News Story

In a year like no other, we welcomed live performance back to Edinburgh.


The success of the 2021 International Festival can be measured in the joy of audiences attending live performance once again, artists returning to the stage and giving exceptional performances in unfamiliar settings, the seamless experience of our outdoor venues, our beloved theatres opening their doors once more and the engagement of communities right across the city from Moredun to South Gyle. We even enjoyed good weather that added to the collective delight and good humour that seemed to pervade every performance.

We commissioned new work by companies from Brazil, South Africa and Lebanon, presented world premieres from Enda Walsh, Anna Clyne and Ayanna Witter-Johnson and worked with Scottish companies including the National Theatre of Scotland, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Curious Seed and the Dundee Rep. We celebrated Scottish artists such as Alan Cumming, Nicola Benedetti, Hannah Lavery and Karine Polwart and welcomed visiting performers such as Saul Williams, Renée Fleming and Barrie Kosky. Our music programme expanded to embrace traditional, folk, jazz, electronic and progressively experimental artists from Gambia to the Isle of Skye.

We are grateful to our audiences who cheered us on throughout the past 18 months and returned to our venues in healthy numbers, and also to those who joined us digitally from around the world. We are privileged to be able to innovate in the way that we have done to make this Festival a reality. The return to live performance was carefully planned with the Scottish Government, City of Edinburgh Council and EventScotland through the Gateway process and with the support of our donors, stakeholders, audience members and of course our Trustees.

We salute our sister festivals for their innovation and creativity. Together we hope we gave Edinburgh a festival season to remember.

Fergus Linehan
Festival Director


Continue to enjoy highlights of the Festival with digital performances available to watch on demand as part of our At Home programme in partnership with abrdn.

Thank you for helping us create another magical Festival. Join us again next year from 5-29 August 2022!