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Edinburgh Festival 99 Monday, 16 August, 1999, 17:00 GMT 18:00 UK
Festivals galore
Widely thought to be just a single festival, the annual Edinburgh extravaganza is in fact several different events. We give you the lowdown on the festival's main features with tips on what to look out for while you are there.

Edinburgh International Festival

15 August - 4 September 1999

Edinburgh's International Festival was the city's original event from which all the others later sprang.

Edinburgh Festival 1999
Begun in 1947, it has become one of the world's greatest celebrations of the arts.

This year, it comprises 167 performances from 80 different productions, ranging from contemporary Chinese opera and new choreography to a series of concerts featuring the music of the pipes.

Festival director Brian McMaster says: "I believe the festival exists to introduce new experiences to audiences and to introduce new audiences to the experience of live performance. We hope that everyone will try something they have not experienced before."

Covers: Classical/contemporary dance, opera, theatre, music: orchestral/pipe/solo recitals

Features: 167 performances,


  • The Sleepwalkers - Play in three parts set before and after WW1 by Hermann Broch.
  • The Wake - Tom Murphy's play examines one woman's difficult homecoming to Ireland after a family death.
  • India Song - All-consuming passion in colonial India in the 1930s is at the heart of this Maguerite Duras play.
  • Turandot - Puccini's opera of unrequited love in an exotic Chinese court from the Tokyo Opera Singers.
  • Giselle - Choreographer Mats Ek's rework of the classic ballet, now set in a mental hospital.
  • Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra - various performances.

    The Fringe Festival

    8 - 30 August 1999

    It began accidentally as an off-shoot to the main festival. Now, the wayward and eclectic Fringe is widely considered the season's most compelling event.

    It has an enviable reputation for showcasing new talent and trends in art and entertainment. Scores of Britain's leading comedians, performers and artists have here enjoyed their first success. Just as many famous names now make a point of putting in an appearance.

    Festival director Paul Gudgin says: "As ever the diversity and range of events is remarkable with over 15,000 performances presented by 600 different companies. Edinburgh will once again enjoy an arts extravaganza which is famous for bringing the hottest talent to one of the most beautiful cities."

    Covers: Comedy, music, theatre, opera, dance, visual and performance art, discussions, children's events.

    Features: 15,400 performers, 607 companies, 1,346 performances


  • Pop star Dannii Minogue plays Lady Macbeth.
  • Corpus Christi - Controversial play depicting Jesus as gay, with Stephen Billington (Greg Kelly in ITV's Coronation Street) as Judas Iscariot
  • Craig Charles - The comedian from BBC TV's Red Dwarf performs his one-man show.
  • Phil Jupitus - Star of BBC TV's Never Mind the Buzzcocks does stand-up
  • Dominic Holland - Perrier prize winner Holland brings the house down again.
  • Flux -a diverse line-up of music including Techno duo Orbital, former Soft Cell singer Marc Almond, The Fall and Ivor Cutler, Tindersticks and Nick Cave.

    Film Festival

    15 - 29 August 1999

    This is the event that launched The Full Monty into the world and has Sean Connery as its patron.

    This year British films bookend the 53rd Festival with Glasgow-based Ratcatcher opening the event and Beautiful People - a comedy about Bosnian refugees starring Charlotte Coleman - rounding it off.

    As well as high-profile British movies, the festival sees appearances from many global stars. It puts a strong emphasis on screenings for first-time directors, premieres and talent from around the world.

    The festival's events director Lizzie Francke says: "The Film Festival shrinks the world in two weeks and in doing so expands our vision of it."

    Covers: Thrillers, black comedy, documentary, retrospective, world cinema, animation, shorts, new film-makers

    Features: More than 300 films from 45 countries, including 141 features, 86 UK/4 European/12 world/6 international premieres films from 45 countries


  • The Thomas Crown Affair - Pierce Brosnan stars in the remake of the 1968 Steve McQueen film.
  • Pushing Tin - Air traffic control drama with Cate Blanchett and John Cusack.
  • Gregory's Two Girls - The long-awaited sequel to Gregory's Girl with John Gordon Sinclair
  • All About My Mother - Pedro Almodvar's homage to the melodrama tradition.
  • Midsummer Night's Dream - Star-studded adaptation of the Bard's romantic comedy with Rupert Everett and Michelle Pfeiffer.
  • Elephant Juice - London drama looking at the lives of three couples with Daniella Nardini, Emmanuelle Beart, Sean Gallagher.
  • Beautiful People - Manic comedy set in London in 1993 about the entwined lives of Brits and Bosnian refugees with Charlotte Coleman.
  • Ratcatcher - Film about childhood in a tattered Glasgow of the 1970s directed by Lynne Ramsay.

    Edinburgh International Book Festival

    14 - 30 August 1999

    Charlotte Square Gardens in the heart of Edinburgh plays host to the 16th Book Festival, considered by many to be the world's leading celebration of literature.

    Visitors can pick up a library-full of works by new and established writers of every genre. And the ambitious programme of book-inspired events is hosted by many of today's acclaimed authors.

    Festival director Faith Liddell says: "The Edinburgh Book Festival is an extraordinary event. For 17 glorious days, writers and readers of every imaginable shape, form and predilection gather to meet, mingle and celebrate the written word with a passion unrivalled anywhere else in the world."

    Covers: Fiction, biography, poetry, science, crime, comedy, politics, psychology, lifestyles, food & drink, music, religion, travel, film theatre, gardening, architecture, cultural identity, children's literature

    Features: 400 events including literary discussions, readings, demonstrations and workshops, 350 visiting authors


  • Meet celebrity authors: Beryl Bainbridge, Doris Lessing, Will Self, Ken Russell, Anthony Clare, Monty Don, Terry Gilliam, Melvyn Bragg, Iain Banks, Peter Ackroyd, Ruth Rendell, A N Wilson, Jay McInnery, J K Rowling, Andre Brink, Margaret Forster, Sean Hughes, Steve Bell, William Dalrymple, and more

    Edinburgh International Television Festival

    27- 30 August 1999

    Despite calling itself a festival, this is primarily an event for those in the TV industry.

    Representatives from UK's terrestrial channels, satellite services and leading independent production companies converge on Edinburgh for discussions, presentations and exhibitions on policy and programme-making.

    Past speakers: Media moguls Rupert Murdoch and Ted Turner, BBC director-general Sir John Birt, film-maker Nick Broomfield, Channel 5 boss David Elstein, comedy performer Jennifer Saunders and Lord Puttnam.

    Highlight: The annual MacTaggart Lecture delivered by a top figure from the world of television - and usually a platform to spark controversial debate. Expect strong words this year from ITV chief executive Richard Eyre.

    Edinburgh International Jazz and Blues Festival

    30 July - 8 August 1999

    Festival time in Edinburgh kicks off with its celebration of jazz and blues. It sees some of the world's leading jazz and blues musicians perform 60 shows in concert halls, cabaret rooms and free open air events.

    In 1999, its 21st year, the festival made moved away from its traditional menu of mainstream jazz, letting many modern sounds flood in.

    It opened with the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra playing the music of Duke Ellington. But by the end of the festivities, pop star Van Morrison and former Rolling Stone Bill Wyman had also entertained audiences. Elsewhere the hot sounds of Latin salsa filled the air.

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