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Article published 24/04/2023

The global celebration of performing arts, Edinburgh International Festival, today unveils an expansive programme of world-class music, opera, dance and theatre to take place from 4 to 27 August 2023. This year marks the first festival under the direction of new Festival Director, Nicola Benedetti, one of today's most influential classical music artists.

With a bold ambition to reimagine how we experience and interact with live performance, Benedetti has set out her vision for the festival. This to deliver the deepest possible experience, with the highest quality performances, to the broadest possible audience.

Inspired by the literature of Martin Luther King Jr, and his belief in people’s capacity to unite, the 2023 festival is charged by the question, "Where do we go from here?". This expansive programme of 295 events, asks us to consider how the transformative power of the arts can have the most impact on society at this moment. Three central themes underpin each week of the festival: community over chaos, hope in the face of adversity, and a perspective that’s not one’s own. These themes invite audiences to consider ideas of identity, community and resilience as they experience Edinburgh this summer.

After we have celebrated 75 years of our festival, we now enter into a new phase of redefining, together, where we go next.

Nicola Benedetti, Festival Director, Edinburgh International Festival

Diversity, discovery and internationalism are at the heart of the Edinburgh International Festival, this year welcoming artists from across 48 nations and 6 continents to our stages. The 2023 International Festival also hosts three major artistic residencies with internationally renowned orchestras. This is part of ongoing ambitions to increasingly engage with the city of Edinburgh and reduce the amount of travel required for the international artists. This year’s festival also offers an unprecedented emphasis on a deepened audience experience. The aim is to achieve this through performances for young people and families, participatory events, in-conversations, and intimate performances in informal performance spaces.

Where do we go from here? At a time of huge global change and challenge, we will hear powerful and diverse perspectives of artists from across the world.

Edinburgh International Festival has long been dedicated to advocating world-class performing art and innovating new ways to bring it to audiences. I am immensely proud of this year’s programme, and look forward to expanding on this legacy in 2023.

Nicola Benedetti, Festival Director, Edinburgh International Festival

The Scottish Government is proud to support the Edinburgh International Festival and it’s wonderful to see such an exciting and diverse line-up in this year’s programme. The International Festival is the jewel in our summer festival crown, attracting people from across Scotland as well as visitors from further afield to this world-class event in Edinburgh.

Culture Minister Christina McKelvie

The capital has a long history of promoting the value of culture and we look forward to this year’s programme of 295 events that will celebrate world-class music, opera, dance and theatre across our wonderful city. I’m delighted the council is yet again able to support this year’s festival, and I would encourage everyone to explore this year’s programme and grab their tickets – it’s not to be missed.

Councillor Val Walker, Culture and Communities Convener, City of Edinburgh Council

As we emerge into a new post-pandemic world, the Edinburgh International Festival is perfectly placed to address the big issues of our times, just as it was when founded 76 years ago. Nicola Benedetti’s vision uses our most vital universal language – the arts – to draw together world-class performances that challenge and inspire, affect, and entertain, placing Scotland at the forefront of the cultural calendar. Creative Scotland is proud to support such an exhilarating programme of home-grown and international artists.

Iain Munro, Chief Executive, Creative Scotland

Want to know more about the 2023 programme, themes, or highlights?

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