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BBC TV programme My Light Shines on and livestream will celebrate Edinburgh Festival on Saturday

By Margaret Chrystall

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FOR anyone missing a trip to the Edinburgh International Festival this year, the good news is a special TV programme will mark what would have been the opening of this year’s event on Saturday, August 8.

Edinburgh 2020: My Light Shines On, will be presented by Kirsty Wark and classical musician Su-a Lee on the BBC Scotland channel at 9.30pm and will also be streamed on Edinburgh International Festival’s website, eif.co.uk

Kirsty Wark and Su-a Lee will present the EIFF special show.
Kirsty Wark and Su-a Lee will present the EIFF special show.

In the programme, Kirsty Wark and Su-a Lee present new work from Scottish theatre, dance and opera companies whilst world-class writers, comics and musicians look back on some of their legendary appearances.

Kirsty said: “I can still feel the thrill of the festivals in the city, as they wait impatiently for next year.”

Su-a said: “I am thrilled that the Edinburgh International Festival has put so much into preparing this wonderful film, which I believe really encapsulates the spirit of all the Festivals that would normally have been rubbing shoulders together during August this year. So despite us all missing out on being able to attend live performances from a wide range of fabulous artists and performers, this film now allows us to get up close and personal on screen!

“An added personal bonus is that I’ve had a unique opportunity to be both presenter and performer this year!”

The programme features specially commissioned works from Edinburgh International Festival, with performances from all of Scotland’s national companies:

Scottish Ballet performs a new work by choreographer Nicholas Shoesmith.

The National Theatre of Scotland performs Ghost Light, a love letter to theatre past and present.

Two Scottish orchestras take to the stage for the first time in four months; The Royal Scottish National Orchestra performs an extract from Mahler’s Seventh Symphony and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra play part of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto Number Two​, in a performance featuring Paul Lewis and celebrating the 250th anniversary of his ​Beethoven's birth.

​Two choral highlights include a Scottish Opera extract from The Telephone, a short comic opera by Gian Carlo Menotti, as well as the Edinburgh Festival Chorus which sings the rousing O Fortuna from Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, all filmed in their own homes.

Edinburgh 2020: My Light Shines On also reflects the Festival City's four other August Festivals.

Filmed in Charlotte Square Gardens, the home of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, writers and poets read excerpts celebrating the city of Edinburgh, they include Val McDermid, Jenni Fagan, Jenny Lindsay and Michael Pedersen.

Toasting the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, comics Flo and Joan perform a song about the trials and tribulations of 2020 (so far!) with contributions from Jay Lafferty, Jo Caulfield and Daniel Sloss.

Musicians from the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo kick off the film on the Castle Esplanade with a fanfare for pipe and drum and images of Flags for Edinburgh and the Black Lives Matter Mural Trail demonstrate that the Edinburgh Art Festival maintains a strong presence across the city.

Leith Theatre has become the home for contemporary music ​recently at Edinburgh International Festival and this is reflected with two special performances recorded there from Honeyblood and Aidan O’Rourke with an ensemble of musicians toasting the grit and charisma of Edinburgh’s grassroots music-making.

Filmed remotely in their own homes, Fiona Shaw, Alan Cumming, Akram Khan and Anna Meredith reflect on some of their legendary festival performances and the importance of the Festivals both to themselves and the nation.

The finale of the film will feature spectacular light installations across the city, specially commissioned by Edinburgh International Festival to mark, what would have been, the Festivals’ opening weekend.

Edinburgh 2020: My Light Shines On is an IWC Media, a Banijay company, production for Edinburgh International Festival and BBC Scotland.

Full versions of all the specially commissioned performances will be available on the Edinburgh International Festival’s website, eif.co.uk.

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