Alan Cumming to star as Robert Burns as part of Edinburgh Festival line-up

More than 2,300 artists will perform during the 75th festival in August.

Alan Cumming will be staring as Robert Burns in his debut solo dance performance (Edinburgh International Festival/Lawrence Winram/PA)
Alan Cumming will be staring as Robert Burns in his debut solo dance performance (Edinburgh International Festival/Lawrence Winram/PA)

Alan Cumming will play Robert Burns in a solo show at this year’s Edinburgh Festival, which is set to welcome more than 2,300 artists to the Scottish capital.

Burn, inspired by the life of the poet, is likely to be one of the highlights of the three-week festival in August.

The festival is returning to a scale not seen since before the pandemic, with 14 venues hosting 87 events and more than 160 performances.

Marco, the opening event at this year’s Edinburgh International Festival (Edinburgh International Festival/Darcy Grant)

Fergus Linehan, who will be serving as its director for the final time before handing over the reigns to Nicola Benedetti, said this is a “special year for the festival”.

“We hope that it will mark the turning point in the pandemic that has changed all our lives over the past two years,” he said.

“Edinburgh is more than a collection of performances, it is the great annual meeting point for artists and all those who love music, theatre, dance, and literature.”

At the festival this year, Marco, a free opening event at Murrayfield stadium, will feature contemporary circus Gravity & Other Myths alongside first nations dance company Djuki Mala, and the National Youth Choir of Scotland alongside a roster of Scottish musicians.

Jazz legend Herbie Hancock will be making his festival debut, while Akram Khan’s Jungle Book Reimagined will reinvent the journey of Mowgli though the eyes of a climate refugee, and there will be the world premiere of Scottish Ballet’s Coppelia.

Refuge, a season of contemporary theatre, dance, visual art, film and conversation created in collaboration with the Scottish Refugee Council, will explore themes of refugeehood, migration, identity and inclusion.

Ian Munro, chief executive of Creative Scotland, said the 75th festival anniversary programme “represents an important moment, bringing people together to celebrate creativity through an inspirational line-up of world-class music, opera, dance and theatre”.

He added: “Seventy-five years on from the festival’s founding in the shadow of the Second World War, we find ourselves again turning to culture to lift spirits and provide inspiration in uncertain and challenging times.”

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