Edinburgh International Festival to give away free 35,000 ‘thank you’ tickets to mark 75th anniversary

The Edinburgh International Festival has revealed plans to give away more than 35,000 tickets as a “thank you” to the people of Edinburgh to mark its 75th anniversary this summer.

Monday, 27th June 2022, 4:55 am

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Free events are to be staged at Murrayfield Stadium, Murrayfield Ice Rink, Princes Street Gardens, the Edinburgh Playhouse and the Usher Hall during the three-week event to recognise the welcome the city has given to the rest of the world since its launch in 1947.

The programme of free events, supported by the Scottish Government and the city council, is aimed at recognising the “dedication and hard work” of all of the city’s residents who have contributed to its success in some way.

The line-up includes an opening night curtainraiser at Murrayfield which will feature live music, theatre, acrobatics and dance, and a gala performance by Philadelphia Orchestra on the festival’s final weekend, which will be staged at the Playhouse and beamed live into the Ross Bandstand arena in the gardens.

The Philadelphia Orchestra, led by conductor Yannick Nezet-Seguin, will be staging a free gala concert at the Edinburgh Playhouse, which will be beamed live into Princes Street Gardens on 27 August. Picture: Todd Rosenberg

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    EIF director Fergus Linehan said: “As the festival prepares to celebrate its 75th anniversary, we wanted to acknowledge the dedication and hard work of so many of the city’s residents who have contributed to the festival over the years.

    "We’re delighted that tickets for several our most ambitious 2022 productions will be completely free of charge.”

    Austrlian circus stars Gravity & Other Myths and dance-theatre outfit Djuki Mala will join forces with the National Youth Choir of Scotland and leading Scots trad music stars Aidan O’Rourke, Brìghde Chaimbeul, Lauren MacColl and Kathleen MacInnes to open the festival at Murrayfield Stadium on 5 August.

    The neighbouring ice rink will be playing host to Dreamachine, an immersive “kaleidoscopic” sound and light experience, from 13 August. It has been developed by producers Collective Act, Turner Prize-winning architecture, design and art group Collective, and the musician and composer Jon Hopkins.

    Murrayfield Stadium will play host to the Edinburgh International Festival's certainraiser MACRO. Picture: Darcy Grant

    The EIF will also be staging a free concert by a Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra on 6 August. Formed in the wake of the outbreak of war earlier this year and led by Canadian-Ukrainian conductor Keri-Lynn Wilson, its members include members of European orchestras, leading Ukrainian musicians and performers and around 75 military-age male musicians who have been granted an exemption to join the tour.

    Tickets for the various free events will be made available over the next few weeks.Council leader Cammy Day said: “This is a very special year for the festival.

    "Not only does it see a full and exciting programme of artists and companies from across Scotland and the world, it’s also marking its 75th year.

    “The free programme is dedicated to the residents of Edinburgh and these 35,000 tickets are a wonderful way to celebrate this important milestone.”

    Performers from Australia and Scotland wiil join forces for the Edinburgh International Festival's opening event in August.

    Culture secretary Neil Gray said: “We’re delighted to support the festival’s opening and closing events this year, along with the special appearance of the Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra, all of which are free.

    “MACRO, the Australian/Scottish opening spectacle at Murrayfield, is a wonderful example of the cultural collaborations at the heart of the festival.

    “I do hope people in Edinburgh - which is twinned with Kyiv - and across Scotland, will take this opportunity to hear the Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra and to show our support for the Ukrainian community in our city as well as the people directly affected by the war."

    Canadian-Ukrainian conductor Keri-Lynn Wilson will be leading the Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra's Edinburgh Internaitonal Festival Concert at the Usher Hall in August. Picture: Igor Zakharkin