Edinburgh International Festival reveal Spirit of '47 details

EIF teams up with the British Council for a programme celebrating arts and culture from across the globe, as part of the Festival's 70th anniversary celebrations

Feature by The Skinny | 14 Jun 2017
  • Anoushka Shankar

The Spirit of '47 strand of this year's Edinburgh International Festival features artists from over 20 countries from around the world – the project's title is a reference to the original Edinburgh International Festival's goal of bringing together artists and cultures in the wake of World War II.

The programme includes the critically-acclaimed Minefield – a multi-arts piece bringing together Argentine and British veterans of the Falklands war – and Voicelessness by female Iranian director, writer and performer Azade Shahmiri. New and Now is a series of new plays by writers from across Europe, Asia, the Middle East and the Americas, developed through the Royal Court’s International Playwrights’ Programme, and the New European Songbook pairs European musicians with an artist who has recently migrated to their country to create a new song, with collaborators including Karine Polwart and 2014 Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst.

Spirited Voices is a series of talks on culture and conflict, global citizenship and internationalism, with participants including writer and journalist Raja Shehadeh, writer and director David Greig, broadcaster Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Jamaican poet and novelist Lorna Goodison, Grenadian writer Jacob Ross and Guyanese artist Roshini Kempadoo. There are also screenings of two films: Reflections on Syria, in which artists from Syria present their stories and memories through film, music and theatre, and the Scottish Documentary Institute's new EIF film The World in One City.

The events join the previously-announced Words and Music residency from Turner Prize winning artist Martin Creed, concerts from Anoushka Shankar and Benjamin Clementine, and the Edinburgh Book Festival collaboration Paul Auster at 70, celebrating the US author's career.

EIF director Fergus Linehan said: "Whether it is looking forward to the playwriting voices of the future or looking back to post-war Jamaica, India and Edinburgh, Spirit of ’47 will, I hope, give a sense of how culture continues to flow and flourish across oceans, continents and borders". 

Graham Sheffield, Director of Arts at the British Council, said: "The values that drove us to establish what is now one of the most successful arts festivals in the world are just as pertinent in today’s geo-political context as they were in the broken and war-torn Europe of 1947. In 2017 our horizons are global, the artforms more diverse, but the need for arts and culture is no less."

Spirit of '47 takes place 6-16 Aug, as part of the 2017 Edinburgh International Festival; tickets are on-sale now via eif.co.uk