Edinburgh Festival extends its chief

Fergus Linehan, who has single-handedly raised Edinburgh from a decade-long slough of despond, has been offered a contract renewal, taking him to 2022. He started in 2015.

 

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  • Nonsense. It was doing well before he took over and continues to attract performers and tourists from all over the world. look at their latest stats. on site if you don’t believe me.

  • Yes, but agreeing a new contract after only two years. Like the world of sport it seems contracts are hardly worth the paper they are written on. As far as I am concerned Linehan still has a lot to prove.

  • Surely Linehan decided to go downmarket and concentrate on stars and fewer untried adventures. He ran the Dublin theatre festival, his field, and then with his stint at the Sydney Festival almost anything he imported was going to be gratefully received. It is still wait and see in Edinburgh but the financial figures were good and commerce is what counts in the UK as far as the Live performing arts go. The EIF remains a mixed bag designed primarily for Anglo-Saxon culture tourists who don’t live in London – where most of what turns up in Edinburgh also gets seen at the Proms or somewhere. But McMaster and Mills are actually hard acts to follow up. They were both distinctive and original in how they did the job at the EIF. And money is much more of a problem than it was under some former EIF bosses (though it has always been a difficulty).

  • Well, that’s Linehan lined up for the inevitable knighthood! It always amazes me that heads of major national arts organisations no matter how good (McMaster) or bad (Isaacs) get their gongs irrespective of their actual performance in the job. Who makes these decisions? Why are some left out? His distinguished stewardship for 15 years of the young and hugely successful Scottish Opera surely qualified Peter Hemmings for a knighthood even before he departed for his stints with Australian Opera, the LSO and then the immense task of founding and running Los Angeles Opera. He was merely awarded an OBE as his career was coming to an end! Why also ignore the directors of smaller but equally important arts companies? The Awards system is a self-perpetuating anachronism.

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