It's astonishing to think that this is our 9th Edinburgh People's festival. Over the years we have presented some absolutely wonderful and ground breaking shows. Our first evening in the Jack Kane Centre in Craigmillar back in 2002 still fills me with huge pride as it clearly proved to be the engine for future progress and development. Our scintillating concert inside Saughton prison which featured comedian Mark Thomas and Paddy Hill of the Birmingham Six also springs quickly to mind as does Nancy Cartwrights afternoon entertaining the kids in the Royal Infirmary with our 'Bart Comes to the Simpsons' show stopper. Then there is our Hamish Henderson Memorial lectures, our award winning exhibition telling the story of the original People's Festivals back in the 1950's, our fine arts competition and not forgetting our superb sell-out comedy nights at the BMC Club in Gorgie.
We continue to challenge the official festivals to come out into the real world, into Edinburgh's indigenous communities instead of clinging desperately to 4 mega venues in the city centre and to present shows everyone can afford.
This years People's Festival programme again breaks new ground. We open on Saturday 7th with a remarkable film premiere. It's a drama set in Edinburgh's schemes and featuring local actors. ‘MORTICIA’ is the story of a little girl whose only ambition is to be a vampire. Written, produced and directed by the highly acclaimed and multi talented local film maker Nabil Shaban this film will be shown inside the graveyard of St Cuthbert’s Church off Lothian Road. The film starts at 9pm. Tickets are £4.00.
On Sunday [8th] we again present local historian Allan Armstrong leads a sedate walking tour around Edinburgh’s remarkable, radical past. This is the side of Scotland's Capital that no other tour reveals. It's revolutionary underbelly, the Edinburgh of Thomas Muir, of James Connolly and the political Robert Burns plus many other less well known but equally important radicals. Tour starts at 2pm from outside ‘The Last Drop’ pub in the Grassmarket. Returns 2 hours later.FREE
And on Monday [9th] we continue our walking tour theme this time 'Investigating Rebus’s Edinburgh'. Colin Brown’s award winning tour of those places made famous by Ian Rankin’s fictional detective John Rebus begins outside The Royal Oak public house at 6.30pm and ends- unless unforeseen and villainous events ensue - 2 hours later at the same location.FREE
Tuesday 10th sees us open 'The bad and the beautiful' a photographic exhibition introducing the arresting images of Edinburgh’s rising photographic talent Paul Jordan from Oxgangs. This is the official opening of Paul's most recent exhibition. The show runs from 1st August to 5th September and our official opening is at ‘The Wash’, at the top of the Mound 7pm.FREE
In 2008 we initiated the Hamish Henderson Memorial Lecture and this year we are delighted to announce that the third annual lecture will be delivered by the former West of Scotland MSP and independence fighter Campbell Martin. He will contend that the themes Hamish Henderson believed in most of all, internationalism, independence and anti-imperialism continue to be central causes in today's world. Event takes place in 'Word Power' Book shop in West Richmond Street at 7pm. FREE
And to show that Hamish's internationalism and anti-imperialism is not something we simply pay lip service to we present on Thursday night [12th] our 'Aid for Afghanistan' concert. Musical entertainment is provided first by the fabulous David 'Brucey' Bruce and then The Irresistible Urges. The evening is part of the campaign to bring home British troops from Afghanistan and all proceeds go to the Malalai Joya Foundation which is a democratic, secular and progressive organisation in Afghanistan opposed to both imperialism and religious fundamentalism. Concert takes place in the Valley Park Community Centre, Burdiehouse and begins at 7pm. FREE [Donations on the door]
Friday 13th sees us back in Gorgie at the comedy night to beat them all. Friday the 13th! Unlucky for some perhaps but not for those with tickets to this fantastic night at the BMC Club in Gorgie! This will be our 6th consecutive year at the BMC and this evening was booked for us last August and promises to be better than ever. Featuring 4 of the best comics in Edinburgh courtesy of The Stand Comedy Club our advice is to get there early as it was a sell out in 2009. BMC Club, Westfield Street. Show starts 7.30pm Tickets £4.00.
And our grand finale this year is certainly grand, a stage show on Saturday 14th with Spartaki Theatre Company. Four wonderful pieces of drama from Dalkeith playwright Cecilia Granger. Produced by Karen Douglas and set in the wonderfully atmospheric location of Inch House. This dramatic programme in full costume represents a first for the People's Festival, a full scale theatrical production.
Inch House, Inch Park, off Gilmerton Road. Doors open at 7pm show starts at 7.30pm.Tickets £4.00
For further details of all the shows and to buy tickets visit our website at www.edinburghpeoplesfestival.org