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"Official" festival opens its doors
Published on Saturday, 27 March 2010

The highbrow Edinburgh International Festival throws open its box office doors today, with tickets on general sale across its programme of theatre, opera, classical music and dance.  Not to be confused with the bigger, brasher Festival Fringe, the invitation-only "official" Festival is traditionally the first to unveil its programme - which this year brings together performances inspired by the voyage to the New World.

For his fourth year at the helm, director Jonathan Mills has charted a veritable voyage around the globe, taking in artists and themes from the USA, South America, the Pacific Islands, Australia and New Zealand.  There's room in the programme both for celebration and contemplation, with a number of works reflecting on the ambiguities of Europe's colonial past.

The journey takes us, too, into some less familiar waters, with theatre/cinema fusion just one of the innovations within the programme's packed pages.  And there is, of course, a world-class schedule of classical music - running daily at the Queen's and Usher Halls.

Getting the programme

The easiest way to get hold of this year's programme is from the International Festival's website, where you can either browse events online or download the whole thing to read at your leisure.  The website's also where you can sign up to the Festival's mailing list and receive a paper copy of the brochure through the post.

If you're in Edinburgh, you can also pick up the programme from The Hub box office on the Royal Mile, or (subject to availability) from all major theatres.

Getting the tickets

We've updated our definitive guide to International Festival ticketing with new details for 2010.  Broadly speaking, at this stage of proceedings it's easiest to book online, through the Festival's excellent Hub Tickets facility.  If you prefer the personal touch, the box office is open 6 days a week on 0131 473 2000.

At time of writing, we believe there's reasonable availability for all events (with the exception of the end-of-festival fireworks concert, where special arrangements apply).  In fact, many events will remain available until well into August, but a few - especially one-offs like the opening concert - will sell out within days.

To tell how fine you're cutting it, you can check current availability through the online booking system.  Act like you're going to buy a ticket, and you'll come to a screen with a diagram of the venue: then you can wave the mouse over particular areas to see the number of tickets remaining.

Future programme launches

While the International Festival is undoubtedly the most prestigious of Edinburgh's summer events, it's a long way from being the biggest.  In sheer size it's eclipsed by the famous Edinburgh Festival Fringe, which will see around 2,000 shows descend on the city in a mammoth four-week programme.

The Fringe's box office opens in June.  If you'd like us to let you know when its programme's launched - along with details of Edinburgh's other summer Festivals - just sign up for our low-volume mailing list, Ticket Alert.

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