EDINBURGH FESTIVAL PREVIEW FEATURE
Fringe Director Hilary Strong
‘The Fringe has always represented the power of the individual to do the work they want to do to the best of their abilities. It also gives power to the audience to choose what they see. However much the art brigade protest against cotnedy and popular culture. the audience ultimately make their own choice. so the Fringe is the last place popular choice can influence things and make things happen. For the future. I think it‘s about time the concept
of amateur and community art was recognised.
because they’ve both been significant factors in the success of the Fringe. The professional world is very snooty about these. but I think it
would be healthier in the next 50 years to see a
free~llowing movement between amateurs and professionals. with less snootiness all round.‘ (Hilary Strong, Director; [Edinburgh Fringe
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Neil Cooper picks some highlights from five decades of the Fringe.
I The Great Northern Welly Boot Show Billy Connolly. John Byrne. Tom McGrath — the future started here. Run co-operatively. this 1972 landmark production was the blueprint for 7284‘s cross-country assault on culture.
I The Slab Boys Now a staple of the Scottish repertoire. John Byrne‘s classic trilogy of post- war working-class life followed Roddy MacMillan’s The Bevel/err in its depiction of the workplace as a backdrop to drama.
I Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead Tom Stoppard’s smartypants 1966 debut was something of a slow burner. irritating the hacks at first. though it went on to pave the way for Stoppard to become the English master of wordplay.
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Joseph Beuys in perionnance
I Tattoo Brought to Edinburgh by Richard Demarco in I987. this remarkable wordless Yugoslav play touched extremes of emotion and seemed to sum up a nation in crisis.
I Joseph Beuys Cultural visionary. visual artist and self-styled shaman brought to Edinburgh umpteen times by Richard Demarco. Beuys left behind a legacy of rough- hewn relics derived from the natural world.
the Slab Boys: Lucille as depicted by John oyrne
Film Festival Director Mark Cousins
‘The Edinburgh Film Festival fell in love with low budget film when everyone else was interested in high budget film. It made it cool to be a cinephile when everyone else looked down their noses at movies. It helped launch careers (Stephen Frears. Antonia Bird). Thousands of meetings at the Festival led to hundreds of ﬁlms (Shallow Grave, Rob Roy). “Edinburgh” came to mean “bold” and “risky”. We want every filmmaker to be gagging to premiere in Edinburgh. We want it to be the most passionate. the most knowledgeable. the most discriminating festival anywhere. Every year. we want to discover a great new talent. We want to change the world.’ (Mark Cousins, Director; Drambuie Edinburgh Film Festival)
Alan Morrison picks five golden memories from the history of the Film Festival.
I Orson Welles He’d finished Othello. but hadn’t yet turned his talents to Touch ()flii'il. For two hours in I955. Welles held the audience at the Tollcross site of the Catneo spellbound with his words ofcinematic wisdom.
I ET Before it went on to become one of the biggest box office hits of all time. Stephen Spielberg‘s little alien called home from the I982 Film Festival's opening gala.
I Clint Eastwood One of the biggest stars to grace Edinburgh in recent years. Eastwood stopped over for the l990 premiere of White
ET: opening the 1982 Film Festival
Hunter: Black Heart. What made it more appropriate was that his character was based on director John Huston. himself Honorary President of the Edinburgh Film Festival back in 1954.
l Scorsese Retrospective In I975. the year before he catne to wider international recognition by winning the Palme D’Or at Cannes with Taxi Driver. Scorsese was in Scotland for an early retrospective. Rumour has it that his driver round town that year was a young Robbie Coltrane.
I Napoleon The newly restored version of Abel Gance’s silent epic proved to be the most memorable Film Festival event of the 805 when it was unveiled at the Playhouse. complete with live orchestra. in l98l.
Orson Welles at the the Cameo in 1955
The List 26 Jul-8 Aug I996 11