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EIF launches 2014 programme with strong theatre element

James McArdle, Andrew Rothney and Jamie Sives in the James Plays.
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Wars and their effects inform the majority of productions in this year’s Edinburgh International Festival programme, which includes five world theatre premieres.

Running from August 8 to 31, the 68th EIF contains a new EIF-commissioned translation of Thomas Bernhard’s Minetti by Peter Eyre and Tom Cairns, among the nine theatre productions.

The previously announced trio of James Plays by Rona Munro, a co-production with the National Theatre and National Theatre of Scotland, form the backbone of the theatrical offerings.

Premiering at the festival is Vladimir Pankov’s The War, from the Chekhov International Theatre Festival, which is set in Paris, 1913, in the lead-up to the First World War.

Getting its UK premiere is Luk Perceval’s Front from Germany’s Thalia Theater, which portrays the truth of trench warfare.

Although the EIF reports standstill funding from its major partners, artistic director Jonathan Mills told The Stage that the festival is benefitting from the Commonwealth Games, which are being held in Glasgow this year.

He said: “The Commonwealth Games – like the Olympic Games in 2012 – has given us the opportunity to present in 2014 a programme of similar size to that in 2012, and the desire to showcase in the festival this year has seen our funders working together to give additional funds to us.”

Mills has used the games to lever works from around the commonwealth. South Africa provides a world premiere in the dance section with Inala, which sees choreographer Mark Baldwin work with Ladysmith Black Mambazo and dancers from Rambert and the Royal Ballet.

The 20th Anniversary of democracy in South Africa is marked with a revival of Handspring Puppet Company’s Ubu and the Truth Commission.

Exhibit B by Third World Bunfight is a combination of performance and exhibition featuring black performers, and deals with racism and European colonialism in Africa.

Opera has just two productions. The Marinsky Opera’s production of Hector Berlios’ Les Troyens, directed by Yannis Kokkos, gets three performances. At the smaller end of the scale, there are two performances of Britten’s Owen Wingrave, in an Aldeburgh festival co-production.

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