News Story

A gift from the International Festival to the people of our city in celebration of the return to live events…


Since being sent home from our office in March 2020, the Learning and Engagement Team has been passionate about getting back to in-person activities and interactions in the safest possible way. Our work is anchored in bringing the communities and people of Edinburgh and beyond together to view, engage with and participate in the performing arts. During lockdown we launched several successful digital initiatives, but it just wasn’t the same.

Excitingly, this August sees the return of live performance to the Festival programme, albeit in an adapted format with reduced capacities. With limitations on large group gatherings still in place, we’ve gone back to the drawing board with our plans for community engagement. In the past, our Culture Club initiative would have seen community groups coming together for shared meals and trips to performances, while our Global Communities project took artists from the Festival programme out into the city for pop-up performances. This year, things will look a little different.

To meet our goal of sharing the joy of the Festival with the communities of Edinburgh despite current restrictions, we’ve developed Festival Favours – an opportunity for communities across the city to enjoy a creative slice of the International Festival. Many groups across Edinburgh are slowly coming back together in real life (after over a year of digital interaction only), so we’ve created a new programme that supports this. Festival Favours sees artists and creative individuals being gifted to groups for special activities, workshops or performances.

The opportunity is open to any organised group, club, society, community centre, care home or other activity-based organisation in an EH postcode. Groups will be asked to apply to receive a Festival Favour, and the options are almost endless. The activity could be a workshop or class, it could be a mini performance or recital or it could be something more specific.


Get a baritone for your bridge club.

Or a hip hop dancer for your ballet class.

A rapper for your knit and natter.

Or a string quartet for your wild swimtroupe.


These are just a few suggestions, and groups might already have an idea of what kind of Festival Favour they might want. However, applicants don’t need to apply with an idea or plan and their group doesn’t need to have a creative or expressive arts focus. All we are looking for are applicants with a passion to bring creativity to their group, who have an interest in connecting with the International Festival and have the ability to host us this summer.

Three people sit on chairs playing different string instruments as a group of people watch their performance.

A string quartet play in a community centre

Credit: Photo: Gaelle Beri

Festival Favours will take place across Edinburgh in August. Interested groups can find more information on the project and how to apply via our website, where we have also provided a full list of FAQs and some suggestions on what Festival Favours you can request.

All of us at the International Festival are very excited about bringing live performance back to Edinburgh. We hope that Festival Favours brings a little slice of the performing arts to the people of Edinburgh, continuing to embed the International Festival into the heart of our communities and bringing joy and creativity back to the city as restrictions begin to ease.