Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo chief to leave as management shake-up is revealed

The man in charge of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is to leave during its 70th anniversary year in 2020 while a management shake-up is put in place to boost the value of the event..

Brigadier David Allfrey will leave the event during its 70th anniversary year.
Brigadier David Allfrey will leave the event during its 70th anniversary year.

Brigadier David Allfrey has revealed he will step down after a 10-year tenure as chief executive and producer as it emerged that two senior figures will be recruited to take charge of the event in future.

He is also expected to leave ahead of the long-awaited debuts of the Tattoo in both North America and China in the near future.

An official statement confirming his departure said Brigadier Allfrey, who has previously overseen international tours of the Tattoo to Australia and New Zealand, "judges it a good moment to step back and retire."

It said the board of trustees planned to make "two distinct appointments" of chief executive and creative director to replace Brigadier Allfrey as part of a strategy, set in 2016, of doubling the Tattoo company's turnover to £25 million by 2025.

Brigadier Allfrey has overseen the opening of a new £16 million arena for the event, the transformation of the Tattoo with the use of new technology to beam spectacular animated images onto the facade of Edinburgh Castle during performances and the growth of the event's economic impact to more than £77 million.

Brigadier Allfrey's departure has emerged weeks after he blamed economic uncertainty and negative publicity about the city’s tourist industry for a slowdown in ticket sales.

Peter Lederer, chair of the Tattoo's board, said: "On joining the Tattoo, David immediately set out to take the show to another level and transform the organisation. Now, after ten outstanding years, he has decided that he will retire as chief executive and producer.

“His achievements are vast; he has led the development of the Pipers Trail, Hjaltibonhoga, the Tattoo Band and the Tattoo Dance Company, has developed excellent and productive relationships around the world, secured a waiting list of countries wishing to perform in Edinburgh and internationally and has introduced new technologies in sound, lighting and event staging to make the show the awe-inspiring spectacle it is today.

"His creativity is legendary and his ability and diplomacy in turning stretching, difficult ideas into reality is admired by all."

Brigadier Allfrey was not available for interview on his departure from the event.

But in the official statement from the Tattoo, he said: “I'm hugely proud to have held this position for the last nine years and witness the Tattoo flourish at home and abroad.

"I feel especially privileged to work with a fabulous team here in Edinburgh, great collaborators across Scotland, many world-renowned experts and an extraordinary array of talent from across the globe.

"It has also been great fun to act as an ambassador for the Tattoo, the Armed Forces and our great nation. I look forward very much to leading the Tattoo in our 70th Anniversary year and into the next stage of our international journey."