Edinburgh International Festival to feature stories of refugees and migration | Edinburgh Festival

An adaptation of The Jungle Book that reimagines Mowgli’s journey through the eyes of a climate refugee is part of the program at this year’s Edinburgh International Festival, which highlights themes of refugeehood and poverty. migration.

Outgoing festival director Fergus Linehan said the 75and anniversary program was an opportunity to “pay tribute to our first artistic director, Rudolf Bing, a war refugee in Europe”.

“2022 is a special year for the festival,” he added. “We hope this marks a turning point in the pandemic that has turned all of our lives upside down for the past two years…And this is my final year as festival director as we hand over the reins to a new generation.”

Jungle Book Reimagined, by internationally renowned choreographer Akram Khan, is a magical retelling of Rudyard Kipling’s family classic with an original score and 10 international dancers. It follows a child refugee as he arrives in a deserted modern city where wild animals claim the streets as their own.

Other festival highlights include a modern adaptation of Medea by former Scottish makar Liz Lochhead, in which a woman flees her country to a dangerous foreign land.

There’s also Refuge, a series of 11 theatre, art, dance, film and conversation pieces in collaboration with the Scottish Refugee Council; Counting and Cracking by S. Shakthidharan, which follows the journey of a Sri Lankan-Australian family over four generations, and The Traveler of Time, in which conductor Jordi Savall performs with musicians from Europe, the Middle East, China, India and North Africa. to recreate the music in the journeys of 14andIbn Battuta, Islamic scholar of the -century.

Returning to Edinburgh’s theaters and concert halls on a scale not seen since 2019, 14 venues will host 87 events and over 160 performances by over 2,300 artists, spanning classical and contemporary music, theatre, opera and dance.

The Jungle Book Reimagined. Photography: Ambra Vernuccio

The festival’s free opening concert at BT Murrayfield, called Macro, features Australian contemporary circus powerhouse Gravity & Other Myths, First Nations dance company Djuki Mala, the National Youth Choir of Scotland and a number of Scottish musicians . Visitors are told to expect a “heart in mouth” demonstration of skill.

The program also includes the regular repertoire of official classical concerts of the international festival, including those of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Australian World Orchestra, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic, Siècles, Hespèrion XXI, of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra and the Royal National Orchestra of Scotland.

The festival will host the world premiere of Scottish Ballet’s Coppélia, reimagined for the digital age by British choreographers Jess and Morgs and the UK premiere of A Little Life based on the novel by Hanya Yanagihara, among others.

“Established after the Second World War to unite people of different cultures through the arts, the festival’s raison d’être is just as relevant today as it was in 1947,” said the Scottish Minister for Culture, Neil Gray. “As Minister for Refugees of Ukraine, I am delighted to see the themes of refugee status, migration and inclusion on this year’s programme.

Nicola Benedetti, the award-winning Scottish violinist, will take over the festival in October. Donald Wilson, Head of Culture and Communities for Edinburgh, paid tribute to Linehan, who “over the past seven years…has gone through an exceptional period of social freedom and challenge to stage a festival program both intimate and international”.

Darcy J. Skinner