International Festival Portraits

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Celebrating the presence of artists at the very heart of the Edinburgh International Festival, these video portraits explore the artist's experience from the point of view of some of those who present their work at the International Festival in 2017, or who appeared here in 2016 and 2015. 

  • All
  • 2017
  • 2016
  • 2015

Anoushka Shankar

Global musical star and sitar virtuoso, Anoushka Shankar talks about the electricity of being on stage and the power of music to help us connect to each other.

Anoushka Shankar plays Land of Gold in concert as part of the 2017 Edinburgh International Festival.

Alan Ayckbourn

Celebrated playwright and storyteller Alan Ayckbourn talks about the excitement, emotion and thought-provoking live experience of theatre.

Alan Ayckbourn brings his new work The Divide in two parts to the 2017 International Festival.

Joshua Bell

Superstar US violinist Joshua Bell talks about first discovering music, the emotive experience of live performance and why music means so much to him.

Joshua Bell has a very special three-concert residency at the 2017 Edinburgh International Festival.

Zinnie Harris

Award-winning playwright Zinnie Harris talks about writing and forming stories, the importance of challenging something within the soul, and why that has always been a part of being human.

Zinnie Harris brings three productions to the 2017 Edinburgh International Festival: Oresteia: This Restless House, Rhinoceros and Meet Me at Dawn.

Mitsuko Uchida

One of the most revered pianists, Mitsuko Uchida talks about living for music and the unpredictability of performing on stage.

Mitsuko Uchida performs a recital as part of the 2017 Edinburgh International Festival.

Martin Creed

Artist, musician and Turner Prize-winner Martin Creed reflects on his job as an artist, trying to be true and trying to make life better.

Martin Creed performs Words and Music on 4-27 August as part of the 2017 Edinburgh International Festival.

Meow Meow

Cabaret Artiste Meow Meow talks about bringing a true, human vulnerability into heightened performance, and the absolute, jubilant necessity of art in our lives. 

Meow Meow performed in Barry Humphries Weimar Cabaret at the 2016 International Festival and she is coming back with Meow Meow's Little Mermaid in 2017.

Alan Cumming

Actor Alan Cumming talks about how knew he wanted to be an actor, and the electric moments of connection he experiences in live theatre. 

Alan Cumming performed Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs at the 2016 International Festival. 

Marin Alsop

Conductor Marin Alsop talks about the day she decided she wanted to be a conductor, and the process of bringing music on the page to full, vivid life. 

Marin Alsop conducted the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra as part of the 2016 International Festival.

John Tiffany

Director John Tiffany talks the moment he knew he wanted to be a director, and the projects that most excite and inspire him.

Tiffany directed The Glass Menagerie as part of the 2016 International Festival

Crystal Pite

Choreographer Crystal Pite talks about how she became a choreographer and the intense joy that comes with being completely absorbed in the act of creation. 

Crystal Pite's piece Emergence was performed by Scottish Ballet as part of the 2016 International Festival.

Barry Humphries

Performer Barry Humphries talks about his experience of creating and performing different characters, and the extraordinary energy of ‘pre-cataclysmic’ art – art that is produced before any major upheaval in history.  

Barry Humphries performed his Weimar Cabaret with Meow Meow and the Australian Chamber Orchestra as part of the 2016 International Festival.

James Yorkston

Musician James Yorkston talks about his first give, and the extraordinary joy and privilege of being able to make music. 

Yorkston was performing with Yorkston/Thorne/Khan at the 2016 International Festival. 

Juliette Binoche

Actress Juliette Binoche passionately describes the importance of actors fusing their body and mind when performing on stage.

Binoche performed in Antigone during the 2015 International Festival.

Simon McBurney

Actor and director Simon McBurney reflects on the intensity of live theatre and the co-dependent relationship between audience and performers.

McBurney performed in The Encounter during the 2015 International Festival. 

Nicola Benedetti

Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti takes a personal look at her own performance style on stage, the vulnerabilities and idiosyncrasies of a musician on stage.

Benedetti performed with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra at the Usher Hall during the 2015 International Festival. 

Robert Lepage

Actor, Writer and Director Robert Lepage champions the cultural benefits of the theatrical experience and the role he plays in delivering it.

Lepage performed in 887 during the 2015 International Festival

Anne-Sophie Mutter

Violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter discusses the life-affirming importance of music as a way of bringing people together and traces the impact it has had throughout her life.

Mutter performed Vivaldi's The Four Seasons at the Usher Hall during the 2015 International Festival.