Edinburgh International Festival has announced 15,000 free tickets for the opening spectacular which this year marks marks the centenary of the end of the First World War and celebrates Scotland’s Year of Young People.
It is sponsored again by Standard Life under its new Aberdeen Standard Investments branding. The company has renewed its backing for a further three years.
The Aberdeen Standard Investments Opening Event: Five Telegrams is an outdoor performance created by composer Anna Meredith and 59 Productions, comprising large- scale illuminations and projections on the Usher Hall and a new work for orchestra and chorus which opens the International Festival at 10.30 pm on the 3 August.
It involves a major co-commission between the International Festival, 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary, and BBC Proms.
Lothian Road will close, allowing audiences to experience the event from a dedicated arena in Festival Square.
In a new move, this year’s Opening Event includes a live performance element for the first time, featuring hundreds of local young people who will bring Five Telegrams to life within the Square.
In an addition to young people taking part in the event, it has been co-designed by young people, providing a poignant reflection on the thousands of young lives lost in the First World War.
International Festival director Fergus Linehan, said: “Collaboration sits right at the heart of this event.
“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, Blue-i Theatre Technology and Mclcreate.
“We’re also delighted to announce the renewal of our title sponsorship, which will move forward with Aberdeen Standard Investments. Knowing that this relationship will continue to 2021, helps us plan ahead with confidence and we look forward to working with the Aberdeen Standard Investments team over the next three years.”
Five Telegrams is a 25-minute work in five movements, bringing together a symphony orchestra, youth chorus, and large-scale illuminations and projections at Edinburgh’s iconic Usher Hall.
Each of the five movements reflects on modes of communication during the period of the First World War and how it resonates today. Anna Meredith and Richard Slaney from 59 Productions have explored communications carrying messages from the period and identified themes during site visits to The Imperial War Museum throughout the creation and development period.