Stephen Fry, Ian McKellen, Jarvis Cocker and Teenage Fanclub to appear at Edinburgh International Festival
Sir Ian, who will be recalling highlights from his illustrious career, including playing Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, will be returning to the Assembly Hall, the same venue he appeared at as Edward II in 1969, when the police were famously called to the home of the Kirk’s General Assembly amid protests over a then hugely controversial on-stage gay kiss.
Fry, who shot to fame at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1981 when he appeared alongside Emma Thompson and Hugh Laurie in Cambridge Footlights’ Perrier Award-winning revue, will be staging three separate shows adapted from his own book on Greek mythology - which will each be staged twice during the festival.
McArdle, who has been starring in Broadway in Angels in America and also appeared in the recent Mary Queen of Scots movie, will return to the EIF five years after starring in The James Plays to take on the lead role in Peter Gynt. Oscar-winning writer David Hare is behind a new adaptation of the classic Ibsen play Peer Gynt, which sees the 19th century Norwegian story relocated to 21st century Scotland.
The festival, which runs from 2-26 August, will be back for the second year in a row to Leith Theatre, the recently revived venue which had been lying empty for nearly 30 years. Pulp frontman Cocker, Swedish singer-songwriter Cherry and Scottish indie stalwarts Teenage Fanclub will be joined in its 2019 line-up by Mercury Prize nominee and spoken word sensation Kate Tempest, American singer Sharon Van Etten, British folk-rock outfit This is the Kit and Danish band Efterklang.
All of Scotland’s national performing companies are in the festival line-up for the first time during Mr Linehan’s tenure.
Scottish Opera will be staging the European premiere of an adaptation by American composer Missy Mazzoli of the acclaimed Lars Von Trier film Breaking The Waves, which is set amid a strict religious community in a remote corner of the Highlands.
The Scottish Chamber Orchestra will stage two concert performances of Leonard Bernstein’s classic musical West Side Story featuring a hand-picked cast drawn from both Scotland and America.
The National Theatre of Scotland will be launching the world premiere of a stage show based on Scots Makar Jackie Kay’s acclaimed memoir on growing up in Scotland as a mixed-race child and her attempts to track down her biological parents.
Scottish Ballet will mark its 50th anniversary with the world premiere of a brand new dance version of American writer Arthur Miller’s classic play drawing parallels between the 17th century witchcraft trials in Salem, Massachusetts, and the anti-Communist investigations led by US Senator Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s.
Five concerts will be staged to celebrate the 60th birthday of Ayrshire-born composer Sir James MacMillan, including the world premiere of a brand new choral symphony.
Among the more unusual festival productions will be In Plain Sight, which will see dancers performing routines on floating rafts on a series of lakes at Jupiter Artland, a sculpture park near Edinburgh Airport.
The festival is joining forces with the Fruitmarket Gallery to stage Night Walk - a “one on one video walk” experience which will see audiences guided around the city’s Old Town for two hours every night for a month.
Festival director Fergus Linehan said: "With artists and audiences from all over the world gathering to celebrate each other’s music, theatre, dance and art, we hope that the 2019 Edinburgh International Festival will offer a refreshing dose of generosity, inclusiveness and optimism."
Culture secretary Fiona Hyslop added: "One of Scotland’s strengths is our concentration of magnificent cultural festivals, none more so than the Edinburgh International Festival, which brings the finest performers and ensembles from Scotland and across the world to our capital city.
“This year the city will boast an unparalleled celebration of the performing arts with an unbeatable programme featuring dance, opera, music and theatre."