Edinburgh International Festival, the world’s leading performing arts festival, today unveils My Light Shines On – a series of video works and light installations across Scotland’s capital to mark the beginning of the festival season and celebrate the enduring spirit of the Festival City.
Through a series of digital commissions, the Edinburgh International Festival is partnering with Scottish artists and national arts companies, spanning the worlds of theatre, music and dance, to film original performances in venues including the Edinbu
The films include a personal love letter to Scottish theatre from the National Theatre of Scotland, directed by award-winning filmmaker Hope Dickson Leach and co-conceived with National Theatre of Scotland Artistic Director Jackie Wylie and dramaturg Philip Howard, along with Scottish Opera’s modern-day interpretation of Gian Carlo Menotti’s The Telephone, starring Soraya Mafi and Jonathan McGovern, filmed in the bar of the King’s Theatre.
The Royal Scottish National Orchestra features mezzo
My Light Shines On also features an outdoor light installation in which Edinburgh’s festival venues, including the Usher Hall, Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Bristo Square and the Castle Esplanade, are illuminated by hundreds of beams of light, reaching up into the night sky. Each venue will also be lit from within by glowing lanterns, which shine and pulse behind closed doors, celebrating the people and artists who play a key role in the festival community. Scottish lighting designers Kate Bonney and Simon Hayes have been commissioned to design the project.
As the beacons of light are visible from across the city, Edinburgh residents are encouraged to view the spectacle from their windows or a high vantage point, staying within government distancing guidelines and without gathering in crowds.
On Saturday 8 August 9:30pm, a one-hour gala film hosted by journalist and TV presenter Kirsty Wark and cellist Su-a Lee previews the My Light Shines On activity. This specially commissioned production is premiered on BBC Scotland TV and the International Festival’s YouTube channel to mark what would have been the opening of the 2020 festival. The film features famous faces from festivals across the years, and collaborations with Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Edinburgh International Book Festival and The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, showcasing Edinburgh role’s as the Festival City.
Other artists featured in the International Festival’s digital offering include violist Laurence Power with the world premiere of a composition by Esa-Pekka Salonen, West African supergroup Les Amazones D’
From 10–28 August the activity continues with a chamber music soundscape in Princes Street Gardens each lunchtime from Monday to Friday. Each 40-minute specially recorded chamber music performance will be audible throughout the gardens, allowing socially distanced audiences to enjoy the music whilst having a picnic or taking a walk. Artists will include Mark Padmore, Angela Hewitt, Dunedin Consort and the Hebrides Ensemble. Videos of the full concert series, recorded behind closed doors in The Hub, will be released on the Edinburgh International Festival YouTube channel. Highlights from the concert series will be broadcast on Classic FM in a special edition of The Classic FM Concert with John Suchet and streamed on the station’s Facebook page. Classic FM is the UK’s most popular classical music station and has the highest Facebook following in UK radio.
The Edinburgh Festival Chorus features in the International Festival’s summer activity
Highlights from the Festival’s archives are celebrated by a series of five Usher Hall concerts including Orchestra dell’
Additionally, Edinburgh International Festival is holding Artists in the Age of Covid – a range of digital conversations for the global performing arts industry, hosted virtually between 8–15 August. This series, in partnership with The Edinburgh International Culture Summit, seeks to explore the challenges and opportunities for the performing arts in a post-COVID world. International creatives discuss subjects ranging from the power dynamics exposed by coronavirus, to the relationship between organisations and communities, to artists reimagining the future and collaborations between different artforms to create work suitable for present conditions. Participating speakers include Chief Executive of Eden Court James Mackenzie-Blackman, curator of Glasgow’s After the Pandemic Summer School Graham Hogg, Artistic Director of Melbourne Arts House Emily Sexton, poet and novelist Jenni Fagan and Chief Conductor of Antwerp Symphony Orchestra Elim Chan.
The International Festival is partnering with all Edinburgh’s August festivals to create Faces of Edinburgh Festivals, a collection of portraits and interviews that shine a light on the people who help to transform Edinburgh into the Festival City every summer. This rich pool of stories about the individuals who bring the festivals to life, from performers and technical staff to taxi drivers and business owners, will be on display on posters across the city and on the Festivals Edinburgh
The Festival’s Learning and Engagement work continues throughout the summer, including a new partnership with Hermitage Park Primary School to provide an outdoor stage for learning, play and creative exploration. This structure will help to the school to embed outdoor creative arts in the curriculum and deliver a solution to the social distancing challenges facing schools as they re-open.
Additional events appearing in association with the Festival’s summer activity include Night Walk for Edinburgh by Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller which sold-out its
In The New Real, The Edinburgh Futures Institute commissions two digital installations – Mechanized Cacophony from Anna Ridler and Caroline Sinders
Edinburgh International Festival also platforms a work from Festivals for Compassion, in which festivals around Europe come together in recognition of the severe difficulties they collectively face in the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Double bassist Nikita Naumov performs a specially composed solo from Greek-Dutch pianist Calliope Tsoupaki, available on the International Festival’s YouTube channel and the Festivals for Compassion website.
On 25 September, The Portal, a new podcast from Martin Green, Wils Wilson and David Greig,
Edinburgh International Festival is encouraging those who are able to donate to the Theatre Artists Fund and Help Musicians UK, two hardship funds that support individuals across the performing arts in the UK who have been financially affected by the impact of COVID-19.
Visit eif.co.uk for further information about My Light Shines On and Edinburgh International