Spirit of '47

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A 70th anniversary collaboration between the British Council & the Edinburgh International Festival

In 1947 Rudolf Bing, the General Manager of Glyndebourne Opera, Henry Harvey Wood, the Head of the British Council in Scotland, and leaders from the City of Edinburgh came together to conceive of an event that would welcome the world to the Scottish capital.

In an act of extraordinary courage and optimism they asserted that art and culture could act as a beacon of hope and reconciliation in a divided continent. The Spirit of ’47 is a co-curated programme marking the founding partnership that gave birth to the Festival city and celebrates the depth and quality of international cultural collaboration in today’s world.

Artists from Scotland, England, USA, Ukraine, Lebanon, Cuba, China, Jamaica, Palestine, Chile, Argentina, Syria, Portugal, Germany, Iran, Pakistan, India and many more will come together for eleven days of electrifying performance and discussion.

We were delighted that BBC Arts Digital collaborated with us, making many of the events from Spirit of ’47 available live and on demand to a global audience online. Visit BBC Arts Digital for more information and to watch some of the events. 

British Council logo

The British Council was a co-founder of the International Festival

Benjamin Clementine performing an extract of Phantom of Aleppoville, live at the International Festival. Part of Spirit of '47

Watch the full conversation with Paul Auster, part of Spirit of '47

Christine De Luca reads her specially commissioned poem, Spirit of '47

Anoushka Shankar

16 Aug 7.30pm
Usher Hall

Benjamin Clementine

10 Aug 7.30pm
Festival Theatre

Paul Auster at 70

14 Aug 6.30pm
King's Theatre

Martin Creed's Words and Music

5-27 Aug 10.30pm
The Studio

MINEFIELD

6-9 Aug 7pm
The Studio

New European Songbook

11-12 Aug 7pm
The Studio

Ghalia's Miles

By Maya Zbib

Part of New and Now: International Plays from the Royal Court Theatre

9 Aug 11am
The Studio

Speech (Discurso)

By Guillermo Calderón

Part of New and Now: International Plays from the Royal Court Theatre

13 Aug 11am
The Studio

Bad Roads

By Natalya Vorozhbit

Part of New and Now: International Plays from the Royal Court Theatre

8 Aug 11am
The Studio

Voicelessness

14-15 Aug 7.30pm
The Studio

Spirited Voices: War Dialogues

7 Aug 3pm
The Studio

You Never Touched the Dirt

By Zhu Yi

Part of New and Now: International Plays from the Royal Court Theatre

11 Aug 11am
The Studio

Drainage Alley

By Laura Liz Gil Echenique

Part of New and Now: International Plays from the Royal Court Theatre

10 Aug 11am
The Studio

There is No One Between You and Me

By Dalia Taha

Part of New and Now: International Plays from the Royal Court Theatre

12 Aug 11am
The Studio

The World in One City

10, 19 Aug
The Studio

Spirited Voices: Arts in the Aftermath of Conflict

9 Aug 2pm
The Studio

Spirited Voices: Cultural Connections

7 Aug 1pm
The Studio

Spirited Voices: The Power of Plays

12 Aug 1.30pm
The Studio

Spirited Voices: Fire Down Below

15 Aug 1pm
The Studio

Spirited Voices: Contesting the Spirit of Unity

Whose Festival? Whose Culture?

16 Aug 11am
The Studio

Reflections on Syria

13 Aug 3pm
The Studio