Edinburgh International Festival – 70th Anniversary website

Every year, the Edinburgh International Festival gathers many of the world’s greatest performers, writers, directors, choreographers and composers to perform for international audiences in Scotland’s beautiful capital. 2017 is their 70th anniversary. 70years.eif.co.uk tells the story from the event’s conception in war-torn Europe, showcasing many highlights using content archived by the client over the decades. I’m proud to have been asked by the talented team at Lewis to help create the website for celebrating this significant milestone.

The dynamic website aligns their past, present and future as a series of fascinating and little-known stories, footage and unique perspectives, spanning the decades.

My role as copywriter involved sifting through voluminous research to create chapters that drew together the client’s themes. From this, I formed a series of textured narratives, working closely with Lewis and the client at EIF. As you can see from the screen grabs below, these featured film clips (old and new), photographs and audio content that brought each story to life.

We knew that most users would be engaged, educated audience members and stakeholders. So I combined creative copy headlines with longer copy that delved into the stories, delivering depth of detail. This was balanced with the need for the creative treatment – like the International Festival itself – to be inclusive and not too esoteric. Hence the many stories about people, communities and Festival Spirit.

Some of the stories include the following:

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  • How the inaugural International Festival was conceived and developed. There was a tremendous impetus to “reconcile people after the war, to let great art refresh souls and transcend all political and cultural boundaries”. These ideals hold true today in an uncertain world.

 

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  • How the explosive tradition of fireworks at the International Festival began in 1950, when Sir Thomas Beecham emerged from the castle to conduct the massed bands and battery of canons. He was wearing an historic steel helmet, borrowed from the castle barracks.

 

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  • How one satirical revue became a seminal show at the 1960 International Festival and transformed British comedy. Beyond the Fringe starred Jonathan Miller, Dudley Moore, Alan Bennett and Peter Cook and was performed in the late night slot at the Lyceum Theatre.

 

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  • How the constellation of stars over the decades, from Margot Fonteyn to Alan Cummings, have made EIF what it is today. The timeline over seven decades contains original footage of the world’s greatest artists and performers.

 

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  • How, in true Festival Spirit, some tactful diplomacy and Georgian Brandy smoothed the path for the artistic ‘Russian invasion’ at the 1962 Edinburgh International Festival.

 

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  • How the generosity of a few continues to enable great art for the many.

Explore all the stories while 70years.eif.co.uk remains live.

Liz did an excellent job working as part of our team creating Edinburgh International Festival’s 70th Anniversary website. Her story telling skills were hugely advantageous to the project and really supported the concept we had developed. Everyone was delighted with the end result and we’d have no hesitation in using Liz again.” Kirsty Wright, Account Director, Lewis

Many thanks to the team at Lewis and the Edinburgh International Festival for asking me to write the copy – and for permission to feature these stills.

By Liz Holt