- A major international festival, held annually in the Scottish capitalfor three weeks, usually from mid-August to mid-September. It wasfounded in 1947 by the Austrian-born Rudolph Bing, general managerof the Glyndebourne Opera Festival.
The Edinburgh Festival has shown the premieres of such worksas T. S. Eliot's The Cocktail Party (1949), The ConfidentialClerk (1953), and The Elder Statesman (1958), and ThorntonWilder's The Matchmaker (1954). It offers productions bymajor British companies, including the Royal Shakespeare Company,the English Stage Company, and the National Theatre Company, as wellas foreign troupes, such as the Comédie-Française, theThéâtre National Populaire, and the Piccolo Teatro DellaCittà Di Milano.
In the 1950s the Edinburgh Fringe (see fringetheater) grew up beside the official festival, attractingprofessional and amateur groups from around the world. The Fringe is nowmany times larger than the official festival. Works made famous by the Fringe include the revue Beyond the Fringe (1960) and Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (1966). The 2009 Fringe featureda record 34,000 performances of over 2000 shows in 260 venues, making the 62nd Edinburgh Festival the world's largest ever arts festival.