As the Edinburgh International Festival and Fringe is cancelled for the first time, we look back on our coverage of the second ever festival in 1948.
“Edinburgh, resplendent in festival attire, is a sight well worth seeing!” wrote our correspondent in the September 2 issue. “As the aim of the festival is to provide a centre where, year after year, all that is best in music, drama and the visual art can be seen and heard in beautiful surroundings, surely this lovely old city provides an ideal setting.
“A warm welcome is being extended to the thousands of visitors who have come from all over the world to this, our second International Festival of Music and Drama. Every available theatre and hall is being occupied for the three weeks. Of the outdoor attractions, a thrilling spectacle is provided by the stirring military displays of piping and dancing on the Castle Esplanade and in Princes Street Gardens, when the floodlit castle forms a background of rare beauty.
“Edinburgh is lucky to have so many distinguished artists of international repute taking part in the Festival – seven orchestras with celebrated soloists, Glyndebourne Opera, John Gielgud’s production of Medea, Jean-Louis Barrault and his French company, Sadler’s Wells Ballet, and many other outstanding attractions. Of the Scottish contributions, a highlight is Tyrone Guthrie’s production of the 16th-century morality play The Three Estates, which has been so brilliantly adapted by Robert Kemp, our clever Scottish playwright.”
If you’d like to read more stories from the history of theatre, all previous content from The Stage is available at the British Newspaper Archive in a convenient, easy-to-access format. Please visit: thestage.co.uk/archive