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Edinburgh Festival names Irishman Fergus Linehan new director

Edinburgh International Festival director Jonathan Mills poses for a photograph during a news conference launching this year's festival prog
Edinburgh International Festival director Jonathan Mills poses for a photograph during a news conference launching this year's festival prog

By Ian MacKenzie

EDINBURGH (Reuters) - Irishman Fergus Linehan will take over as director of the Edinburgh International festival (EIF) in October 2014 from Australian Jonathan Mills, the EIF said on Monday.

Linehan comes to Edinburgh after festival involvements in Dublin and Australia. He was chief executive and director of the Sydney Festival from 2004 to 2009, and served as head of music at the Sydney Opera House from 2010-2012.

Linehan will start work on a part-time basis in Edinburgh from May 1 this year "to allow time to plan his first festival in 2015" before taking full control from October next year, the EIF Council said in a statement.

The Edinburgh festival was founded in 1947 as an antidote to the austere times after World War Two.

The EIF, the massive Fringe Festival, Book Festival and Edinburgh Royal Military Tattoo combine each August into the world's biggest annual extravaganza of the arts during which the Scottish capital doubles in size.

A 1989 graduate of University College Dublin, Linehan began his career in the theatre in Dublin, producing many shows and going on to direct the city's major arts event, The Dublin Theatre Festival.

"During that time he commissioned works by artists including Seamus Heaney, Brian Friel and Roddy Doyle, as well as a new generation of Irish writers and choreographers," the EIF said.

"I am delighted and deeply honored to have been appointed as next director of the Edinburgh International Festival," Linehan said in the statement.

"Successful festivals respond to both place and provenance to create a unique identity, and this is particularly true of Edinburgh, the preeminent festival city."

Mills was appointed to head the EIF in 2006 and has broadened the festival's horizons with a wide range of productions from around the world during his tenure.

(Editing by Paul Casciato)

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