Faust: the show of the 2009 Edinburgh International Festival
The internationally renowned Romanian director Silviu Purcarete’s adaptation of Faust took over the Royal Highland Centre’s Lowland Hall and was the ‘must see’ event of the 2009 Edinburgh International Festival (EIF).
With very exacting requirements needed to stage this prodigious production, the director knew that the ambiance created within the space was essential to the success of the performance.
The team at the EIF was responsible for staging this event, which included a spectacular break in the 90 minutes set, to allow the audience to leave their seats and pass through the scenery to a hidden performance space.
The interactive production, which hailed from the National Theatre of Sibiu in Romania, was based on Goethe’s treatment of the German legend in which Faust trades his soul for knowledge and experience. The show attracted a sellout audience to each of the five performances.
To prepare the venue for the cast arriving, the EIF team set about adapting the space, installing scaffolding and seating, building dressing rooms in the Strathmore Suite and installing showers among other things. The preparatory work took 10 days with the EIF team working closely with the Centre to complete the stage, the auditorium and front of house areas.
John Robb of Edinburgh International Festival said:
"Faust was the must see show of the 2009 Edinburgh International Festival in one of the most unlikely venues.
"We set about looking for a warehouse location for Faust and while there were plenty to choose from in Edinburgh, we chose the Royal Highland Centre because of the versatility of its facilities.
"Heating, car parking, vehicular access to the venue for the large plant and machinery as well as the scale of the venue to house the set and cater for the 120-strong cast, were all pre-requisites. The Royal Highland Centre catered for all our needs and was extremely flexible with our constantly changing requests.
"There were a couple of challenges along the way however these were quickly overcome with the help of the Royal Highland Centre staff.
"The success of Faust was in no small measure down to our strong working relationship with the Royal Highland Centre.”
This is the second time the Edinburgh International Festival has hosted an event at the Royal Highland Centre. They hope to return to the Centre very soon.