Festival programmes look at sustainability

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Our world, our environment and sustainability are growing themes in the programmes of Edinburgh's Festivals. And as well as working on their sustainability behind the scenes, there's also lots of interesting artistic work on this important topic. Here we’ve collected a few examples from the three festivals to have released their full 2017 programmes so far.

We hope you enjoy these suggestions and have a fantastic festival experience!

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Edinburgh International Science Festival (1-16 April 2017)

How to Sustain: Sustainability and its Societal Implications
Saturday 8 April
Sustainability is a concept frequently discussed in the public sphere, but what do we really mean by it? This discussion will examine the interdisciplinary approaches across ecology, economics, politics and the often-neglected angle of culture that can help scientists and academics clearly communicate ideas around sustainability and its implications to the public, increasing awareness and understanding of this current and broad-ranging topic.

Lost at Sea
Tuesday 11 - Saturday 15 April
Award winning theatre company Catherine Wheels find themselves Lost at Sea as they explore the biggest subject they could possibly try and tackle – the ocean. The journey begins with a boy and a girl, fascinated by the story of 28,800 bath toys that accidentally ended up flung into the unrelenting currents of the Pacific Ocean. Their investigation sees them uncovering the mysteries of the sea and discovering its importance to every one of us on Earth.

Monday 10 - Tuesday 11 April
Award-winning artist Jenna Watt presents Faslane - a hugely powerful and timely insight into the UK's nuclear debate. Her Majesty's Naval Base Clyde, or Faslane, situated 40 miles outside Glasgow, is home to the UK's nuclear missile program, Trident. Drawing upon interviews with individuals at the front line, Jenna's provocative performance seeks answers to some important questions about the nuclear deterrent. Faslane won a Fringe First award in 2016.

Death of the Paperback
Saturday 8 April
E-books have been a force for good for authors, libraries and publishers, broadening the market worldwide and leading to a golden age of reading in the UK. As technology advances, the way we consume and experience books is changing. But do we get the same joy from an e-book as a physical copy? And will the paperback die out?

Low Impact Meal
Monday 10 April
How can we eat a more sustainable diet? There are arguments about what a low impact diet actually is. Should we all be eating vegan? Or should we all only eat food that is grown within our local community? Join Pete Ritchie from Nourish Scotland, Guardian journalist Tom Levitt and flexitarian Annabelle Randles to enjoy a three-course taster menu.

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Edinburgh International Children's Festival (27 May - 4 June 2017)

Into The Water
29 – 30 May 2017
This internationally renowned folk-dance duo presents a foot-stomping, hand-tapping adventure through dance, percussion and video. Drawing inspiration from the story of Lif and Lífþrasir, the only survivors of the Nordic mythological apocalypse, this modern retelling unfolds when two people, washed up on a magical wasteland, find their feet through toe-tapping and made-up games

You and Me and the Space Between
29 – 31 May
The island is sinking. Its adults are useless. Time for the kids to save the day. The island of proud circle springs a leak and its citizens must find a way to stop their home from disappearing. It takes the wondering mind of a child to save the island, its people and their way. Storytelling, choreographed projections and live drawn animation explore the plight of refugees fleeing environmental change through the eyes of a child.

1 – 3 June
What on earth is under your feet? Explore the ground and all of its wriggling inhabitants in this quirky dance show for young children. Performed on real turf, Grass is a sensory and gently interactive show featuring worms, snails, spontaneous outbreaks of ant dancing and plenty of obscure insect-related facts. Weaving together performance, puppetry and projections, watch the dancers delve down into the world beneath our feet whilst breathing in the scent of freshly-cut grass.

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Edinburgh International Festival (4-28 August 2017)

The Standard Life Opening Event: Bloom
Friday 4 August 
Way back in 1947, Sir John Falconer – Lord Provost of Edinburgh and the International Festival’s first Chair – spoke of his ambition that the inaugural Edinburgh International Festival should "provide a platform for the flowering of the human spirit".

70 years later, Edinburgh has bloomed magnificently as the world’s leading Festival City, transformed beyond recognition by the International Festival and those that followed - and its impact has pollinated cities across the globe, propagating new festivals throughout Europe, America and Asia. It has celebrated our highest artistic achievements, our imagination and creativity, our generosity and diversity.

17 - 27 August
Staffa is a work for full orchestra and large screens depicting three simultaneous visions of the uninhabited Hebridean island of Staffa created by BAFTA and Grierson award-winning filmmaker Gerry Fox and acclaimed composer Ned Bigham. Through sunny, rainy and stormy atmospheres the filmmaker and composer have tried to reflect, not a travelogue but rather a spiritual voyage around the cave and its distinctive, beautiful landscape.

The work will be presented as a three screen installation, with music recorded by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, at the National Library of Scotland. There is a live performance at the Usher Hall on 27 August with music performed by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.

If you want to find out more about how the Edinburgh Festivals are reducing their environmental impact and exploring the role of the arts in sustainability, take a look at our Environmental Policy.

For more examples of ways in which the Festivals are working to improve their record on sustainability, check out our news feature.

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