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Storytelling Website Launched To Celebrate 70 Years of Edinburgh International Festival

Storytelling Website Launched To Celebrate 70 Years of Edinburgh International Festival

This year the Edinburgh International Festival celebrates 70 years of unifying artists and audiences from across the world.

With one month to go until the start of this year's International Festival on 4 August 2017, a new website has been launched which houses these memories and stories from the past 70 years:

As part of the 70th anniversary celebrations, the International Festival has brought together its past, present and future story as a series of fascinating and little known stories, footage and unique perspectives, spanning the decades from people within the Festival City and around the world.

This storytelling project tells the rich and exciting story of the International Festival and Edinburgh as a Festival City. Working with Edinburgh-based creative design and digital agency LEWIS, the International Festival has created an interactive website which tells these stories using video interviews, archive footage, photographs and more.

The Edinburgh International Festival has always been far more than a collection of performances: it is a gathering of people - a celebration of generosity, a gift to the world from the world, as relevant today as it was in its inception.

This storytelling project celebrates these people and their stories. Some of the stories told in this new website include:

· the night, according to folklore, when the idea for the International Festival was first conceived of by Rudolf Bing and soprano Audrey Mildmay who were strolling down Princes Street after attending an opera and Edinburgh Castle came into view, bathed in moonlight

· following Nazi persecution, renowned conductor Bruno Walter re-united with the Vienna Philharmonic at the inaugural International Festival

· how the Scottish public responded to the plans for the International Festival by donating coal rations to light up the castle, opening homes to accommodate travelling artists and audiences, cooking 2,500 meals a day in the Festival Club, and festooning streets with flowers and flags

· the founding of the Edinburgh Festival Chorus in 1965 and how one singer in its inaugural concert, 11-year-old schoolboy Donald Runnicles, made his conducting debut with the Chorus decades later in 1994

· how the International Festival out-fringed the Fringe in 1960 with Beyond the Fringe by Jonathan Miller, Dudley Moore, Alan Bennett and Peter Cook

· the many productions of Macbeth over the International Festival's 70 years, from Verdi's classic being the first opera staged at the Festival in 1947, to this year's much anticipated landmark production by Teatro Regio of Turin

· political crises at the International Festival such as when Festival Director Robert Ponsonby invited the Czech Philharmonic, the first orchestra from behind the Iron Curtain to perform at the International Festival in 1959; and the stranding of the State Ballet of Georgia in Edinburgh when war broke out between Georgia and Russia in 2008.

This story project continues and the International Festival is actively seeking audiences and members of the public to share their Festival memories.

To become part of the story, people are encouraged to email

Nicola Kenny, International Festival Digital Manager, said: 'It's been a great experience to look back over the incredible 70 year history of the International Festival and find just some of the wonderful stories told by audiences, artists and former members of staff. The storytelling website has a varied selection but there are so many tales to be told. We hope that this will be a starting point for even more people to share their stories from the International Festival, from those who coming for the first time in 2017, to those who have been coming since 1947'.

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