The search is on for new Edinburgh International Festival director

T​he most prestigious arts job in the world is up for grabs with the confirmation that Edinburgh International Festival (EIF) supremo Fergus Linehan will complete his tenure as Director of the annual event in September 2022.

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Beginning the search for his successor, who will launch their programming and curatorial vision at the 2023 Festival​, the EIF ​​will say farewell to Linehan after an eight-year period, during which time ​it has has been acclaimed for ​reaffirm​ing​ the Festival’s position as the world’s leading performing arts festival.

Keith Skeoch, Chair of Edinburgh International Festival Board, said, "As Fergus Linehan completes his exceptional eight-year tenure as Festival Director in September 2022, we now commence our worldwide search for his successor.

Festival chief Fergus LinehanFestival chief Fergus Linehan
Festival chief Fergus Linehan
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​"​The successful applicant will join at a historic moment as the broader arts sector rebuilds after COVID-19. In a recruitment process led by Heather Newill at AEM International, we seek applicants with experience working across genres and around the world, with the skill and ambition to grow the Festival’s global reach and influence.​"​

Linehan became Festival Director of the EIF in 2014, presenting his first Festival programme a year later. Previously he had produced shows at and directed the Dublin Theatre Festival, comissioning plays by the likes of Seamus Heaney, Brian Friel and Roddy Doyle. He was also Chief Executive and Artistic Director of the Sydney Festival and Head of Music at Sydney Opera House.

The new Festival Director will ​be expected to ​take the International Festival to its next stage, bringing the finest music, dance, opera and theatre performers to Edinburgh’s renowned performance venues alongside a digital programme that gives global audiences access to the Festival from their own homes. The International Festival is seeking an outstanding artistic leader with the creativity, vision and dynamism to shape the future of the Festival.


Skeoch advises hopefuls in the candidate information pack, '​We believe that Festival Directors can come from many backgrounds and we welcome and embrace applications from everyone with the experience, skills and qualities detailed in this pack. This is an extraordinary opportunity for an outstanding creative leader with the creativity, vision, and dynamism to join Edinburgh International Festival and shape the future of the Festival, working with an experienced team of professionals and an ambitious and focused Board. ​"​​

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Created in 1947 to celebrate the enduring human spirit, the International Festival serves as an annual cultural exchange, every August, for an international gathering of artists and an audience of over 400,000. 

This year the Festival is pioneering the return to live performance in Scotland from August 7 to 29, with more than 170 performances across three bespoke outdoor venues, as well as the Festival Theatre, Traverse Theatre, The Royal Lyceum Theatre and Dance Base.​In the last pre-Covid event in 2019, the EIF ​attracted 2,800 artists from 41 countries​ to the Capital, with ​293 performances​, ​155 events​ and an attendance of ​434,507​.​

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The worldwide search for the ​new Festival Director​ is being led by AEM International and further information on the role, including a full information pack, can be found at ​Closing date for applications​ is​ Friday, October​ 1​, at 5pm.

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