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Shakespeare theme for Edinburgh festival

Press AssociationPress Association 10/04/2016 Karrie Gillett

Shakespeare's work will feature throughout this year's Edinburgh International Festival, marking the 400th anniversary of his death.

The program for the three-week event will involve performances from almost 2,450 artists from 36 nations.

First appearances at the festival include Australian satirist Barry Humphries, Italian mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli and Scottish rock band Mogwai.

Audiences can celebrate Shakespeare's work in the year which sees 400 years since he died with international reimaginings of three of his plays.

Theatre maker Thomas Ostermeier returns to the festival with a reworking of Richard III in a production from Berlin's Schaubuhne Theatre while Cheek by Jowl offers a production of Measure for Measure which draws parallels with modern Russia.

British-born director Dan Jemmett and his French-based company Eat a Crocodile bring Shake, a five-piece reworking of Twelfth Night.

The Bard's influence also extends through the classical music program, with Shakespearean-inspired music from Rossini, Bellini, Verdi, Berlioz, Strauss and Tchaikovsky in concerts at the Usher and Queen's halls - where classical musicians will gather with 42 concerts and recitals.

Festival director Fergus Linehan said: "The International Festival is an invitation from the people of Scotland to people from all over the world to join us in an unparalleled celebration of creativity, virtuosity and originality.

"The calibre, ambition and passion of the artists and ensembles in this year's program combined with Edinburgh's electric festival atmosphere will make for an unforgettable experience for newcomers and international festival veterans alike."

The start of Edinburgh's festival season will be celebrated with a free, public outdoor event on August 7 with Deep Time - a digitally-animated artwork using Edinburgh Castle and Castle Rock as the canvas for projections and illuminations inspired by the city's past set to a specially-compiled soundtrack of music by Mogwai.

Other highlights of the festival, which runs from August 5 to 29, include director John Tiffany's return to Scotland with the European premiere of his Broadway production of Tennessee Williams's The Glass Menagerie.

A special concert series will celebrate Scottish contemporary music - from post-punk to post-rock, art-school infused pop, Scots traditional and modern folk, electronica and hip-hop .

Actor Alan Cumming will take up residence at The Hub venue over three weeks and 20 performances with his cabaret show Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs!

Leonie Bell, director of arts at Creative Scotland, said: "The 2016 program for the Edinburgh International Festival is an exciting mix of the classical and the contemporary, when artists and audiences from Scotland and the world will come together across venues and sites throughout Edinburgh to share in a magnificent three weeks, filled with dance, music, opera and theatre."

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