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Katie Mitchell to make Edinburgh International Festival debut

katie mitchell Katie Mitchell. Photo: Stephen Cummiskey
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Director Katie Mitchell is to make her Edinburgh International Festival debut this August as part of a residency by Paris-based Theatre des Bouffes du Nord.

EIF 2018, the fourth under the artistic directorship of Fergus Linehan, has a strong theatre strand with seven productions in all. There will also be three fully-staged operas but a smaller than usual dance representation of only four productions.

The Parisian Theatre des Bouffes du Nord is bringing three productions to this year’s EIF. Mitchell is directing La Maladie de La mort, a new adaptation with Alice Birch of the Marguerite Duras novel.

Peter Brook, who took over the Theatre des Bouffes building in 1974 with the French producer Micheline Rozan, is appearing at the EIF for the first time since the 1950s with a new production with playwright Marie-Helene Estienne, The Prisoner.

The third production will see the company using stars from musical theatre in the opera section of the programme with a new staging of The Beggar’s Opera. directed by Robert Carsen with original music direction by William Christie.

Linehan told The Stage that had been going to the Bouffes for years.

“It just struck us that it would be really interesting for people to see the breadth that a single theatre can have,” he said of his decision to bring the company in for a residency.

“It’s that notion of experimentation from a theatre and a kind of a fearlessness which the Bouffes Du Nord has always had – whether putting music theatre singers into opera or the incredible stripped back rawness of Brook’s parables.

“It has never been desperately trying to please, it has always been interested in a conversation about theatre and different forms it can take,” he added.

La Maladie de La mort uses a combination of theatre with radio play and film, shot and mixed live. Duras’ novel concerns a man who hires a woman to spend several weeks with him in a hotel by the sea, hoping to experience love.

Linehan says: “As always with Katie it is taking a text and focussing on the female character and saying lets just completely fill this out into a full three dimensional person and tell the story through that perspective.”

The theatre programme also includes a Waiting for Godot from Irish company Druid, Notes From the Field by Anna Deavere Smith and Home, a major new international co-commission for Edinburgh fringe regular Geoff Sobelle.

Regular opera productions for the festival come from Rossini with a minimalist Barber of Seville from Theatre des Champs-Elysees and a more luxurious La Cenerentola from Opera de Lyon.

The dance programme includes Xenos, a new solo work by Akram Khan, marking his final performances in a full-length work, and Autobiography from Company Wayne McGregor.

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