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Edinburgh book festival ‘incubator for new theatre ideas’

Muriel Spark, whose play Doctors of Philosophy will be staged at Edinburgh International Book Festival Muriel Spark, whose play Doctors of Philosophy will be staged at Edinburgh International Book Festival
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The Edinburgh International Book Festival is becoming an “incubator” for new theatre, according to its director Nick Barley.

Speaking at the launch of the programme for this year’s event, Barley announced Playing with Books, a series of collaborations with the Royal Lyceum.

The book festival takes place during the second and third weeks of the Edinburgh Fringe. It is collaborating with the Lyceum to stage a one-off rehearsed reading of Muriel Spark’s only play, Doctors of Philosophy. According to Barley, if this is a success it will go on to have a full production at the Lyceum.

They are also creating new stage adaptations of three books, including Ali Smith’s How to Be Both and Mexican novelist Yuri Herrera’s Signs Preceding the End of the World.

These will have one-off performances in the presence of the author, who will then discuss the novel and its interpretation.

Barley said: “The book festival is becoming an incubator for new ideas, not only in books but also in the theatre. We are an experimental stage for theatrical ideas and we are very proud of that new emerging role.”

The festival is also collaborating with theatre companies Visible Fictions and Fire Exit for pieces of work that examine the intrusive and manipulative nature of social media.

Visible Fictions is staging an immersive play, The Hidden, in Edinburgh’s Central Library for the duration of the festival. Fire Exit’s WhatsApp novella, The Right Kind of Chaos, will unfold over 10 days.

The festival’s theme is freedom. Author Alexander McCall Smith and composer Tom Cunningham will be discussing their new operetta The Tumbling Lassie, staged during the fringe, about the first time Scottish courts addressed the issue of slavery.

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