News > Producers Breakfast > From ’95 to now – Visiting Arts in Edinburgh

From ’95 to now – Visiting Arts in Edinburgh

Visiting Arts has a long and vibrant history at the Edinburgh Festivals with valued and longstanding partners including Creative Scoltand, the Edinburgh International Festival, and the British Council. We reflect back on great memories from our first concerted presence in ’95 to the moving 2016 event with voices from the Culture Works Connections programme.



•       First concerted presence in Edinburgh with Terry Sandell and Camilla Canellas

•       Reception at British Council Edinburgh

•       First VA listings document produced

•       Joint one-day conference with the Fringe office called ‘What is Fringe’


•       Listings produced as printed book in-line with VA’s printed magazine

•       Main reception at Bruntsfield Crescent

•      Other events highlighted: Latin American art exhibition and seminar

•       Russian and Ukraininan artists at the festival

•       Preview of Scotland-Africa festival planned for 1997

•       Celebration of the Polish presence during fifty years of the Edinburgh festival

•       Launch of the Asia Pacific Arts Directory

•       Views from Uzbekistan exhibition at the Queen’s Hall


•       Main reception at Bruntsfield Crescent

•       Kyrgyzstan in Focus exhibition

•       VA and the British East-West Centre welcome performers and guests from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus

•       Highlights of Hungarian events at the festival

•       Georgian exhibition at Edinburgh College of Art and the Tblisi

•       Seminar for Central and East European performing arts festival managers and producers

•       Reception to mark the Lorca exhibition


•       Main reception at Bruntsfield Crescent

•       Reception co-hosted with Scarlet theatre focusing on Poland

•       Baby Angel, screening and reception

•       Romania Reception

•       Zimbabwe reception

•       Main reception at Bruntsfield Crescent

•       Launch of the Regional Arts profiles

•       Concerts at the Royal Museum from Grafitti’s East Winds programme

•       Norwegian events as part of Visions of Norway

•       Main reception at Bruntsfield Crescent

•       First VA Iran event at the Fruitmarket

•       Main reception at Bruntsfield Crescent

•       Focus on Indian work at City Chambers and welcome to the actress from Kandahar funded to come to Edinburgh


•       Main reception at the Fruitmarket

•       New online listings produced

•       3 Producers’ Breakfasts

•       Cultural Attache Network Trip

•       Main reception at the Fruitmarket

•       2 Producers’ Breakfasts

•       Main reception at the Fruitmarket in conjunction with Entente Cordiale

•       2 Producers’/ Curators’ Breakfasts


•      Producers’ Breakfast with short presentations by guest speakers Vicky Featherstone – Artistic Director, National Theatre of Scotland; Festival; Alex Poots – Festival Director of Manchester International Arts; Norah Campbell – Head of International Arts, British Council Scotland/Scottish Arts Council

•       Introduction to online cultural exchange resource: Visiting Arts Scotland Cultural Profile

•       Supporting productions at the Edinburgh International Festival and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.


•      Keynote speech from Robyn Archer – Artistic Director of Liverpool 2008 European Capital of Culture

•      Stella Hall outlining the vision for Newcastle Gateshead Culture 10


•      Producers’ Breakfast with presentations by Keith Khan, Head of Culture London 2012 and Jonathan Mills, Artistic Director and Chief Executive of the Edinburgh International Festival.

•      Relaunch of Scotland Cultural Profile


•       Launch of the Contemporary Myths programme – a three year collaboration between Iranian theatre artists and British theatre directors

•       Iranian Theatre Seminar at Dancebase bringing together theatre artists from Iran, the Iranian-British diaspora and the UK chaired by Joyce MacMillan

•       Festival Insight on Palestinian International Theatre at The Hub. The panel consisted of Amir Nizar Zuabi, of the Palestine National Theatre,; the poet Fiona Sampson Mahmoud Darwish; and Reverend Donald Reid, the Director of the Festival of Spirituality and Peace

•       Producers’ Breakfast with Iranian Theatre director Attila Pessyani

•       Cultural Attaché Visit

•       Visiting Arts and British Council launch professional networking site


•       Producers’ Breakfast at Festival Theatre featuring speeches from John McGrath, Artistic Director of the National Theatre of Wales and Ruth Mackenzie, Expert Adviser for the DCMS and dramaturge for the Vienna Festwochen

•       Reception at Dance Base in honour of the participants of Contemporary Myths – a collaborative workshop between Iranian and UK theatre practitioners. Welcoming Iranian guest artists including Kumars Moradi.

•       Focus on the worldwide 1mile2 project, which launched in Edinburgh in partnership with Collective Gallery


•       Producers’ Breakfast on the theme of arts and the environment with a speech from Jonathan Mills, Director of Edinburgh International Festival and featuring Lemi Ponifasio, Founder and leader of the MAU; Fabio Santos, Director of Project Phakama UK; Kyu Choi, Producer, AsiaNow Productions

•       Panel discussion chaired by  Robert Palmer, Chair of the Visiting Arts Board and Director of Culture and Cultural and National Heritage at the Council of Europe; and Ismail Mahomed, Director of the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, South Africa

•       In partnership with the Korean Arts Management Service, Visiting Arts hosted five Korean producers in Edinburgh for a week of context setting, research, networking and meetings. The producers were: Jinah CHANG Producer, LIG Art Hall / LIG Arts Foundation; Dong-hee CHO General Manger of Festival Planning Production Team, Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture; Seok Kyu CHOI Producer, AsiaNow Productions; Kyung-ah (Cara) HAN CEO, Show & Arts Inc; Jung-ja PAE Producer, Physical Theatre Festival Office

•       Reception in honour of our Korean guests attending the Edinburgh Festivals at Dance Base


•       Producers’ Breakfast with an in-conversation with Stephen Earnhart, Director and Co-writer of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (showing in the Edinburgh International Festival) and former Director of Production for Miramax Films

•       Visiting Arts hosts a series of seminars on European Funding as the UK Cultural Contact Point for the EU


•       Producers’ Breakfast with an in-conversation with international producers on the impact of the Olympics and other global events on programming, cultural projects and festivals

•       Free Cultural Contact Point EU Funding  seminars


•       Producers’ Breakfast with a focus on the impact of new technologies on arts practiced. Introduction by Roy Luxford from the EIF followed by 5-10 minute presentations from Pete Higgin from Punchdrunk, Cathie Boyd from Theatre Cryptic, and Rohan Gunatillake, a digital specialist coordinating hack days and other programmes with Creative Scotland

•       Launch of the World Cultures Connect platform


•       Producers’ Breakfast with a focus on the arts and sustainability.  Presentations from Fergus Linehan (incoming Director, Edinburgh International Festival) and Ben Twist (Director, Creative Carbon Scotland) also spoke of the resurgence of environmentally focused projects post­-recession. This was then followed by a wider discussion with Pippa Bailey (Producer, Performing Lines) and Breakfast participants


•       Producers’ Breakfast took the theme ‘Art & Politics – what responsibility do artists and producers have to engage with political issues through their work and what motivates them to do so?’. The breakfast event included a panel discussion between acclaimed playwright David Greig, visual artist Rabab Ghazoul and producer & Managing Director of Teamworks Sanjoy Roy. The discussion was moderated by author, presenter and political commentator of The Herald/ Sunday Herald, Iain Macwhirter. Fergus Linehan, Director of the Edinburgh International Festival welcomed the producers and outlined his plans for the Festival for 2015


•       Focus on Culture Works Connections programme with artists and cultural managers from Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific Islands participating in workshops and seminars throughout the week

•       Reception at Dance Base with speeches by CEO of Visiting Arts, Yvette Vaughan Jones, Roy Luxford of the EIF and Astrid Audibert of the EU ACP+Cultures programme

•       VA and Andersen Strathern collaborate on the first Arts & Law Conference featuring independent theatre producer Jo Crowley, Douglas McLachlan from Anderson Strathern, Anne Mannion of Swan Turton and artist Mihret Kebede

•       Trinidad & Tobago based writer Rochelle Amour, Ebonie Fifita of ON THE SPOT Arts Initiative from Tonga, Ethiopian storyteller Tesfaye Weldemedhin, and Malawi based McArthur Matukusha of Solomonic Peacocks Theatre, joined Edinburgh International Festival Director Fergus Linehan and Holland Festival Artistic Director Ruth Mackenzie for a panel discussion around the role of festivals in platforming new and marginalised voices at Visiting Arts International Producers Breakfast


•      Visiting Arts celebrates it’s 40th anniversary

•      Producers’ Breakfast with a focus on innovative and enterprising trends and modesl in the festival scene. Michelle Walker (Greenwich + Docklands International Festival), Alyssa Rostant (NEW FIRE Festival), independent producer Rama Thaharani, and Chad Herzog (International Festival of Arts & Ideas) joined the discussion.

•      Second Arts & Law Conference on ‘Taking Risks and Playing it Safe’ featuring Fiona Killen and Barry Nichol from Anderson Strathern, Lyndsey Jackson from the Fringe Society, and Cathie Boyd & Claire Moran of Cryptic

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