First Edinburgh International Festival and Fringe shows confirmed as National Theatre reveals 2022 line-up

A black comedy about a fictional home secretary who tries to capitalise on a baby surviving being washed ashore off the White Cliffs of Dover, an Alan Cumming dance show inspired by Robert Burns and a new production of Liz Lochhead’s Medea will be staged as part of the 75th-anniversary season of Edinburgh’s festivals this summer.

Tuesday, 25th January 2022, 11:59 am
Updated Tuesday, 25th January 2022, 5:57 pm

The shows, the first stage productions confirmed for Edinburgh in August, are all part of the National Theatre of Scotland’s (NTS) plans for the year.

The theatre’s 2022 line-up will also include a play based on the little-known true story of an African man sold as a slave in Jamaica to a wealthy Scottish plantation owner, John Wedderburn, and brought back to work on his Perthshire estate.

Enough of Him, which will open at Pitlochry Festival Theatre in October, will explore the relationships between Joseph Knight, who would go on to win a landmark court battle in Scotland to secure his freedom, and John Wedderburn, his wife and a Scottish household servant he fell in love with.

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Uma Nada-Rajah, an NHS nurse who has emerged as one of Scotland’s writing talents in recent years, has written Exodus, a dark Fringe comedy billed as “bold, satirical and outrageous” by NTS.

Focusing on the fierce Prime Ministerial ambitions of home secretary Asiya Rao and her cut-throat advisor Phoebe, it is said to “shamelessly ridicule the systems of power”.

Nada-Rajah said: “The jumping off point for the play is a home secretary who is in the middle of a PR campaign on the coast of Dover and lo and behold, a baby washes ashore. The question that arises in my mind is what they would do that situation.

"The rest of the play kind of springs from this idea that the baby is alive and this home secretary needs to handle and manage the situation and take the baby with them on the rest of their day’s political events.

Alan Cumming will be launching a new dance show inspired by the life of Robert Burns at this year's Edinburgh International Festival. Picture: Laurence Winram

"I love comedy and there’s something about whether political satire is relevant in 2022 and how you satirise something that satirises itself.”

Cumming will unveil dance theatre show Burn at the International Festival before a tour around Scotland and a transfer to New York.

He said: “Initially I was very intrigued by this idea of how men deal with their desire. I saw that in him. He didn’t deal with it very well or didn’t control it.

“Over the last six months we’ve really honed in on Robert Burns’s letters as our biggest source material. He talks in his letters about passion being an incredibly important, but difficult and devastating thing for him.”

Adura Onashile will play the lead role in a new version of Liz Lochead's adaptation of the Greek tragedy Medea. Picture: Peter Dibdin

Adura Onashile will play the lead role in a new production of Liz Lochhead’s adaptation of Medea, nearly 20 years after it was first staged in Scotland.

NTS will return to the stage next month with a new version of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic gothic horror story, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde, which will be staged before a live audience at Leith Theatre and also broadcast into cinemas.

Musicians Roddy Hart and Tommy Reilly are masterminding the score for a new stage musical adaptation of Peter Mullan’s award-winning comedy-drama Orphans, which will open at Glasgow’s Armadillo in April.

Actor Alan Cumming is working with choreographer Stephen Hoggett on his new Robert Burns-inspired dance theatre show, Burn.
Uma Nada-Rajah's political satire Exodus will premiere at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August.
Enough of Him will explore the little-known true story of Joseph Knight, an African man sold as a slave in Jamaica to a wealthy Scottish plantation owner, John Wedderburn, and brought back to work on his Perthshire estate. Picture: Peter Dibdin