News Story

The International Festival has launched a new storytelling website to celebrate 70 years of unifying artists and audiences from across the world

This year the Edinburgh International Festival celebrates 70 years of unifying artists and audiences from across the world.

With one month to go until the start of this year’s International Festival on 4 August, a new website has been launched which houses these memories and stories from the past 70 years:

The International Festival has always been far more than a collection of performances: it is a gathering of people - a celebration of generosity, a gift to the world from the world, as relevant today as it was in its inception. As part of the 70th anniversary celebrations, the International Festival has brought together its past, present and future story as a series of fascinating and little known stories, footage and unique perspectives, spanning the decades from people within the Festival City and around the world.

Working with Edinburgh-based creative design and digital agency LEWIS, the International Festival has created an interactive website which tells these stories using video interviews, archive footage, photographs and more. The project is also supported by the City of Edinburgh Council, celebrating 70 years as the Festival City.

Some of the stories told in this new website include:

  • the night, according to folklore, when the idea for the International Festival was first conceived of by Rudolf Bing and soprano Audrey Mildmay who were strolling down Princes Street after attending an opera and Edinburgh Castle came into view, bathed in moonlight
  • how the Scottish public responded to the plans for the International Festival by donating coal rations to light up the castle, opening homes to accommodate travelling artists and audiences, cooking 2,500 meals a day in the Festival Club, and festooning streets with flowers and flags
  • the founding of the Edinburgh Festival Chorus in 1965 and how one singer in its inaugural concert, 11-year-old schoolboy Donald Runnicles, made his conducting debut with the Chorus decades later in 1994

This story project continues and the International Festival is actively seeking audiences and members of the public to share their Festival memories. To become part of the story, people are encouraged to email [email protected].

Nicola Kenny, International Festival Digital Manager, said: ‘It’s been a great experience to look back over the incredible 70 year history of the International Festival and find just some of the wonderful stories told by audiences, artists and former members of staff. The storytelling website has a varied selection but there are so many tales to be told. We hope that this will be a starting point for even more people to share their stories from the International Festival, from those who coming for the first time in 2017, to those who have been coming since 1947’.

Visit the new storytelling website now to discover more stories.