Light show ‘spectacular’ opens Edinburgh Festival

The Aberdeen Standard Investments Opening Event: Five Telegrams by Anna Meredith and 59 Productions opens the Edinburgh International Festival 2018.  Picture; Justin Sutcliffe
The Aberdeen Standard Investments Opening Event: Five Telegrams by Anna Meredith and 59 Productions opens the Edinburgh International Festival 2018. Picture; Justin Sutcliffe
0
Have your say

Mesmerising slides of colour illuminated the front of the Usher Hall as around 15,000 people gathered to witness the spectacular curtain-raiser that heralded the start of the Edinburgh International Festival.

All traffic was stopped along Lothian Road to allow festival goers the chance to absorb magical opening event Five Telegrams.

The Aberdeen Standard Investments Opening Event: Five Telegrams by Anna Meredith and 59 Productions opens the Edinburgh International Festival 2018.  Picture; Justin Sutcliffe

The Aberdeen Standard Investments Opening Event: Five Telegrams by Anna Meredith and 59 Productions opens the Edinburgh International Festival 2018. Picture; Justin Sutcliffe

For 25 minutes bright, dynamic and emotive animations were projected onto the Usher Hall, interwoven by a new score composed by Edinburgh musician Anna Meredith.

Once turned down for a front of job house at the concert hall, she was delighted to now be stopping traffic with her music.

She wrote a five-part piece for the showstopper, a far cry for Anna from her days playing in youth orchestras and wind bands in the city and studying music at Edinburgh Napier University.

She said: “I had various summer jobs in cafes and bars during the festival, and was also a steward at the Assembly Rooms.

The Aberdeen Standard Investments Opening Event: Five Telegrams by Anna Meredith and 59 Productions opens the Edinburgh International Festival 2018.  Picture; Justin Sutcliffe

The Aberdeen Standard Investments Opening Event: Five Telegrams by Anna Meredith and 59 Productions opens the Edinburgh International Festival 2018. Picture; Justin Sutcliffe

“I remember trying to get a job at the Usher Hall – I didn’t get it, but I played in there a few times with various youth bands as a kid.

“It’s a lovely to be doing this with a building I know so well and working on a project so communal, far-reaching and ambitious.

“The effort and level of detail that has gone into making it have as much impact as possible has been incredible. It feels good to be stopping the traffic.”

The event marked both the centenary of the end of the First World War and celebrates Scotland’s Year of Young People.

The Aberdeen Standard Investments Opening Event: Five Telegrams by Anna Meredith and 59 Productions opens the Edinburgh International Festival 2018.  Picture; Justin Sutcliffe

The Aberdeen Standard Investments Opening Event: Five Telegrams by Anna Meredith and 59 Productions opens the Edinburgh International Festival 2018. Picture; Justin Sutcliffe

In an addition to young people taking part in the event, it was co-designed by young people, providing a poignant reflection on the thousands of young lives lost in the First World War.

Edinburgh International Festival Director Fergus Linehan, said: “Collaboration sits right at the heart of this event, whether in the creation of Five Telegrams by Anna Meredith and 59 Productions, our co-commissioning of this new work with 14-18 Now and the BBC Proms, through to partnerships with the many supporters who make this even possible.

“Over the last few years, the Opening Event has grown to become a multi-partner project and I’d like to say thank you to all of them – Aberdeen Standard Investments, Scotland’s Year of Young People through Event Scotland, the University of Edinburgh, and Blue-i Theatre Technology.”

Director of Five Telegrams Richard Slaney, said: “Five Telegrams is a huge collaboration, and the fact that we can welcome 15,000 people to come and experience it for free to kick off the opening of this year’s Edinburgh International Festival, mirrors the coming together of the commission itself.

“59 Productions has been working closely with Anna Meredith since the very start; we’ve shared ideas and themes that Anna has graciously taken into her composition.

“We’ve also worked for the very first time with some brilliant emerging designers from Edinburgh College of Art on costumes for the live performance, as well as researching the First World War thematic ideas with our commissioners at 14-18 NOW.

“Bringing all of these elements together for the event we hope that audiences
found Five Telegrams both boldly eye-catching as well as thought-provoking.”

Title sponsorship has been renewed for the next three years.