Edinburgh International Festival, V&A Dundee, Celtic Connections and National Theatre bid to become part of post-Brexit 'celebration'

The Edinburgh International Festival, V&A Dundee and the National Theatre of Scotland and Glasgow’s Celtic Connections festival are all bidding to be part of a £120 million post-Brexit celebration of “creativity and innovation” being staged across the UK.

The Festival UK 2022 initiative will coincide with the 75th anniversary of the Edinburgh International Festival.  Picture: Mihaela Bodlovic
The Festival UK 2022 initiative will coincide with the 75th anniversary of the Edinburgh International Festival. Picture: Mihaela Bodlovic

The Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier University and the Dance Base centre in the capital, and the Creative Dundee collective, are also involved in separate projects awarded £100,000 after being longlisted for the Festival UK 2022 programme.

Instigated then Prime Minister Theresa May in 2018, the year-long festival will see 10 creative teams awarded up to £10 million each to deliver proposals involving theatre-makers, artists, musicians, scientists, designers, technology pioneers, games developers and dance choreographers.

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It is hoped that the 10 successful programmes will “bring people together and showcase the UK’s creativity and innovation globally.”

Jackie Wylie, artistic director of the National Theatre of Scotland, describes Festival UK 2022 as 'an exciting opportunity.' Picture Eoin Carey

The Scottish Government is officially supporting the festival, which made no mention of Brexit in its announcement on the creative teams.

Although details of their proposed programmes for Festival UK 2022 are being kept firmly under wraps until the final projects are chosen early next year, the 30 teams include Tate Britain, the European Space Agency, the British Antarctic Survey and the John Muir Trust.

A full line-up for the festival, which Mrs May pledged would have echoes of the 1951 Festival of Britain and would showcase “what makes out country great today,” will be unveiled in late 2021.

The National Theatre of Scotland is leading a proposal which will see special events staged as part of the EIF's 75th anniversary in 2022. Other partners include V&A Dundee, Glasgow-based music producer and former Scottish Album of the Year winner Brian d'Souza, Etienne Kubwabo, a filmmaker and DJ who has created Glasgow's first black superhero, and Dundee games developer Chris van der Kuyl.

V&A director Leonie Bell said the prospect of the attraction being part of Festival UK 2022 was 'exciting and extraordinary.' Picture: Kenny Lam/VisitScotland

Celtic Connections is working with Aproxima Arts, a organisation set by Beltane Fire Festival founder Angus Farquhar, creator of outdoor spectaculars like The Storr and Speed of Light, UZ Arts founder Neil Butler, Hebridean crofter and musician Pàdruig Morrison, and traditional arts group Fèis Rois.

The Eden Project, which announced plans to open a new attraction in Dundee earlier this year, is collaborating with publisher DC Thomson, which is based in the city, and the Institute of Global Health Innovation.

Edinburgh Napier University is part of a bid involving Jamie Oliver’s company and the Institute for Global Food Security, while Dance Base is working with the Royal Astronomical Society.

Jackie Wylie, artistic director at the National Theatre of Scotland, said: “This is an exciting opportunity and we’re thrilled to be working as part of such an extraordinary team of individuals and organisations.”

Celtic Connections is leading one of the bids to be part of the Festival UK 2022 line-up. Picture: Gaelle Beri

V&A Dundee director Leonie Bell said: “The opportunity for Scotland’s national design museum to collaborate on a project of this scale and ambition as part of a team made up of some of Scotland’s most creative organisations, innovative businesses and brightest creative stars working in Scotland in the disciplines of science, technology, engineering, arts and maths is an exciting and extraordinary prospect.”

Mr Farquhar said: “The festival provides a generational research opportunity for a Scotland-wide focus on food poverty, youth unemployment, collective arts creativity, local activism, rural and urban exchange and active transport. In addition to shared concern for these issues our team are committed internationalists.”

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