Our primary thanks must go to the artists. We have the privilege of seeing, up close, the mastery and creativity that they bring to their performances, but we also see the extraordinary resilience needed to perform at the highest level. To all of them, our deepest thanks. Whether you were a supporter, an usher, a prima donna or a chorus member, we hope that there will be some part of the 2019 International Festival that has enriched your life and will stay with you for many years to come – or failing that, at least until August next year.

Edinburgh International Festival Night Walk For Edinburgh© Ryan Buchanan 008 Night Walk for Edinburgh | Photo: Ryan Buchanan

Our Year at a Glance

For more than three weeks in August, International Festival audiences filled theatres and concert halls in their hundreds of thousands to experience the work of some of the world’s greatest artists and ensembles.

Overview

The 2019 Edinburgh International Festival welcomed over 430,000 attendees. Over 37% of tickets for the International Festival were bought for £20 or less, including 20,000 free tickets distributed across the International Festival programme.

In 2019, over half of the bookers were new to the International Festival. Overall, 48% of attendees were from Edinburgh, with a further 5% from the Lothians.

The International Festival also worked with 15,000 children, young people and communities across Edinburgh on 30 projects this year, a 25% increase on 2018.

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Opening Event © Gaelle Beri 54 Aberdeen Standard Investments Opening Event: LA Phil at Tynecastle | Photo: Gaelle Beri

Our Programme

Innovation, collaboration and the pursuit of artistic excellence are at the heart of Edinburgh International Festival’s annual programme. It maintains a carefully curated roster of world-class artists from the fields of theatre, music, opera and dance, travelling from all over the world to perform for International Festival audiences.

Opening Event

The Aberdeen Standard Investments Opening Event: LA Phil at Tynecastle launched the 2019 International Festival in spectacular style, taking inspiration from the glamour of Hollywood with a selection of music from the Golden Age of cinema and John Williams’ best-loved movie theme tunes.

15,000 people flocked to Tynecastle Park football stadium in Gorgie to watch a free concert given by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and its youth group Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA), beginning their three-concert International Festival residency. The event was broadcast and live-streamed on Facebook and YouTube to an audience of over 147,000 people.

Classical Music

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The Usher Hall once again played host to an extraordinary array of the world’s leading artists and orchestras. The Los Angeles Philharmonic returned to Edinburgh for the first time in over a decade, with

Gustavo Dudamel taking to the stage to conduct two concerts featuring Mahler, Barber, Tchaikovsky and the European premiere of John Adams’ Must the Devil Have All the Good Tunes?, performed by pianist Yuja Wang.

International guests included the National Youth Orchestra of the USA, Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris and Deutsche Oper Berlin. The UK contingent of orchestras was made up of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Manchester’s Hallé, The English Concert and London Symphony Orchestra. Scotland was well represented too, with appearances from the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra and a concert performance of West Side Story performed by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. Conductor Sir John Eliot Gardiner assembled a tremendous young cast of musicians and musical theatre students to perform Leonard Bernstein’s masterpiece. Sir James MacMillan, conductor Harry Christophers and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra premiered the composer’s Symphony No 5 Le grand inconnu, one of seven MacMillan pieces performed at the International Festival as part of the composer’s 60th birthday celebrations.

At The Queen’s Hall major soloists included Yuja Wang and Andreas Ottensamer, Sheku and Isata Kanneh-Mason, and Lawrence Brownlee, as well as Maxim Emelyanychev and leading principals from the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

The Edinburgh Festival Chorus, under new Chorus Director Aidan Oliver, performed in four Usher Hall concerts, including an extraordinary new version of Sir James MacMillan’s Quickening and Britten’s War Requiem.

Photo: Ryan Buchanan

Dance

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The 2019 dance programme was truly international in its scope and energy, featuring artists and ensembles working across the choreographic spectrum, from contemporary ballet through to street dance.

The programme opened with the world premiere of Scottish Ballet’s The Crucible, adapted from the play by Arthur Miller. Helen Pickett’s revelatory new narrative ballet formed the centrepiece of the company’s 50th anniversary season and was hugely acclaimed by audiences and critics, gathering five-star reviews and becoming the Festival’s first must-see show of 2019.

Chinese choreographer Yang Liping and an international creative team brought her compelling new version of Rite of Spring to the Festival Theatre. Blending Eastern aesthetics, modern dance and contemporary soundscapes with Stravinsky’s iconic score, Yang created a spectacular and truly original new work that wowed sold-out houses.

Trisha Brown Dance Company performed outdoors for delighted audiences at Jupiter Artland, with a selection of the legendary US choreographer’s most striking short short dance pieces. The company performed in the beautiful meadows and woodlands of the sculpture park, a first-time venue and new creative partner for the International Festival.

Dance artists and ensembles were also at the heart of the You Are Here programme, which saw the International Festival debuts of three remarkable companies. Faso Danse Théâtre’s Kalakuta Republik channelled the spirit and energy of Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti, in a work infused with Burkina Faso-born Serge Aimé Coulibaly’s hypnotic and urgent choreography.

Northern Irish choreographer Oona Doherty’s Hard to Be Soft: A Belfast Prayer stormed the stage of The Lyceum with a work examining the violence of Belfast’s past. The piece also connected directly with our own city and local people – Doherty worked with Edinburgh choreographer Ashley Jack to create the 'Sugar Army' – a group of young women who performed with the company, drawn from the best of Edinburgh’s street dance community.

Performances from Montreal-based Cas Public continued the International Festival’s commitment to programming for younger audiences with 9, a piece for families specially created by choreographer Hélène Blackburn for deaf performer Cai Glover.

Photo: Ryan Buchanan

Theatre

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Themes of migration, climate crisis, fractured societies and the shadow of post-colonial legacy emerged across the 2019 theatre programme, as artists, ensembles and theatre-makers reflected the current crises and concerns of people around the world through the prisms of new work and reimagined classics.

Peter Gynt, a co-production with the National Theatre of Great Britain, opened the 2019 theatre programme, transposing Ibsen’s wayward hero to Scotland and showcasing Scottish talent with a powerhouse performance from Glasgow-born James McArdle. 

One of Australia’s leading cultural organisations, Sydney Theatre Company, made its International Festival debut with the European premiere of The Secret River, a landmark production that put the tragic experience of Indigenous Australians and the continuing legacy of colonial rule at the forefront of the conversation.

Internationaal Theater Amsterdam and director Robert Icke brought a thrilling production of Oedipus to the King’s Theatre, recasting the tragic hero as a contemporary populist politician – recognisable to audiences of all political persuasions – in a poignant and gripping reimagining of this most ancient of stories.

Two greats of British stage and screen closed the theatre programme. Writer and actor Stephen Fry made his International Festival debut with the epic Mythos: A Trilogy, three performances in repertory exploring the figures of Ancient Greece. Sir Ian McKellen returned to the Assembly Hall, the venue of his landmark first appearances at the International Festival 50 years ago, to thrill audiences with extracts from his best-loved roles and tales from his life. The proceeds from his performances were used to create a bursary supporting Edinburgh’s next generation of young artists.

The You Are Here series featured five theatre works, including two world premieres from the National Theatre of Scotland. Red Dust Road followed writer Jackie Kay’s experiences navigating the challenges of growing up as a mixed-race adopted Scot, while Total Immediate Collective Imminent Terrestrial Salvation examined cult leadership and manipulation in the latest work from theatre-maker Tim Crouch. UK theatre company 1927 brought to life a catalogue of the world’s little-known folk tales in Roots, through its signature fusion of stunningly visual handcrafted animation, live music and storytelling. Writer and director Ifeoma Fafunwa brought ten of Nigeria’s biggest stars of theatre, film and television to the Lyceum stage in HEAR WORD! Naija Woman Talk True, a searing and ultimately uplifting story of female experience rooted in Nigeria, which resonated with theatre-goers from around the world.

Swiss director Milo Rau’s La Reprise: Histoire(s) du théâtre (I), documented the hate-crime killing of the young Belgian man Ihsane Jarfi, examining the motivations and desperations that push young individuals to commit murder. A concert, a conversation and a multimedia performance, Kiinalik: These Sharp Tools examined Canada’s indigenous history, colonial legacy and the advancing threat of climate change, and disability-led Scottish company Birds of Paradise visited the International Festival for the first time with Purposeless Movements, a theatre work challenging perceptions of disability with humour and honesty.

Photo: Gaelle Beri

Opera

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In an exceptional year for opera, Barrie Kosky and Komische Oper Berlin dazzled audiences at the Festival Theatre with Eugene Onegin. Conducted by Ainārs Rubiķis, star soprano Asmik Grigorian received unanimous praise for her performance as Tatyana.

Breaking the Waves, a co-production between Opera Ventures and Scottish Opera, brought Lars von Trier’s morality tale to the stage of the King’s Theatre. Sydney Mancasola took the lead in Missy Mazzoli’s dark and daring opera, directed by Tom Morris and conducted by Stuart Stratford. 

An outstanding programme of concert opera graced the stage of the Usher Hall. The English Concert’s performance of Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, and Deutsche Oper Berlin’s Manon Lescaut conducted by Donald Runnicles both filled the auditorium. The International Festival’s four-year Ring cycle was brought to a stunning conclusion with Götterdämmerung, with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, conductor Sir Andrew Davis and reigning Brünnhilde Christine Goerke delivering an unforgettable performance.

Photo: Ryan Buchanan

Contemporary Music

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The 2019 contemporary music programme showcased pioneering international artists to a combined audience of 13,500. The majority of the International Festival contemporary music programme returned to Leith Theatre for a second year, cementing the venue as a vital part of Edinburgh’s contemporary music offering. Warmly received by fans, Leith Theatre hosted a series of sold-out shows.

Highlights included Pulp frontman and solo artist Jarvis Cocker performing his new project JARV IS... He asked the audience to ‘take Leith of their senses’, a move that further won the hearts of his local fans. Kate Tempest also played to a sold-out audience, who were transfixed by her unique blend of performance poetry and rap. A five-star review of the performance began with the headline ‘This isn’t a gig, it's a reckoning’. Fans were also delighted by the Swedish rebel icon of trip hop Neneh Cherry; the New Jersey singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten; and Danish indie rock group Efterklang, who returned from a six-year hiatus to Edinburgh, their only UK gig this year.

The Usher Hall and The Lyceum presented artists from the You Are Here programme including Malian duo Amadou & Mariam paired with gospel music legends Blind Boys of Alabama; Edinburgh-based trad-fusion band Shooglenifty playing with Rajasthani band Dhun Dhora and Galician trio Tanxugueiras; and Lebanese folk pioneer and Arabic music innovator Marcel Khalife, joined by his son Rami Khalife and percussionist Aymeric Westrich.

Photo: Gaelle Beri

You Are Here

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2019 marked the beginning of the International Festival’s You Are Here programme, a curated mix of theatre, music, dance, debate and discussion from world-leading artists and companies who consider where we are now, and where we are going.

Edinburgh hosts some of the world’s most creative thinkers in August, and You Are Here aimed to sharpen the focus on thought-provoking, artistic responses to issues from politics and gender to environmentalism and faith. The programme was an invitation to break bread, come together in conversation and encounter our world through the eyes of 265 artists and thinkers from Mali, Greenland, Lebanon, Scotland, Canada, Nigeria and beyond.

The more than 80 events comprising You Are Here were curated by Fuel’s Kate McGrath. Works by spoken word artist Kate Tempest, choreographer Serge Aimé Coulibaly, author Jackie Kay, and new writing from the Royal Court Theatre lit up stages across the city; The Departure Lounge hosted special performances by theatre companies such as Complicité, the Royal Lyceum Theatre Company and Fuel; leading artists invited audiences to join them for dinner and discussion, including composer Missy Mazzoli, poet and playwright Inua Ellams and performance artist Travis Alabanza; and special seminars asked questions about the future of festivals, the arts and the creative industries.

You Are Here featured 10 main-stage theatre and dance performances and four contemporary music performances. The Departure Lounge featured four distinct strands: Morning Manifesto, a diverse range of artists inviting audiences to debate topics and collectively author a manifesto for the future; Call and Response, an opportunity for some of the UK’s leading companies to try out work-in-progress shows in an intimate setting; Breaking Bread, where audiences shared a meal with an artist, listened and debated a provocation and engaged in conversation; and three Saturday Sessions examined the role of artists in how to respond to the most pressing issues of today. The programme also featured Cross Currents, a bespoke series of professional development programmes led by the International Festival’s Caroline Donald. A series of artist-led community projects also connected Edinburgh residents of all ages directly with You Are Here by working together with main-stage artists.

You Are Here was made possible by the newly created Platform for Creative Excellence (PLACE) Fund, established by the City of Edinburgh Council, the Scottish Government – through Creative Scotland – and Edinburgh’s Festivals, to ensure the continued resilience and relevance of our Festival City. Through You Are Here, this support allowed the International Festival to open up a wider international conversation while establishing new levels of engagement and connectivity at a local level. 2019 marked the inaugural year of the series, which will continue to develop across the next three years.

You Are Here is a strategic partnership with the British Council, the University of Edinburgh Futures Institute and Fuel.

Photo: Ryan Buchanan

Audiences and Impact

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Eugene Onegin © Ryan Buchanan 6 Eugene Onegin media photo call | Photo: Ryan Buchanan

Media Coverage

The 2019 International Festival media campaign began in March 2019, with a launch photo call on the pitch of Tynecastle Park, and continued for six months until photographers and film crews shot the fireworks that brought the International Festival to a close. The campaign saw an increase in overall coverage, generating 4,125 media pieces in total across the UK and international media. 

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During August, the media team worked with 323 members of international and UK media including journalists, film crews, photographers, influencers, bloggers and broadcasters. Photo moments ranged from Stormtroopers and Superman on the red carpet – a Hollywood theme for the Aberdeen Standard Investments Opening Event: LA Phil at Tynecastle – to a packed African hair salon experiencing HEAR WORD! Naija Woman Talk True, and Scottish Ballet’s principal dancers captured against the backdrop of Edinburgh Castle.

UK print coverage featured in all major UK national publications, such as The Times, The Guardian and the front page of The Financial Times. Regional and national Scottish print publications such as The Scotsman, The Herald and The National featured the International Festival heavily. International coverage included The New York Times, La Repubblica, The Age, LA Times and Le Monde.

UK TV coverage spanned BBC One, BBC Two, ITV, STV, Sky News and BBC Scotland, and radio pieces were secured on BBC Radio 2, 3, 4, 5 Live and 6 Music as well as commercial radio stations Classic FM, Forth Radio, Heart FM and Capital Radio. International broadcasters included BBC World Service, CNN, Radio France International, ARD German Radio, Al Jazeera and China Global Television Network.

Partnerships with broadcasters BBC Radio 3 and Classic FM extended the reach of the International Festival to audiences outside Edinburgh and across the world. BBC Radio 3 recorded 20 concerts from The Queen’s Hall and Usher Hall, broadcasting to an average audience of 455,000 radio listeners per broadcast across the UK and to a further 19 European countries. The International Festival captured the excitement of the LA Phil at Tynecastle, live-streaming the event beyond the stadium audience of 15,000 to a vast 147,000 worldwide. The video stream was amplified through conductor Gustavo Dudamel’s YouTube channel, the International Festival and Classic FM’s Facebook pages and then broadcast in full on Classic FM.

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Kalakuta Dance Workshop Ryan Buchanan 026 Kalakuta Repulik Dance Workshops | Photo: Ryan Buchanan

Learning and Engagement

The International Festival is immensely proud of the work we do in engaging with people throughout the city including thousands of young people in schools to connect them with the programme and artists.

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This year saw the International Festival advance its ambitions for deeper engagement with the citizens of Edinburgh, expanding reach and connection with people who may not have previously attended. This was achieved through two new initiatives: Culture Club and Global Communities.

Culture Club connects communities with each other and the world through cultural experiences. For each event, two or three different groups are brought together for a shared meal before collectively travelling to see a performance in the city. 

So far, eight Culture Clubs have taken place with groups from all over the city, including Edinburgh Young Carers, LinkNET Mentoring and Edinburgh City Mission, as well as a specific Culture Club with community leaders to increase engagement and understanding of our ambitions. 

In our Global Communities initiative, the International Festival invited artists from the Festival programme into wider Edinburgh. During August two popup performances took place in the city – classical musicians Quatuor Mona performed at the Oxgangs Neighbourhood Centre’s Family Fun Day, while the performers from HEAR WORD! Naija Woman Talk True presented extracts from their show to customers in the Culture Lounge hairdressers in Leith.

In 2019, over 3,500 individuals were engaged with work specifically for communities in Edinburgh. The International Festival’s partnership with the Fruitmarket Gallery continues, following performances of Night Walk for Edinburgh, through an inter-generational project in Wester Hailes inspired by the work of artists Cardiff & Miller; and in Gorgie, artists are exploring the themes of Red Dust Road with charity The Welcoming.

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This year, the International Festival continued to provide opportunities for young people to perform within the programme. As part of Hard to Be Soft: A Belfast Prayer, a group of young dancers was brought together to create the ‘Sugar Army’. Choreographer Oona Doherty ran an intensive week-long rehearsal with 13 teenage dancers before they took to the stage of The Lyceum for all four performances of the acclaimed dance show.

Activities with schools and young people remain a key area of focus, with 13 different projects presented to primary and secondary schools, all connecting to the International Festival programme. These included My Festival: My Story, a storytelling and animation project inspired by 1927’s production Roots; an in-school workshop for Higher and Advanced Higher pupils who attended performances of Red Dust Road; and a bespoke six-week engagement with pupils from Tynecastle High School connected to the Aberdeen Standard Investments Opening Event: LA Phil at Tynecastle.

These sat alongside year-round initiatives which include Art of Listening, a classical music workshop for Primary 7 pupils to develop an understanding of the power of music, and the Opera Project, which this year took a potted version of Eugene Onegin into  secondary schools to engage pupils. At the Virgin Money Schools Concert, an audience of 2,000 primary school pupils enjoyed the Scottish Chamber Orchestra in Princes Street Gardens, contributing to this year’s total schools activity which engaged over 6,000 pupils from across the city and beyond.

The International Festival’s residency with Leith Academy accelerated this year. Following a consultation with pupils and staff, several projects were initiated, ranging from artists-in-residence in various areas of the school – including the school’s Nurture Base for pupils requiring mental health support – to a branding project embedded in the curriculum of Art and Design with the objective of designing a brand for the three-year residency.

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A highlight for the pupils was the bespoke beatboxing project presented in partnership with the Traverse Theatre and Battersea Arts Centre (BAC). Based on Battersea’s Beatbox Academy, a Leith Academy beatbox crew was formed through a weeklong residency and follow-up summer school, resulting in the pupils performing ‘curtain-raisers’ as part of BAC’s Frankenstein: How to Make a Monster presented at the Traverse Theatre during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August.

Since August, the International Festival has also been working with three pupils from Leith Academy to support them to obtain a Professional Development Award, a Higher level qualification. Through workplace experience and one-to-one support, the Award allows the students to gain and build personal, social and vocational skills.

Overall, this year there have been 4,000 engagements with pupils and teachers at the school

Professional development activity evolved in 2019 with the introduction of Cross Currents, a programme for Scottish practitioners alongside their international counterparts. Responding to a need for support and development opportunities for creative practitioners, the programme took place in the last week of the International Festival and provided time, space and an invigorating environment for 36 sector-leading creative producers and artists to refresh their current practice and consider their potential.

Cross Currents sat alongside the International Festival’s other professional development projects including Artist as Audience, a scheme to increase access for artists and creatives to the International Festival programme. Artists are core to the Learning and Engagement work, connecting children, young people, communities and the creative sector to the programme, increasing exposure of the International Festival outside of its core audience.

Photo: Ryan Buchanan

Euans Guide Euan's Guide Spirit of Inclusion Award presentation

Access

The International Festival delivered its biggest ever access programme, striving to ensure that the Festival is as accessible as possible to all audience members.

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This year we offered a total of 46 performances and events with enhanced accessibility provision including 17 Audio Described performances, 16 BSL interpreted/ integrated events and performances, 11 Captioned performances and two Relaxed Performances. We also offered Touch Tours for all Audio Described performances and Deaf Theatre Club (DTC) support for all BSL interpreted performances.

Our Touch Tours were offered to blind and partially sighted audiences and their essential companions. Audio Describers gave a bespoke and unique insight into the performances, giving participants the chance to touch some of the costumes and props from the show, and explained their involvement. Deaf Theatre Club is a D/deaf-led initiative, aimed at creating a more inclusive experience for D/deaf audiences.

This year for the first time ever, we also offered two Relaxed Performances, which were well-received by audiences and artists. Both performances took place at The Studio where a bespoke Retreat Space was created for audiences to use as required. House capacity was reduced, lighting and sound were adjusted and audience members were free to move about. The performers also introduced themselves before the performance and audiences were able to enter the performance space earlier than usual to allow them to get accustomed to the theatre environment.

We engaged a total of 32 Scotland-based freelancers to deliver Audio Description, BSL interpretation, Captioning, Touch Tours and Deaf Theatre Club. We also worked with Edinburgh-based company SignLive, which allowed D/deaf audiences to book tickets using BSL via an online video interpreting service.

The strength of our 2019 access provision was such that we were awarded the Euan’s Guide Spirit of Inclusion Award, which recognises an organisation that has ‘exceeded all expectations and has shown that disabled access and inclusion are woven within the fabric of what they offer’.

Scottish Chamber Orchestra © Ryan Buchanan 8 Sir James MacMillan conducts the Scottish Chamber Orchestra's performance of his Second Symphony | Photo: Ryan Buchanan

Funders, Sponsors and Supporters 

The International Festival is made possible year on year by the continued support and generosity of a broad and hugely enthusiastic family of funders, supporters and individuals.

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The support of the City of Edinburgh Council, Creative Scotland and the Scottish Government remains critical in ensuring the continued stability and success of the International Festival. This investment provides a crucial basis from which the Festival plans into the future, ensuring that work of the highest quality travels to Edinburgh and reaches the widest possible audience.

In 2019, core funding from the City of Edinburgh Council and Creative Scotland was complemented by project funding from the Scottish Government and other partners, allowing for the creation of bespoke series and initiatives, including Sir James MacMillan at 60, supported by the Scottish Government’s Festivals Expo Fund, and You Are Here, supported by the PLACE Fund in its inaugural year. 

This foundational support encourages other organisations and individuals to invest in the International Festival. Relationships with other public sector bodies, charitable funds, the corporate sector, international partners and agencies, trusts and foundations and our individual donors, benefactors, patrons and friends, are also vitally important in enabling us to maintain the International Festival’s scale, quality and relevance.

Continued investment in the International Festival not only supports delivery of each annual event, but also creates employment and development opportunities for specialised arts and events industry professionals in Scotland. In 2019, the International Festival and The Hub directly employed over 400 members of staff, across permanent, contract and seasonal workers. In addition, hundreds of seasonal jobs are also created by our partner venues across the summer in order to best deliver Festival events.

2019 was another successful year for fundraising, with income of £3.6 million raised from donations, corporate partnerships and membership.

Our Aberdeen Standard Investments Opening Event: LA Phil at Tynecastle entertained an audience of 15,000 people, who enjoyed a free concert by the world-class Los Angeles Philharmonic. The International Festival’s partnership with Tynecastle Park gave the Festival the use of the stadium; Opening Event sponsors Aberdeen Standard Investments and Event Scotland supported the performance; and an extraordinary gift from Dunard Fund USA – an American charitable foundation established by long-term International Festival supporter Carol Colburn Grigor – made the LA Phil’s wider three-concert residency possible. This massive event, years in the planning, was just the start of a 2019 International Festival filled with projects that would have been unimaginable without the support of International Festival donors and supporters.

Our passionate drive to widen access to International Festival events for people living in all areas of Edinburgh continued to be of real importance to our donors. The Pirie Rankin Charitable Trust and The Turtleton Charitable Trust supported our Young Musician’s Passport ticket subsidy scheme, enabling young people to attend concerts for free. The Castansa Trust supported our travel subsidy scheme for community groups and supported ticket costs for professional artists to attend the International Festival programme.

As ever, our 2,266 Friends, Patrons and Ambassadors provided us with the greatest support, accounting for a core part of our income.

Our grateful thanks go to the companies, individuals, trusts and foundations who so very generously support our work and share our enthusiasm for the work the International Festival presents.

Support of the 2019 International Festival included:

Peter Gynt, the National Theatre of Great Britain and Edinburgh International Festival co-production, was only made possible because of the production commissioning funding provided by Sir Ewan and Lady Brown.

- Barrie Kosky’s astonishing production of Eugene Onegin, the glorious culmination of the International Festival’s Ring cycle, Götterdämmerung, and the European premiere of Missy Mazzoli’s extraordinary opera Breaking the Waves were all made possible with funding from James and Morag Anderson, Dunard Fund, the Léan Scully EIF Fund and Susie Thompson.

- Baillie Gifford Investment Managers’ three-year commitment to our dance programme came to glorious fruition with the world premiere of Helen Pickett’s The Crucible, based on the play by Arthur Miller, a thrilling example of a classic story brought to life through dance.

- Our partnership with Edinburgh Gin continued with their renewed sponsorship of the International Festival’s contemporary music programme at Leith Theatre and the Usher Hall. We were delighted to have them as the Official Gin of the International Festival.

- The University of Edinburgh supported the music programme at St Cecilia’s Hall, allowing audiences the opportunity to hear early music performed on period instruments.

2016 Launch Party Edinburgh © Clark James 8

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