Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Castle light show featuring Mogwai soundtrack to open Edinburgh festival season

Edinburgh Castle Image copyright Thinkstock

Edinburgh's festival season will begin with a spectacular light and music display projected on to the capital's iconic castle and Castle Rock.

The artwork will explore 350 million years of Edinburgh history, accompanied by a soundtrack compiled by Glasgow rock band Mogwai.

Organisers said it would be "one of the largest and most unusual projections ever undertaken anywhere in the world".

The event will mark the start of the Edinburgh International Festival.

It begins on 7 August, with more than 2,000 artists from 36 nations expected to perform.

Leo Warner, of 59 Productions, which is behind the Deep Time artwork at the castle, said: "We are going to start with the cataclysmic events which brought castle rock into being, specifically the volcano that it rose from.

"When audiences come to see this piece they should expect to see one of the largest, most unusual bits of projection mapping ever undertaken anywhere in the world."

Image caption Glasgow band Mogwai will provide the soundtrack for the projection

Deep Time have worked with academics from the University of Edinburgh to employ cutting edge three dimensional animation and projection techniques.

'Electric atmosphere'

The event at 22:30 on 7 August will be free, but ticketed.

The festival will also feature a cabaret show by Hollywood actor Alan Cumming and a series of events celebrating William Shakespeare on the 400th anniversary of his death.

Festival director Fergus Linehan said: "The International Festival is an invitation from the people of Scotland to people from all over the world to join us in an unparalleled celebration of creativity, virtuosity and originality.

"The calibre, ambition and passion of the artists and ensembles in this year's programme combined with Edinburgh's electric festival atmosphere, will make for an unforgettable experience for newcomers and international festival veterans alike."

Image copyright Colin Hattersley Photography
Image caption The programme for the Edinburgh International Festival was launched by its director Fergus Linehan

Scottish actor Alan Cumming, who has starred in films and TV shows including The Good Wife, will take up residence at the Hub over three weeks and 20 performances.

His show, Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs!, promises "very personal reinterpretations of the songs he loves to sing".

Festival organisers said the word of Shakespeare would resonate throughout the programme.

There will be a reworking of Richard III in a production from Berlin's Schaub├╝hne Theatre, as well as performance of Measure for Measure involving Moscow's Pushkin Theatre.

The playwright's influence will also extend to the classical music programme, with Shakespearean-inspired music from Rossini, Bellini, Verdi, Berlioz, Strauss and Tchaikovsky.

Other highlights of the festival's programme include:

  • The European premiere of John Tiffany's celebrated production of Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie. It was originally created with American Repertory Theatre in Boston, before transferring to Broadway in 2013 to huge critical acclaim.
  • Leading classical musicians will perform 42 concerts and recitals in the Usher and Queen's halls.
  • A series of concerts will celebrate the international success of Scottish contemporary music.
  • A fireworks display over Edinburgh Castle, choreographed to live music from the Scottish Chamber Orchestra will bring the curtain down on the festival on 29 August.

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