Edinburgh International Festival organisers have offered a peek at what can be expected for next year’s edition, while also revealing its theme for 2024: ‘Rituals That Unite Us’.
The festival will run between August 2-25 in the Scottish capital, and will be the second to take place under festival director Nicola Benedetti. The theme focusses on a need for reconciliation and the value of shared experience through a curated programme of live music, theatre, opera and dance.
A total of five operas will feature on the 2024 International Festival bill, with three fully staged and two in concert. The first of these to be announced is Carmen, from Parisian opera house Opéra-Comique, the venue in which the opera premiered in 1875.
Elsewhere, Assembly Hall is a major new dance-theatre work, a Scottish premiere and an International Festival co-production from Canadian choreographer Crystal Pite. It will take place in the Festival Theatre, but is set in a community centre following a group of medieval re-enactors coming together for their annual general meeting.
Next year’s theme of ‘Rituals That Unite Us’ follows on from the 2023 theme of ‘Where Do We Go From Here?’ as well as feedback from audiences, artists and the public.
As well as performances from global artists and groups, the International Festival will continue its commitment to staging large-scale events with participation from communities across Scotland. This year saw 500 amateur and professional musicians perform in Princes Street Gardens.
Next year, the International Festival will collaborate with the World Health Organisation and Scottish Ballet to host the first nationwide Healing Arts campaign, Healing Arts Scotland.
The week-long activation will begin on August 19 and will feature performances, exhibitions, workshops and high-profile policy discussions.
“Next year’s Edinburgh International Festival celebrates the unifying force of collective live experiences,” said Benedetti. “We continue to pursue an openness towards diverse perspectives, and in exploring ‘Rituals That Unite Us’, reflect our deeply human need to connect with one another.
“When beliefs differ, when we are not aligned over a shared singular fight, it is always an effort, always tricky, always messy. But this is what our festival was founded to do. People use the word ‘soft’ when speaking of the power of the arts, but to open hearts and minds is the toughest and most serious thing we can offer people. It all starts with belief and trust. We led with this feeling in 2023, and we will deepen it in 2024.”
The full programme will be announced in due course, with tickets set to go on sale in March and priority booking available for members.