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Independent: Arts In-Depth at the Edinburgh Festivals

Program Number: 21286RJ
Start and End Dates:
8/13/2014 - 8/21/2014; 8/10/2016 - 8/18/2016; 8/17/2016 - 8/25/2016;
Duration: 8 nights
Location: Scotland, UK:Scotland
Price starting at: $2,186.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Independent City Discoveries; Arts, Misc.
Meals: 10; 7 Breakfasts, 1 Lunch, 2 Dinners    
Meal Options: Low Fat; Vegetarian; Low Salt; Gluten Free    

From street jugglers to high opera, international comedians to classic and cutting-edge theater, there is nowhere on earth as vibrant and stimulating as the Edinburgh Festival. The medieval city (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and the Georgian New Town are star attractions in themselves with their twisting historic streets, graceful squares and award-winning modern architecture, but in August the circus truly comes to town with some 2,500 shows jostling for attention. Join independent theater producer and international director Giles Ramsay for unique insight into this one-of-a-kind event. With careful guidance, special guests and plenty of time to discover on your own, you’ll get the very best out of this summer’s festival.


• Join independent theater producer, director and award-winning playwright Giles Ramsay for unique insights into the Festival, and attend four performances with Giles at the Edinburgh International and Fringe Festivals.
• Hear "What's Hot and What's Not at the Festivals" by a leading Scottish arts critic and journalist.
• Enjoy a farewell special tasting of Scottish food and whisky after an expert-led exploration of the Whisky Heritage Centre.

Itinerary Summary

Arrival Edinburgh, 7 nights; departure.

Overnight flight from the U.S.
1 night
Arrival Edinburgh
7 nights

In one of Europe’s most dramatically beautiful cities, Giles Ramsay and special guests, share intimate insights into the making of the festival and Scotland’s cultural legacy. One of Scotland’s leading drama critics shares inside tips on getting the most out of the festival, and Giles briefs you on the most interesting of the Edinburgh International Festival and the Fringe performances. Enjoy four performances as Giles leads you through their casting and direction. We’ll end our week in an after-hours field trip to the Whisky Heritage Centre, where you will have a tutored tasting of aged single malts, followed by a “Taste of Scotland” dinner. You will leave the center with a special gift and the program with special memories.


The lochs and highlands of Scotland have long been a source of inspiration for folklore, poetry and song — influencing movements from the Romanticism of Robert Burns to the Kailyard school of J.M. Barrie. Through the years, Scotland has maintained a strong pride in the arts and boasts notable museums, theaters and events including the Edinburgh International Festival, an annual celebration of arts from around the world.

Modern conference accommodation on the University of Edinburgh’s prestigious campus. Bedrooms with private bathroom with shower, telephone, TV, internet access (at cost).

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Giles Ramsay

Giles Ramsay is an independent theatre director and producer who specializes in creating new work with artists in developing countries. He is the Founding Director of the charity Developing Artists, a Fellow of St. Chad’s College, Durham University and Course Leader in Theatre at The Victoria and Albert Museum in London. He has devised and instructed on Road's Scholar programs since the early 1990's and has run theatre projects in countries ranging from Kosovo to Zimbabwe.
Meals and Lodgings
   Chancellors Court Pollock Halls
  Edinburgh, UK:Scotland 7 nights
 Chancellors Court Pollock Halls
Type: Conference Center
  Description: Chancellors Court is conference accommodation and part of Pollock Halls on the Univeristy of Edinburgh campus and is scenically located at the foot of the royal Holyrood Park and Arthur's Seat, on a major and frequent bus route. Pollock Halls is just 1.5 miles from Edinburgh Waverley Rail Station and the historic Old Town, where participants can find the Royal Mile, the hub for many of Edinburgh’s festivals.
  Contact info: Edinburgh First
18 Holyrood Road Newington
Edinburgh,  EH16 5AY UK:Scotland
phone: +44 131 6512189
  Room amenities: Each room on the campus features a telephone, chargeable internet access, in-room tea/coffee and shared laundry and pantry facilities. Chnacellors Court rooms also offer a TV and a safety deposit box. All rooms are serviced daily and all linen and towels are provided. Arran Aromatics products in showers.
  Facility amenities: Restaurant, Bar, 24-hour front desk, Non-smoking rooms. Facilities for disabled guests, Lift/elevator, Safety deposit box, Heating, Luggage storage. Laundry, Souvenirs/gift shop, Fax/photocopying, ATM/cash machine on site. Wireless Internet Hotspot is available in public areas and costs GBP 3 per hour (2013 rates).
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior:  Extra nights availble in Edinburgh hotels through Road Scholar Travel Services.
  Check in time: 2:00 PM
  Additional nights after:  Extra nights availble in Edinburgh hotels through Road Scholar Travel Services.
  Check out time: 10:30 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Self service lunch at the John MacIntyre Conference Centre (JMCC) between 12 and 2;00pm. Welcome meeting and introduction at 4:30pm in the JMCC. You will be staying at Chancellors Court Pollock Halls that night.
  End of Program:
After breakfast on departure day. Check out is by 10:30am. You will be staying at Chancellors Court Pollock Halls the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. Participant Information Form on-line or in the preparatory materials.
  Parking availability:
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: See above.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Edinburgh
  Nearest city or town:  Edinburgh.
  Nearest airport:  Edinburgh.
  Transportation to site: The airport is about eight miles (12km) west of the city centre. Chancellors Court at Edinburgh First is 1.5 miles from the city centre. We advise taking the Airlink 100 This express bus service runs from the airport to Waverley Bridge (near Princes Street and the main rail and bus stations). It runs every 10 minutes and takes 25 minutes to Waverley Bridge. A single in 2013 was GBP3.50. From there we advise taking a taxi to Edinburgh First-a journey of less than 10 minutes costing around GBP7. If taking the bus to Pollock Halls/Edinburgh First: From the shop side of Princes Street; take a bus to the Royal Commonwealth Pool on Dalkeith Road, Pollock Halls is a short walk down Holyrood Park Road from the stop.
  From End of Program
  Location: Edinburgh
  Transportation from site: Reverse of arrival information.
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1:
(Wednesday, August 13)
 In Transit Overnight: Overnight flight from the US.

Day 2: Introduction to the Edinburgh Festivals by Giles Ramsay.
(Thursday, August 14)
 Morning: Arrival in Edinburgh. Independent transfers to Edinburgh First campus (please see transfer information for available options). Check in at the Reception building.
 Lunch: Self service lunch with a wide selection of hot and cold dishes, salads, desserts and beverages. John MacIntyre Conference Centre (JMCC) adjacent to Chancellors Court accommodation. Elevators available.
 Afternoon: Free time to settle in before a 5:00pm welcome meeting and Introduction to the Festivals by Giles Ramsay.
 Dinner: In the John MacIntyre Centre.
 Evening: After dinner join the Group Leader and relax in the Bar of the JMCC.
Accommodations: Chancellors Court Pollock Halls
Meals Included: Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Guest speaker. Theatre performance.
(Friday, August 15)
 Breakfast: Full Scottish breakfast, breakfast rolls, croissants, danish pastries, fruit, juices, smoothies, porridge and cereals, filter coffee, Breakfast, speciality & herbal teas.
 Morning: Giles interacts with a guest speaker, such as renowned Scottish arts journalist Joyce Macmillan, on "What's Hot and What's Not" to enhance further your knowledge of all the festivals in Edinburgh during this period. After the lecture you are invited to join your Group Leader in taking public transport (bus) to the city centre where they will lead an orientation of the major venues for the Festivals.
 Lunch: Excluded so that you can make the most of your time in Edinburgh. Your group leader and Giles will be on hand to make suggestions for meals, performances and public transport. Helpful advice and leaflets etc. are available at Reception.
 Afternoon: Free time. Many performances take place all time of the day and night and there is much street theatre to enjoy.
 Dinner: Excluded.
 Evening: 'Owen Wingrave' by Benjamin Britten &:30pm King’s Theatre Libretto by Myfanwy Piper after Henry James Aldeburgh Music Owen Wingrave Ross Ramgobin Spencer Coyle Jonathan Summers Lechmere Isaiah Bell Miss Wingrave Susan Bullock Mrs Coyle Samantha Crawford Mrs Julian Janis Kelly Kate Catherine Backhouse General Sir Philip Wingrave Richard Berkeley-Steele Ballad singer James Way Mark Wigglesworth Conductor Neil Bartlett Director Simon Daw Set designer Sue Willmington Costume designer Chris Davey Lighting designer Ian Scott Choreographer Britten-Pears Orchestra Sung in English with English supertitles How strongly would you value your principles, even if they brought you into conflict with your family and friends? Would you put yourself in danger to demonstrate what you believe? In 1968, as protests against the Vietnam War dominated the news, Britten responded to a BBC commission for a television opera by returning to a theme that had haunted him since the 1930s – pacifism. Using a libretto by Myfanwy Piper – his collaborator on The Turn of the Screw and Death in Venice – Owen Wingrave sets Henry James's story of one troubled young man's fight to escape from his family's militarism to music of angry intensity and desolate beauty. This new production by the acclaimed director and author Neil Bartlett offers a rare chance to reassess this controversial work. A glorious cast mixes leading professional singers – Susan Bullock, Janis Kelly, Richard Berkeley-Steele and Jonathan Summers – with emerging talent from the Britten- Pears Young Artist Programme including Ross Ramgobin and Isaiah Bell. Mark Wigglesworth conducts the Britten-Pears Orchestra in David Matthews's chamber version of the score. A co-production between the Aldeburgh Festival and the Edinburgh International Festival ‘a masterpiece’ The Guardian. After all evening performances a coach will transfer the group from the venue to Chancellors Court.
Accommodations: Chancellors Court Pollock Halls
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 4: Festival briefing.
(Saturday, August 16)
 Breakfast: Full Scottish breakfast in the self service restaurant of JMCC.
 Morning: After breakfast join your Group Leader or Giles for a briefing on the Festival events 10:00am-10:30am. Then free time. Own choice of events. A record-breaking number of shows and performances - 2453 at the Fringe alone, taking place at hundreds of venues spread throughout the city. Festivals include the famous Edinburgh International Festival-- The finest in classical music, theatre, opera and dance gather to present one of the most innovative and accessible Festivals of the performing arts. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe -- The largest arts Festival in the world transforms Edinburgh with live theatre and comedy performances in the streets and across over 250 venues around the city. Also see the Edinburgh Art Festival, the Edinburgh International Book Festival-- The largest Book Festival of its kind, with over 700 world-class writers and thinkers taking part in more than 800 events.
 Lunch: Excluded. Lunch and dinners may be purchased at the JMCC. Ask at Reception.
 Afternoon: Edinburgh International Festival - James II: Day of The Innocents Festival Theatre 4:00pm By Rona Munro World Premiere National Theatre of Scotland and National Theatre of Great Britain Laurie Sansom Director Jon Bausor Designer Featuring Andrew Rothney as James II and Mark Rowley as William Douglas In the second part of Rona Munro's thrilling trilogy, innocent games merge with murderous intent in a violent royal playground of shifting realities and paranoia. Crowned King of Scots when only eight years old, James II is the prize in a vicious game between the country's most powerful families. Seen through a child's eyes, the Scottish court is a world of monsters with sharp teeth and long knives. Growing up alone, abandoned by his mother and separated from his sisters, James II is little better than a puppet. There is only one relationship he can trust – his growing friendship with another lonely boy, William, the future Earl of Douglas. But the independence and power of young adulthood brings James into an even more threatening world. He has to fight the warring nobles who still want to control him, he has to make brutal choices about the people he loves best, he has to struggle to keep his tenuous grip on the security of the crown and on his sanity... while the nightmares and monsters of his childhood rise up again with new and murderous intent. Please note this performance contains strong language and nudity and may not be suitable for children. A co-production by the National Theatre of Scotland, the Edinburgh International Festival and the National Theatre of Great Britain
 Dinner: Excluded.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Chancellors Court Pollock Halls
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 5: Theatre performance.
(Sunday, August 17)
 Breakfast: In the JMCC.
 Morning: After breakfast join your Group Leader to discuss further the Festivals' main events and those more avant garde 10:00am-10:30am. Free time.
 Lunch: Excluded.
 Afternoon: At leisure.
 Dinner: Excluded.
 Evening: Unfaithful by Owne McCafferty Traverse Theatre 8:30pm The Traverse Theatre Company productions presents this Festival the World Premiere of Unfaithful, by Fringe First Award-winning playwright Owen McCafferty. Directed by guest director Rachel O'Riordan who is the newly appointed Artistic Director of Sherman Cymru, Unfaithful is a stark and searing glimpse into the reality of relationships following two couples, Joan and Tom, Tara and Peter as they struggle to comprehend their roles as lovers, partners and individuals - the unspoken desires, the piercing regrets, and the postponed conversations that mark us all. Can relationships withstand the brutality of betrayal? Joan and Tom, Tara and Peter; two couples struggling to comprehend their roles as lovers, partners and individuals. As Tom and Tara face the tedium of daily life, how far will they go to feel their hearts beat again? When their paths cross, the emotional fall-out will be explosive Performed as part of the Made in Scotland Showcase.
Accommodations: Chancellors Court Pollock Halls
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 6:
(Monday, August 18)
 Breakfast: In JMCC.
 Morning: Giles Ramsay gives a briefing on performances you've seen and will see.
 Lunch: Excluded.
 Afternoon: At leisure.
 Dinner: Excluded.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Chancellors Court Pollock Halls
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 7: Theatre performance.
(Tuesday, August 19)
 Breakfast: In JMCC.
 Morning: Free at the Festival.
 Lunch: Excluded.
 Afternoon: .Animal Farm Assembly Theatre, George Square 12:00pm. Theatre Tours International, Guy Masterson, Tumanishvili Film Actors Theatre (Georgia) This production is performed in the Georgian language with English surtitles. Orwell’s satirical masterpiece staged by Georgia’s premier theatre company. Olivier Award winner Guy Masterson directs a cast of thirty in an epic new production of stunning physicality. From the home state of Josef Stalin, the world famous Tumanishvili Film Actors Theatre poignantly recreates the barnyard satire that exposes his totalitarian abuses. ‘The richness and beauty of the Georgian theatre tradition shines through’ (Scotsman on Tumanishvili Film Actors Theatre). 1 hour 30 minutes
 Dinner: Excluded.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Chancellors Court Pollock Halls
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 8: Round up. A prestigious experience at the Whisky Heritage Centre including a special Scottish dinner and tasting.
(Wednesday, August 20)
 Breakfast: In JMCC.
 Morning: Round up with Giles Ramsay.
 Lunch: Excluded.
 Afternoon: At leisure. At 5:30pm a coach will take you to the Whisky Heritage Centre for a very special experience. At 5:45pm take a Platinum Tour before dinner at 7:15pm. You will enjoy a 90 minute guided tour, a tutored tasting of 2 selected single malt Whiskies, extended viewing of the World’s Largest Collection of Scotch Whisky and a tutored tasting of an exclusive 21 year old Scotch Whisky. In addition you will receive a Certificate of Participation and a boxed crystal Whisky tasting glass and a copy of Whisky Magazine.
 Dinner: In the Amber Restaurant at the Whisky Heritage Centre. The food tasting includes a 3 course menu with a selection of bite sized Scottish tapas to enjoy as a starter, a taster of Scottish main dishes followed by sticky toffee pudding matched with a dram of Scotch Whisky and a coffee.
 Evening: At around 9:00pm a coach will take you from the centre to Chancellors Court.
Accommodations: Chancellors Court Pollock Halls
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 9:
(Thursday, August 21)
 Breakfast: In JMCC.
 Morning: Independent transfers to Edinburgh Airport for departures to North America.
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

A History of the Theatre

Author: Glynne Wickham

Description: A fully illustrated survey of 3000 years of theatrical history, including opera, ballet and spectacle.

The Literary Companion to Edinburgh

Author: Andrew Lownie

Description: Traces Edinburgh's history from the Castle to the Royal Mile to the New Town and surrounding villages and charts the city's literary past and present.

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