Edinburgh's Festivals welcome significant increase in funding

The Chief Executives and Directors of Edinburgh’s twelve major festivals today welcomed a significant increase in funding support for the festivals in a remarkable year for Scotland.

Distinctively Scottish and profoundly international, the festivals offer an unparalleled international platform and springboard for Scottish artists and companies from around the world.  For this important year, in addition to the £2,000,000 Scottish Government Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund, and project and ongoing core support from the City of Edinburgh Council and Creative Scotland, the festivals major public funders: the Scottish Government, the City of Edinburgh Council, Creative Scotland and EventScotland, are working collaboratively to invest an additional £1,000,000 into the increased ambition of the festivals’ 2014 programmes, working together to enable the city to celebrate the cultural wealth of our nation and its connection to the world.

Artists and audiences visiting the Festival City this year will become part of the Scotland-wide celebrations as Edinburgh marks Culture 2014, the nation’s cultural programme for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, and the second Year of Homecoming.  Enabled by and building on the ongoing Scottish Government’s Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund along with other funding streams, festivals will present programmes of unique and high impact creative initiatives across all genres, providing exciting new experiences for audiences from Scotland and around the world.

 New events and projects which complement the already announced work include:

  • As part of the Culture 2014 programme, Animated In 2014 is an exciting new project including a two day Animation Lab being held during the Edinburgh International Film Festival, giving emerging animation filmmakers the opportunity to be inspired by and network with key industry professionals. The festival will also showcase a programme of short animation films from Commonwealth countries before transferring to Festival 2014 in Glasgow in July and then traveling internationally around the Commonwealth.
  • The Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival will present the Commonwealth Jazz Orchestra, where Commonwealth musicians will come together with Scottish artists to collaborate. The Edinburgh Festival Carnival will have a strong Commonwealth flavour and will feature performers from around the globe, including South Africa, Trinidad, The Bahamas, and Zambia.
  • The Edinburgh International Book Festival will present Letters Home in collaboration with leading Scottish theatre company Grid Iron.  A unique promenade piece, this is the first time that such an ambitious theatre production has been presented within the Book Festival programme.
  • To celebrate the 20th Edinburgh Mela, the festival has commissioned a spectacular collaboration between rising world music star Soumik Datta and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. The King of Ghosts, inspired by Oscar winning director Satyajit Ray’s 1969 arthouse film Gupi Gayen Bagha Bayen, is a brand new score, combining rich orchestral textures with Indian folk rhythms and electronic beats, to accompany projected scenes from the film, creating a magical atmosphere. It will premiere at the Mela on Friday 29 August before going on to tour Scotland. The World Dance Feste stage returns to the Mela, with a programme mixing traditional dance styles from around the world with contemporary work from across the UK and South Asia.  
  • Made In Scotland will return to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with a curated programme of the very best Scottish theatre, dance and music. 
  • The Scottish International Storytelling Festival Once Upon a Place, will celebrate the creative connections between live narrative and place in Scotland, Europe and the Pacific regionGuest storytellers from Scotland will combine with visitors from Germany, Italy, Portugal, Samoa, Wales, New Zealand, Taipei, Australia and the Solomon Islands to explore traditional and innovative ways in which people express their sense of identity by ‘seeing stories’ in their landscapes- rural and urban.  The programme will once again bring Edinburgh to life as a city of story, while also spreading events and guest artists across Scotland through ‘Festival on Tour’. There will also be specific anniversary events for Walter Scott and literary Edinburgh, commemoration of World War One, and a retelling of Scotland’s sense of its own historical narrative- ‘Tales of a Grandson’ in partnership with the MacRobert Arts Centre and the National Museum of Scotland.
  • Edinburgh Art Festival, in partnership with the City of Edinburgh Council, presents a major international exhibition over four floors of the City Art Centre and at off-site locations around the city. Where do I end and you begin, which is part of the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme and the year of Homecoming Scotland, represents a significant evolution of Edinburgh Art Festival's festival-led programming. Five curators from Commonwealth countries have selected over 20 contemporary artists to exhibit work in the exhibition, with many showing work for the first time in the UK.  The festival also continues its acclaimed commissions programme, with new publicly sited works; commissions as part of GENERATION; work exploring the boundaries between visual art and other forms; and a significant commitment to supporting emerging Scottish talent.
  • In the first ever co-production with the National Theatre of Scotland and National Theatre of Great Britain, the Edinburgh International Festival will present a trilogy of plays by writer Rona Munro bringing to life a rarely explored period in Scottish history, three generations of Stewart Kings who ruled in the tumultuous fifteenth century. The James Plays are a unique vision of a country tussling with its past and future and together create a complex and compelling narrative on Scottish culture and nationhood.
  • The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo 2014 celebrates ‘Our Home, Friends and Family’ as Scotland welcomes the world to join in the exciting year of Homecoming with hundreds of Commonwealth participants set to play a part. Music, dance and precision display from across the globe featuring performers from Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said:

This year, in addition to welcoming people from around the world to our internationally renowned Edinburgh Festivals, Scotland will host the Commonwealth Games, the Ryder Cup and we will encourage visitors and Scots alike to engage with our second Year of Homecoming.  As we welcome the world in 2014 to see the best that Scotland has to offer, our extensive and diverse programme of cultural events will help to boost our international profile, and provide a platform for both Scottish artists and companies from around the world. The Scottish Government is pleased to extend our support for Edinburgh’s Festivals in 2014-15 through the continuation of the Expo Fund and the additional support we are providing this year for the Year of Homecoming and through Creative Scotland, for Culture 2014.  This takes the Scottish Government’s investment in the Edinburgh Festivals to more than £15m since the Expo fund was set up in 2007.

Cllr Steve Cardownie, Festival and Events Champion at the City of Edinburgh Council said:

Throughout the year the festivals bring the city alive for residents as well as visitors. The City of Edinburgh Council recognises the economic, cultural and social value of the festivals, generating £261m to the Scottish economy of which £245m benefits the Edinburgh economy every year. We know from the recent Edinburgh Peoples Survey that 64% of residents have attended a festival in the last two years and we are delighted to continue to support the ever increasing ambitions of the festivals and their enormous contribution to this year of celebration.

Ken Hay, Chair of Festivals Edinburgh and Chief Executive of the Edinburgh International Film Festival said:

Edinburgh’s Festivals’ unique collaborative approach enables us to lead on and support the festivals in delivering projects on an international scale.  In this year of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, Homecoming Scotland 2014 and the WW1 commemoration, we are extremely grateful to our funders for their sustained support for our ambitions and backing that with this enhanced investment.

Today’s announcement follows the news that Edinburgh will host the second Edinburgh International Culture Summit, with world leaders from the cultural sector and Culture Ministers gathering in Edinburgh to join in a dialogue and debate between policy makers and artists.  In the same month, the second World Fringe Congress will also meet, welcoming Directors and organisers of Fringes from around the world to share ideas and experiences.

In August the festivals will provide the finale to Culture 2014 as the eyes of the world will move from the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games to Edinburgh. During Edinburgh’s August Festivals the city will play host to new commissions, international gatherings and world premieres represented by over 25,000 artists from over 70 countries and from where artists from the Commonwealth will play a starring role.

Commenting on the 2014 projects, Janet Archer, Chief Executive of Creative Scotland said

The Edinburgh Festivals are a key element in the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme, with a fantastic range of events taking place in the run up to and after the Games themselves. 2014 provides great opportunities for Glasgow and Edinburgh to work closely together in new ways, with work being shared across both cities for audiences everywhere to enjoy. The Edinburgh Festivals remain a cornerstone of Scotland’s artistic strength, always inspiring, always ground-breaking, each year showing that this country is a world leader in the arts and creativity.

Paul Bush OBE, Chief Operating Officer for EventScotland said

Scotland is the perfect stage for events and Edinburgh’s Festivals are a core and very important part of our year round offer every year. This enhanced support for the festivals will enable the opportunities presented by Homecoming Scotland 2014 and the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games to be maximised with ambitious and exciting programming. EventScotland is delighted to be supporting the festivals through Homecoming Scotland 2014 and our International Events Programme.

Full programme details, combined with specific funding information, will be announced at the launch of individual festival programmes over the coming months.

Image Credit: Photographer Rob MacDougall - Photograph features Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop with Maxwell and Minnie Stephenson (ages 11 and 8) and performers from the 2014 Imaginate Festival


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