Alan Cumming to play Burns as part of Edinburgh International Festival

Last Updated on 26 January 2022 by Showcall Editorial Team

Alan Cumming and Steven Hoggett’s Burn and Liz Lochhead’s adaptation of Medea have been announced for the 2022 Edinburgh International Festival

Alan Cumming Burn
Alan Cumming, photo by Lawrence Winram; Adura Onashile, photo by Peter Dibdin

Alan Cumming is to star in a new solo show celebrating Scottish poet Robert Burns as part of this year’s Edinburgh International Festival (EIF).

Burn is being created by Cumming in collaboration with choreographer and movement director Steven Hoggett, aiming to challenge the traditional “biscuit tin” image of Scotland’s national bard and explore his personal struggles and spectacular successes.

Burn features the music of acclaimed contemporary musician and composer Anna Meredith, with set and video design by Ana Inés Jabares Pita and Lewis den Hertog. It is a co-production between EIF, the National Theatre of Scotland and The Joyce Theater in New York City.

The festival, which runs from 5 to 29 August 2022, will also feature a new staging of Liz Lochhead’s powerful adaptation of Euripides’ Medea, also presented by the National Theatre of Scotland.

The title role will be played by Adura Onashile, a Glasgow-based actor, writer and director who was last year named one of Screen International’s Stars of Tomorrow.

The production, which is a contemporary re-telling packed with lyrical intensity and poetic flair, will be directed by Michael Boyd, former artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Lochhead’s acclaimed Medea was first staged in Glasgow in 2000 by Theatre Babel before going on to tour nationally as well as visiting the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2000 and 2001.

Fergus Linehan, festival director of the EIF, said: “It is always a joy to see the National Theatre of Scotland’s work in the Edinburgh International Festival’s theatre programme, and I am especially pleased to welcome them back with these two tremendously exciting works in our 75th anniversary year.

“The calibre of the artists involved is exceptional, from former Makar Liz Lochhead to award-winning performers in Adura Onashile and Alan Cumming and two of our most celebrated theatre artists in Michael Boyd and Steven Hoggett.”

Cumming, who will be making his solo dance theatre debut in Burn, has been an EIF favourite with recent performances such as Alan Cumming Is Not Acting His Age in 2021 and Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs in 2016. He also appeared as the god Dionysus in the National Theatre of Scotland’s production of The Bacchae at the 2007 International Festival.

He said: “I think all any artist wants to do is tell a story. And If I have one regret in my artistic life it would be that I did not become a dancer and be able to tell a story completely, with my entire body.

“Robert Burns has always fascinated me. Through his work I feel he tells us the absolute truth of who we are as Scots, but the more I researched him the more I realised I didn’t know the absolute truth of him. Burn is my attempt at trying to tell more of his story using my whole body.”

Dates and ticket information for Burn and Medea will be announced in the spring along with full details of the 2022 EIF programme.

www.eif.co.uk

About Mark Ludmon 318 Articles
Mark Ludmon has been a journalist for over 20 years, specialising in theatre, hospitality and drinks after starting in regional daily newspapers. He has an MA in early modern literature and history, focusing on Elizabethan and Jacobean drama, and a theatre studies MA from Royal Central School of Speech & Drama. He is a former panellist for the Olivier Awards. He tweets at @MarkLudmon.