Festival ties flourish in spectacular opening

The University is to play a key role in the Edinburgh International Festival’s spectacular opening event, Bloom.

For two nights, the city’s St Andrew Square will be transformed into a giant canvas, emblazoned with large-scale light installations that celebrate the Festival’s 70th anniversary. More than 4,000 people are expected to attend the opening spectacle, which takes place on 4 and 5 August.  

Standard Life Opening Event: Bloom

4 and 5 August 2017

St Andrew Square, Edinburgh

Ticket holders have access from 9.00pm

Non-ticket holders have access from 10.30pm-12am, subject to capacity

More information on Bloom

Lasting legacy

Bloom will showcase the energy and creativity of the first International Festival in 1947, and chart the subsequent flowering of Edinburgh as the world’s festival city.

University experts have collaborated with the Festival and Tony Award-winning company 59 Productions.

A team of researchers and students in Sound Design and Digital Media at Edinburgh College of Art will capture content from the event that enables people to interact with it. They will also create a lasting legacy for the epic outdoor artwork.

Striking images from the University’s archives and its School of Biological Sciences have inspired the show’s creators. 

Edinburgh International Festival’s spectacular opening event "Bloom".
Visualisation of Edinburgh International Festival’s opening event Bloom.

Ongoing partnership

This is the third time the University has partnered with the International Festival for its jaw-dropping curtain raiser.

In 2015, experts in Informatics worked with the Festival Choir to create the critically acclaimed Harmonium at the Usher Hall.

Edinburgh alumnus James Hutton’s theory of deep time was the focus of the 2016 event. Experts worked with producers to create a massive projection on Edinburgh Castle. It was witnessed by an awestruck audience of more than 27,000.

The cutting-edge collaborations are part of the University’s wider commitment to pioneering work within the digital arts.

Close ties

The University has been at the heart of Edinburgh’s festivals since its inception.

Many individuals who played a vital role in bringing the International Festival to Edinburgh were University staff members or alumni.

This includes composer Hans Gal and conductor Sidney Newman from the Reid School of Music.

Students and staff play a key part in the festival today, and many University buildings are transformed to host venues, eateries and bars as part of the Festival Fringe.

We are delighted to collaborate once again to create this spectacular opening event. Our world-class researchers in digital media, design informatics and biological sciences will assist in shaping this epic artwork, and our archives will help tell the story of how the Festival has inspired a blossoming of creativity within the city and beyond. Academics will also work closely with 59 Productions to develop ambitious new ways for people to interact with Bloom, creating a lasting legacy for future generations.

Professor Dorothy MiellVice-Principal and Head of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Related links

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Image credit: © 59 Productions