Page last updated at 15:03 GMT, Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Festival reaches 'enlightenment'

Edinburgh International Festival director Jonathan Mills
International Festival director Jonathan Mills has revealed this year's theme

The line-up for this year's Edinburgh International Festival has been unveiled, including a number of works on its theme of The Enlightenment.

Festival director Jonathan Mills said the 18th century period saw an outpouring of intellectual and scientific accomplishments.

The festival, which runs from 14 August to 6 September, will include a huge Romanian production of Faust.

It will see the return of choreographer Michael Clark after 21 years.

Despite the Year of Homecoming, which celebrates the 250th anniversary of Robert Burns's birth, there is very little about Scotland's national poet in the programme.

The festival's director said that allowed them to focus on other Scottish cultural figures.

The Edinburgh International Festival is the feast for the senses that continues that exhilarating tradition of the Enlightenment

Jim Tough
Scottish Arts Council

Among them medieval poet Robert Henryson, whose epic poem The testament of Cresseid will be staged for the first time, and JM Barrie, whose Peter Pan will be the focus of a new stage performance by the American company Mabou Mines.

Scottish Ballet will present a world premiere of a new version of 'Petrushka', choreographed to Stravinsky's score by Scottish-based Ian Spink especially for the company.

Having bid successfully for £180,969 from the Scottish Government's Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund, the EIF has commissioned Scottish Ballet to present three works, including 'Petrushka'. All three are new to Scottish Ballet.

The biennial visual arts programme at the festival, under curator Juliana Engberg, sees nine international artists respond to the ideas behind the Festival programme in The Enlightenments, including seven new commissions.

Other highlights include a world premiere of Italian composer Giorgio Battistelli's Fair is foul, foul is fair, commissioned by the Festival for the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

There will be a world premiere of Scottish-based composer Nigel Osborne's Tiree, commissioned by the festival for the Arditti Quartet.

Modern world

Scottish playwright Rona Munro's The Last Witch, a festival commission co-produced with Edinburgh's Traverse Theatre and directed by Dominic Hill, will also be staged as a world premiere.

The festival's director said: "The Enlightenment was the inspiration for this year's programme. It was a period of technological developments, philosophical provocations and scientific discoveries.

"A visit to Edinburgh in the 18th century brought one to the source of the ideas and inventions that laid the foundations for so much of the modern world."

Scotland's Culture Minister Mike Russell MSP, said: "The rich variety of the Edinburgh International Festival programme encapsulates the vibrancy of Edinburgh's Festivals which place Scotland at the forefront of cultural creativity and innovation."

Jim Tough, chief executive of the Scottish Arts Council, said: "The Edinburgh International Festival is the feast for the senses that continues that exhilarating tradition of the Enlightenment, offering an alchemy of discovery, challenge and creativity that is unique to Scotland."

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