IT was co-founded by a refugee in the shadow of the Second World War and now, as it marks its 75th anniversary with war once again blighting Europe, refugees and displacement are themes in this year’s Edinburgh International Festival.

It is returning at a scale not seen since 2019 with 14 venues hosting 87 events and over 160 performances of world-class ­music, ­opera, dance and ­theatre from over 2300 artists.

Welcoming the ­release of the new programme, Culture Minister Neil Gray said the festival’s original purpose of uniting people through the arts is just as relevant as it was in 1947.

“As Minister for Refugees from Ukraine I’m pleased to see the themes of refugeehood, migration and inclusion in this year’s programme,” he said. “In particular, I’m looking forward to Grid Iron theatre’s exploration of human displacement and migration in their immersive production of Muster Station: Leith which received funding through our Festivals Expo Fund.”

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Gray also paid tribute to director Fergus Linehan who is bowing out after eight years with Nicola Benedetti taking over – the first Scot and first woman to be ­director in the festival’s history.

Linehan said it was a special year for the festival and it was hoped it would mark a turning point in the pandemic. He added that it was also an opportunity to pay tribute to the festival’s first artistic director, ­Rudolph Bing, a refugee of war in ­Europe.

Part of the programme is Refuge, a season of contemporary theatre, dance, visual art, film and ­conversation created in collaboration with the Scottish Refugee Council to ­explore themes of refugeehood, ­migration, identity and inclusion. A Wee Journey, a choreographed ­musical journey about migration ­created by choreographer Farah Saleh and composer Oguz Kaplangi, receives its world premiere as part of the season. Akeim Toussaint Buck’s Windows of Displacement is a dance theatre piece drawing on his own journey of migration from Jamaica to the UK, while Wang Ramirez’s dance show for young audiences We Are Monchichi explores cultural stereotypes and identities.

Zimbabwean writer, performer and curator mandla rae asks powerful questions about belonging, trauma and forgiveness in “as British as a watermelon”, while Detention Dialogues, from ice&fire’s ­Actors for Human Rights and Scottish Detainee Visitors, features a ­series of verbatim scripts presenting the voices of refugees from different countries.

Artists Gemma Paintin and James Stenhouse host Oh Europa, featuring love songs recorded across Europe by over a thousand voices, in 49 different languages. Amber is an interactive performance documenting artists Paria Moazemi Goodarzi and Francisco Llinas Casas and their encounters on a ­23-mile walk from Dungavel ­Detention Centre to the Home Office in Glasgow. Aref Ghorbani ­intersperses Persian classical and folk music with conversation around music censorship in ­Vocal, while artist Leema Nammari’s visual art installation It Will Live is inspired by a house in ­Ramallah that she has photographed for 35 years.

The programme is complemented by a series of online conversations addressing internationalism, climate change, belonging, and a podcast series, I Am An Immigrant, which launches in July.

Also part of the full programme is Akram Khan’s new Jungle Book ­Reimagined, which reinvents the journey of Mowgli through the eyes of a climate refugee, and a new ­immersive, promenade performance created by multi-award-winning ­theatre company Grid Iron.

Elsewhere on the programme former Scots Makar Liz Lochhead makes her International Festival ­debut with her modern adaptation of Medea and Alan Cumming appears in Burn.

The festival runs from August 5-28.