Syn Festival Edinburgh shaping up for success

Programme of events will showcase best in creative talent from across Edinburgh and beyond

Date posted

7 March 2017


Last updated

19 March 2020

A multi-cultural arts festival with roots in Edinburgh Napier University is hoping for its biggest year to date.

Now in its fourth year, Syn Festival Edinburgh will take place at a range of venues across the city from 9-19 March.

With events scheduled for the city’s Out of the Blue Drill Hall, Adam House and Teviot Row House, the festival is set to showcase a variety of innovative and exciting performing arts including photography exhibitions, film showings, theatre, dance and live music.

The event is organised by a voluntary committee made up of nearly all Greek nationals currently residing in Edinburgh. The programme across the 10 days has a distinct Greek theme and celebrates many aspects of the country’s culture along with its close ties to Scotland.

Director Kostis Vrettos, one of the many driving forces behind the festival’s growth in the last four years, moved to Edinburgh in 2014 after completing studies at Ionian University in Corfu. He undertook an MSc degree in International Events and Festival Management at Edinburgh Napier, graduating last year, and it was during his time at the University that the team came together to make the festival a reality. Now, as it enters its fourth year, he is hoping for it to be the biggest and best one yet.

He said: “We’ve been working hard to devise a programme of events that is packed full of a variety of interesting and stimulating exhibitions and performances and we are really looking forward to this week's launch.

“Syn Festival is a purely volunteer-led organisation that is open to individuals from all different ethnic and professional backgrounds. Its purpose is to create a space where members of the vibrant community of artists in Scotland can communicate their work, share their skills and experience, network and expand their audience. There is obviously a strong Greek theme across its events but it isn’t solely focused on one country; it’s inclusive of all.

“Edinburgh Napier has had a big role to play in the success of the festival so far. The majority of the organising team was brought together through various studies at the University and we are also always supported by a large number of volunteers from the University year-on-year. I also studied there myself and have fond memories of me time there; it’s been a fantastic resource for us all.”

Some scenes from last year's Syn Festival Edinburgh...

Dr Jane Ali-Knight, Associate Professor in Festival and Event Management, at Edinburgh Napier University, said: “This is an excellent example of students putting into practice what they have learned during their studies here at Edinburgh Napier and also getting current students involved in and experience of delivering the event. Kostis and the Syn team have created an original, niche festival and we hope that future graduates will also continue to attend and support the event; it really is an inspiring case study for them.”

This year’s festival will kick off with an opening exhibition within the Out of the Blue Drill Hall on Thursday 9 March. Featuring over 100 emerging artists, performers, musicians and filmmakers, it is described as a 'creative experiment on the relationship between the arts and the multiple meanings of the festival’s overall theme of metamorphosis'. It will run until 22 March.

An evening showcase of award-winning films from the International Short Film Festival of Drama, a collaboration with Bethere Corfu Animation Festival and a live mapping projection (Project – M) within the debating hall at Teviot Row House are all part of the festival line-up. A traditional Greek night, with music, dance and food from the country, will also take place on 15 March.

The majority of events are free to attend with donations sought for volunteer groups supporting refugees in Greece. Tickets for the Greek Night are £3 with children and unemployed individuals free of charge.

For more information on the festival and to view the full line-up, please visit here or visit the event’s dedicated social media channels.

Photos courtesy of Eleni Laparidou.