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Edinburgh International Festival Expands 2024 Programme

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New Additions and Exciting Events

Edinburgh, 23 May 2024 – The Edinburgh International Festival has announced new additions to its 2024 programme, featuring an array of performances, gigs, and keynote speaking events. The expanded lineup promises an exhilarating 24-day celebration of the arts, with world-class artists spanning opera, dance, music, and theatre from August 2-25.

Highlighting New Gigs and Keynote Speakers

Three new gigs have been added to the contemporary music lineup, with Declan McKenna, Nadine Shah, and Lisa O’Neill joining a stellar array of performers including Cat Power, Jordan Rakei, Chilly Gonzales, and Bat for Lashes.

Under the direction of Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti, now in her second year as Festival Director, the festival introduces a new series of keynote talks from prominent voices advocating for change. Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, rapper and activist Akala, and Invisible Women author Caroline Criado Perez will deliver thought-provoking speeches.

Engaging the Community

Music will reach into Edinburgh’s neighbourhoods, uniting artists and audiences as never before. Activities include a VR experience at a community hub in Southwest Edinburgh, a mass outdoor celebration with 250 performers at the Scottish Parliament, and pop-up performances in Edinburgh hospitals.

The inaugural Community Connections Hub will be hosted at Space @ The Broomhouse Hub, following a city-wide call-out to engage community centres. This partnership will see events and activities take place across the next 18 months, with aspirations to collaborate with more community spaces in the future.

Special Events and Performances

  • VR Experience: From 19-24 August, Space @ The Broomhouse Hub will host a free VR experience featuring Vaughan Williams’s The Lark Ascending, with Nicola Benedetti as the solo violinist.
  • Family Concert: A relaxed Family Concert on 25 August at Usher Hall will be live captioned and BSL interpreted by deaf musician Paul Whittaker.
  • Healing Arts Scotland Week: Launching as part of the festival, this week-long celebration of arts and health will include a grand opening at the Scottish Parliament on 19 August, featuring over 250 performers.

Exciting Keynote Speakers & Contemporary Music Lineup

Declan McKenna (12 August, Edinburgh Playhouse)

Indie-pop artist Declan McKenna makes his Edinburgh International Festival debut at just 25, performing songs from his critically acclaimed albums.

Nadine Shah (22 August, Queen’s Hall)

Mercury Prize nominee Nadine Shah brings her powerful voice and socio-political lyrics to the festival, following a successful tour with Depeche Mode.

Lisa O’Neill (21 August, Queen’s Hall)

Irish folk singer Lisa O’Neill captivates with her raw, emotional performances, including her acclaimed adaptation of Bob Dylan’s All the Tired Horses.

Gordon Brown (25 August, Festival Theatre)

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown envisions a world of peace and fairness, aligning with the festival’s theme of unity.

Caroline Criado Perez (18 August, Royal Lyceum Theatre)

Activist and author Caroline Criado Perez discusses her ongoing work to leverage accurate data for meaningful change.

Akala (10 August, Festival Theatre)

Rapper and social entrepreneur Akala speaks on race, culture, and the legacy of colonialism, urging audiences to challenge the status quo.

A Commitment to Inclusion and Accessibility

All keynote events will feature BSL interpretation and live captioning, ensuring they are accessible to a wider audience.

Edinburgh International Festival Director Nicola Benedetti expressed her excitement:

“The Edinburgh International Festival has always been proud to provide a platform for some of the most exciting voices in music, performance, and thought leadership. Our inaugural Community Connections Hub, NHS Festival Fridays, and the world-first Healing Arts Scotland week are perfect examples of the Festival bringing together communities and ideas in spaces and places outside of a theatre in August. Art has the power to transform, and I encourage everyone to seize this opportunity to come together and be thrilled, challenged, and discover something new.”

Scottish Ballet CEO/Artistic Director Christopher Hampson added:

“Healing Arts Scotland 2024 will be an inspirational week-long celebration of the huge impact the arts have on the nation’s health and well-being. Scottish Ballet is proud to be leading on this global outreach project in collaboration with the WHO and a host of partner organisations. I’m really excited about the large-scale participation performance taking place outside Scottish Parliament – it will be a true testament to all the wonderful arts health work that happens every day across Scotland.”

Neil Hay, CEO of Space @ The Broomhouse Hub, commented:

“The inaugural Community Connections Hub is fantastic news for Broomhouse and Southwest Edinburgh. This partnership will open up the Edinburgh International Festival to new audiences, allowing local people and families to enjoy cultural experiences our communities don’t normally access. We look forward to seeing all the exciting things the partnership will bring this summer and the coming year.”

Barry Kirkham
Barry Kirkham
Barry Kirkham: Edinburgh Magazine's go-to for tales of tech, science, and yesteryears. Often found wandering Edinburgh's alleys, fork in one hand, history book in the other, he's your fun guide to Scotland's capital and its delicious mysteries!

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