Pop-up plays on CalMac ferries, an outdoor cinema overlooking the Firth of Forth and a night-time flotilla turning the Clyde into a “river of light” will be part of Scotland’s first nationwide celebration of its coastline and waters.
A tour of historic Ayrshire-built yachts around classic holiday destinations and a festival aimed at establishing Aberdeen as one of Europe’s best dolphin-watching locations are also expected to be among the highlights of a £1.14 million campaign.
The biggest ever marketing drive to promote Scotland’s maritime events, unspoiled beaches, seafaring stories and waterfront attractions has been developed following the success of previous year-long showcases of the nation’s history and heritage, architecture and design, food and drink, creative industries and young people.
The first major projects to benefit from a £600,000 event fund for the Coasts and Waters 2020 campaign were revealed to coincide with VisitScotland’s annual “Expo” trade fair in Glasgow.
The National Theatre of Scotland will be staging musical theatre shows on three CalMac routes next spring. Drama, live music, song and the Gaelic language will feature in “pop-up gig theatre” production Ferry Tales, which will be inspired by real-life stories drawn from coastal communities served by CalMac.
The Edinburgh International Film Festival says it will be screening a season a classic films which showcase iconic coastline and waterfront locations across Scotland as part of “a totally unique outdoor cinema experience, where audiences can swap the multiplex for the sandy shores of the Forth.”
Although the details of the location for the pop-up cinema are being kept under wraps, the Film Fest on the Forth event is being promoted with an image of the three bridges across the estuary.
Other special events include a spectacular week-long regatta of classic yachts built by at the family-run Fife yard at Fairlie, in Ayrshire, with many returning from the Mediterranean to visit classic Scottish holiday destinations like Dunoon, Rothesay, Tighnabruaich and Largs in June.
A major new night-time element of Scotland’s biggest boat show, which is staged at Kip Marina, in Inverclyde, will see a flotilla of boats gather off-shore to form a mass floating spectacle.
NTS artistic director Jackie Wylie said: “Thousands of Scots and visitors make ferry crossings every year and we are excited about the opportunity, with the support of CalMac and their ships, to create Ferry Tales, a theatrical project which explores the personal stories behind these journeys.
“The community, informality and sociability of the CalMac ferry journey, in terms of the potential audience experience, lends itself beautifully to this style of pop up gig theatre.”
Mark Adams, the EIFF’s artistic director, said: “Audiences will get to dip their toes into a selection of classic Scottish films, and we’ll take people behind the cinema screen with amazing Q&As with filmmakers and location managers sharing their stories of filming on Scotland’s lochs, seas and waterways.
“We’ll also have exciting events to inspire young filmmakers and established industry professionals.”
Dozens of other new and established events are expected to be allocated funding for next year’s official programme, which will be launched in November.
VisitScotland chief executive Malcolm Roughead said: “From fishing and textiles, to whisky and wave power, Scotland’s waters have shaped our history and influenced our culture, our stories and our way of life.
“Our coasts and waters are host to an amazing array of riches and are greatly valued and cherished by visitors and locals alike, so it’s fitting that we have a full-year placing them in the spotlight.
“Scotland’s distinctive scenery, landscape and our unique history and culture continue to remain the key motivations that drive visits to the country, so Coasts and Waters 2020 presents a fantastic opportunity to play to our strengths.”