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Full Programme for Spirit of ‘47 Announced

Today the International Festival and British Council announce full details for Spirit of ’47, a co-curated programme celebrating international cultural collaboration. The 10 day season of events features performances, screenings and talks from all over the world. 

Spirit of ‘47 marks the 70th anniversary of the International Festival and is inspired by the founding principals of the first year. In 1947, a group of visionary figures including first Festival Director Rudolf Bing, Henry Harvey Wood, Head of the newly formed British Council in Scotland and leaders from across Edinburgh, conceived of an arts festival that would welcome people from all over the world to the Scottish capital, in a celebration of cultures and people.

In the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, this bold and ground-breaking partnership recognised the potential for international understanding through cultural collaboration, and laid the foundations for the global gathering of artists and audiences which has taken place in Edinburgh every August since.

Spirit of ’47 champions the optimism and continued resonance of this partnership, bringing together an eclectic line-up of artists from Syria to Stirlingshire. In 2017, this open spirit asks questions of national identity, global citizenship, conflict and migration.

The programme offers a rare opportunity to hear a diverse range of cultural perspectives from over 20 nations, featuring artists from Scotland, England, USA, Ukraine, Lebanon, Cuba, China, Jamaica, Palestine, Chile, Argentina, Syria, Portugal, Germany, Iran, Pakistan, India and more.

Artists include writer and performer Azade Shahmiri (Iran), author Paul Auster (USA), theatre directors John Tiffany, Vicky Featherstone and David Greig (UK), sitar virtuoso Anoushka Shankar (India), Mercury Prize winning Benjamin Clementine (UK), Qawwali singer Faiz Ali Faiz (Pakistan), Scottish folk singer-songwriter Karine Polwart, and Turner Prize-winning visual artist and musician Martin Creed. Special events celebrate fresh playwriting from around the world, European musical collaborations and an afternoon of film, music and discussion examining the current conflict in Syria.  

A partnership between Spirit of ’47 and BBC Arts Digital extends the reach of the season online. Play readings, films, discussions and music will be live streamed from The Studio at the Festival Theatre, and in harmony with Spirit of ‘47’s principles, these performances will be available internationally, live and on demand on their website. 

Spirit of ’47 is based at The Studio on Potterrow, with additional events at the Usher Hall, Festival and King’s Theatres. It runs for 10 days during the International Festival from Sunday 6 to Wednesday 16 August.

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