International Festival to open in style with Five Telegrams

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The Edinburgh International Festival will open on 3 August 2018 with the Aberdeen Standard Investments Opening Event: Five Telegrams, a spectacular free outdoor digital performance celebrating Scotland’s Year of Young People (250 of whom will take part) and reflecting on the centenary of the end of the Great War.

Five Telegrams follows in the footsteps of previous stunning multimedia opening events Harmonium, Deep Time and Bloom, and is every bit as ambitious and impressive in scale. The performance will weave together a newly commissioned orchestral score, projected digital artworks and live participation.

Taking place in Edinburgh's Festival Square, the event is a unique collaboration between Anna Meredith, one of Scotland’s most exciting contemporary composers, and Tony Award-winning artists 59 Productions who have been behind the Festival’s three previous opening events.

Inspired by communications found in the Imperial War Museum, which document the experience of young soldiers, the performance will consider themes of machines and codes, censorship, propaganda and reconciliation. Audiences will be invited to consider the startling resonance of these themes across the 100 years since the end of the Great War and into today.

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In a celebration of Scotland’s Year of Young People, the event has been co-designed by Edinburgh-based young people, and over 250 will take part in the performance*. Performance Costume students from the Edinburgh College of Art have also designed and made costumes for the participants.

Young people wishing to take part can find out more and apply on the International Festival website 

Councillor Donald Wilson, Edinburgh’s Culture and Communities Convener, said:

I am pleased to see this year’s programme celebrate the city and feature our local communities and young people so strongly. With 2018 marking the Year of Young People, they really are the stars of the show and will participate in the free, opening event, Five Telegrams.
These mass participation events have been a great success, and this year’s marking the centenary of the end of the Great War is not to be missed.

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In keeping with the Festival’s spirit of collaboration, Five Telegrams will also see a historic new partnership between the International Festival and BBC Proms. The project will open both festivals, marking the first time these great events have worked together in this way.

As with previous opening events, the spectacular Five Telegrams represents the ambition and innovation of the International Festival and the city. The event kicks off three weeks of International Festival programming bringing together Scottish and international talent in a range of exciting performances and events throughout August.

The Aberdeen Standard Investments Opening Event: Five Telegrams takes place in Edinburgh's Festival Square at 10.30pm on 3 August 2018. The performance is sponsored by Standard Life Aberdeen, supported by Scotland’s Year of Young People through Event Scotland, and produced in association with the University of Edinburgh.

Visit the Edinburgh International Festival’s website for full details on the performance or to find out more about the Festival and this year’s programme.

If you are aged between 16-26 and wish to take part in Five Telegrams, please visit the International Festival website for more information.

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