Edinburgh International Festival Releases Free Tickets For Standard Life Opening Event: Deep Time

The Edinburgh International Festival today (Monday, 11 July) releases thousands of free tickets for the launch event of the city’s summer festival season, the Standard Life Opening Event: Deep Time.

Free tickets are available from 10.00am at www.eif.co.uk allowing Edinburgh residents, visitors and tourists to book and experience the largest free, ticketed event of its kind in the UK, on Sunday 7 August at 10.30pm. A second limited release will be available on Monday 1 August, with a further very limited release on Saturday 6 August – the day before the event.

The Standard Life Opening Event: Deep Time is a free, outdoor artwork which will see the western façade of Edinburgh Castle and Castle Rock used as the 20,000m2 canvas for digitally animated projections inspired by the city’s past. The work is created by 59 Productions and set to a specially compiled soundtrack by Scottish rock band Mogwai, with an audience of up to 27,000 watching from the event arena.

The event is one of the largest architectural mapping projects ever undertaken by International Festival Artistic Associates, 59 Productions. The Tony award-winners created the acclaimed Harmonium Project which opened the 2015 International Festival, and were key to the 2012 London Olympic Opening Ceremony, and world-wide hit stage play, War Horse.

Standard Life Opening Event: Deep Time explores ‘deep time’ – a geological concept which explains the age of the Earth in terms of billions of years. Charting 350 million years of Edinburgh’s history, the event uncovers the unique geology of the city’s landscape, starting with its volcanic beginnings. It explores the intellectual legacy of the city – in particular the work of Edinburgh scientist James Hutton, who pioneered the theory of ‘deep time’ – and celebrates the cultural and scientific thinkers who have made Edinburgh their home through the ages, as well as the Edinburgh community which has lived and worked in the city in recent times. 59 Productions will use cutting-edge 3d animation and projection techniques to create the event, working in partnership with University of Edinburgh academics, who have lent their expertise to help tell the complex geological story.

Fast-forwarding to the present day, Edinburgh remains a powerhouse for visionary thinkers, artists and innovative business people, and is home to a diverse community from across Scotland, Europe and the rest of the world. The finale of the event will explore Edinburgh through its human population, flashing through thousands of faces of residents from the past and the present. These are drawn from historical and present-day sources, and will be solicited directly from local people, some of whom will themselves be amongst the audience for the show, the culmination of which is a vibrant celebration of Edinburgh today.

In order to create this moment, the International Festival and 59 Productions are asking the public for their help. Organisers are looking for hundreds of photographs of people who have called Edinburgh home – both those who live or have lived in the city. The photographs will help form the finale of this spectacular art work. Photographs should be of individuals with their faces clear in the picture, and can be submitted via the International Festival’s website at eif.co.uk/deeptime by Monday 25 July. Further information on how and what kind of images to submit is available on the website.

Leo Warner, Creative Director of 59 Productions and director of Deep Time, said: ‘We were inspired to create this epic story by Edinburgh resident James Hutton and his pioneering geological work, which impacts so much on how we view the world now. As part of that story, we want to celebrate the people who make the city what it is today. We ask those who live here, or have moved away, to share with us photos of themselves or of family who have lived here. These images will make up the grand finale of the event and bring the story of Edinburgh over 350 million years bang up to date. Please share your photos and be a part of something truly epic.’

Fergus Linehan, Edinburgh International Festival Director, said: ‘I’m so excited by the prospect of the Standard Life Opening Event: Deep Time and this amazing artwork through which we’re celebrating our home city’s impact on the world stage throughout history and today. Working with Standard Life, 59 Productions, the University of Edinburgh, EventScotland, Edinburgh Castle and Blue-i Theatre Technology & mclcreate, we invite Edinburgh residents and visitors to experience the event with us and book their free arena tickets. This year, and in the future, the Standard Life Opening Event will declare to the world in spectacular style that the International Festival, and Edinburgh’s summer festival season, is truly open.’

Keith Skeoch, Chief Executive, Standard Life, said: ‘We’re counting down the days to this unique event which will give the people of Edinburgh, including our employees, the opportunity to be part of an incredible work of art. As a global business founded in Edinburgh almost 200 years ago, we’re proud of our heritage and to be part of this city and its wider community. We’re very much looking forward to seeing the pioneering spirit of the people of Edinburgh, past and present, being brought to life at the Standard Life Opening Event for this year’s Edinburgh International Festival.’

Professor Dorothy Miell, Vice-Principal and Head of the College of Humanities and Social Science, said: ‘The University of Edinburgh is delighted to lend its expertise to help tell the story of our alumnus James Hutton and his theories of deep time. This spectacular show is another cutting-edge project demonstrating our long-standing and inspiring partnership with the Edinburgh International Festival and our pioneering work with the digital arts.’

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: ‘Following the success of The Harmonium Project, we are once again delighted to be supporting Deep Time through EventScotland’s International Programme. Events of this scale, stature and ambition continue to strengthen Scotland’s outstanding portfolio of prestigious arts and cultural events, whilst also enhancing our reputation as the perfect stage for events. I’m certain it will give those lucky enough to secure one of the summer’s hottest free tickets, a chance to witness a mesmerising moment in history.”“Deep Time also brings Scotland’s 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design themes together to showcase one of Scotland’s iconic locations transformed by cutting-edge design to the world, creating a spectacular and dramatic event to open the 2016 Edinburgh International Festival.’

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