FEATURE EDINBURGH FESTIVAL PREVIEW I Those rays of sunshine straying through the clouds can ' only mean one thing . . . the Edinburgh Festival is on its way. This is a special year for the world‘s biggest arts festival. All three of the main festivals — International, Fringe and Film — are presenting their 50th programmes. Established in 1947 to counter post-war austerity, they’ll be doing their best to make Edinburgh in August the most
lnternatloal Festivalinirector Brlaﬂn‘ﬁoMaster ‘Edinburgh has always been the biggest festival and also one of the best. Looking through old programmes. the number of seminal moments that have happened here is incredible. It‘s interesting that the basic structure of the Festival is the same now as it was in I947. They got so tnuch right that year that myself and all the Festival directors have just tried to consolidate that. Of course. there are always changes rellecting different tastes. There has always been a subjective element to the Festival. making for a different quality under each director. Largely. though. I think the future will be more of the same. with no fundamental changes to speak of. I hope not. anyway. (Brian MCMUSIC’I; Director: Edinburgh International Festival)
10 The List 26 Jul-8 Aug I996
exciting place in the world.
As in previous years, The List will produce three special weekly issues to cover the Festival. each one bulging with interviews, previews and reviews, free ticket offers and information about what to see and how to see it. These
will be published on Thursday 8, Thursday 15 and
Thursday 22 August.
To give you a taste of what‘s ahead. we’ve added a special six—page preview this issue. Below and opposite, the directors of the three festivals describe their achievements and ambitions, and we look back at highlights of the past 49 years.
Over the next few pages, we ask performers for the best and worst of their festival experiences. survey some of the Fringe’s dominant themes. guide Netsurfers through the festivals‘ websites, and give you advance notice of hot- selling tickets and programme changes.
Hold onto your hats, folks. it’s going to be a big one . . .
Neil Cooper selects a quintet of unforgettable moments from 50 Edinburgh International Festivals.
I The Wooster Group Shunted out to Morningside. the American post-performance art troupe first visited Scotland in I986 with LS!) — Just The High Points. delicately retitled The Road To IIIIHIUI'IU/il)‘ Part Three so as not to upset the neigbours. It included a drug- induced deconstruction of Arthur Miller‘s The Crueib/e. and featured Willem Dafoe in the cast.
I Beyond The Fringe Peter Cook. Dudley Moore. Alan Bennett and Jonathan Miller set the template for undergraduate humour as we know it with a legendary series of sketches that took the world by storm in I960.
I The Passion Bill Bryden‘s I980 take on The Mysteries. colloquially scripted by Tony Harrison. was a true spectacle. pre-dating Bryden‘s later large-scale work on The Ship. Worth it alone for the breathtaking sight of Brian Glover playing God majestically aloft a fork-lift truck.
I Carmen The magical pairing of Teresa Berganza and Placido Domingo in I977 saw ticket prices rise to their highest ever — £20. But press and punters alike agreed that. for this level of operatic passion. it would have been cheap at twice the price.
I Dans La Solitude Des Champs Be Coton Starkly emotive. French director Patrice Chereau‘s I995 French language power struggle was a passionate and evocative example of European theatre at its best.
Beyond The Frlnge (top to bottom): Mlller, Moore, Bennett and Book In 150