Recreation of Jacobite ambush to be staged during Tattoo

Scenes from the Jacobite Risings are to be played out at the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo this year as it emerged more than 3000 clan members will go on parade at the event this month.

Monday, 31st July 2017, 11:29 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th September 2017, 12:14 pm
This year's Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo will get underway on Friday.

A dramatic "ambush in the glens" will be recreated on the castle - which Bonnie Prince Charlie tried to lay siege to with the clans in 1745 - at the height of this year's show.

The Tattoo which will be seen by representatives of nearly 60 clans throughout its 25-show run after an extensive publicity campaign since last November.

An acclaimed comic book artist who has previously worked on The Beano and The Broons will be helping to turn the esplanade into a "Highland glen" thanks to giant projections of specially-created illustrations by Stephen White, better known as Stref, for the Jacobites sequence, which will be accompanied by music from the Band of the Royal Regiment of Scotland.

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Clansmen and women from around the world will also march from the Great Hall at the castle to the Esplanade at the start of each performance as part of a global drive to get the Scottish diaspora more involved in the production than ever before.

Audiences are being urged to wear tartan kilts, trousers, plaids, shawls and bonnets to each performance while a new "Splash of Tartan" score has been written by the leading piper and composer Finlay MacDonald.

Organisers say more than 98 per cent of tickets have been sold in advance for the event, which is now worth more than £77 million for the economy.

Among the leading overseas acts appearing at the Tattoo this year will be the Japan Ground Self-Defence Force Central Band, the country's first representatives at the event, the Indian Naval Band, who will help mark the 70th anniversary of India, and the United States Naval Forces Europe Band.

The Esplanade will be transformed into the deck of the UK's new aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, for a drill display from the Queen's Colour Squadron and the Band of the Royal Air Force Regiment.

Shetland fiddle troupe "Hjaltibonhoga" will be bringing their own longship, The Mirrie Dancer," as well as a Viking Jarl Squad, to help mark the invasions and settlement of their islands.

Brigadier David Allfrey, chief executive and producer of the Tattoo, said: “Yet again, the castle esplanade is set to come alive with colour, music and history as we bring together an extraordinary group of military and folkloric performers to help us ‘Splash the Tartan’.

"Each performer, working as an individual, and as part of a mighty team, is supported by world class musical arrangements, leading edge production techniques, digital sound, massive lighting, three million pixels of projection power, stunning fireworks and special effects and a wonderful sense of common purpose.

“The finished article is not just hugely entertaining, it is also inspiring. Each year, we reach out across the world to find the very best acts and bring them to Edinburgh.

"We're always looking to bring people together to celebrate the rich differences of our global community. There is something for everyone in this show and an opportunity for all of us to be proud.”

Sir Malcolm MacGregor, convenor of the Standing Council of Scottish Clan Chiefs, said: “The invitation to participate in the Tattoo is a wonderful opportunity for the Scottish clans and their families.

"It has generated great interest and excitement throughout the clan network in Scotland and abroad, with 57 clans and 3000 clans folk taking part across the 25 performances.

“This is of great historic significance, as Edinburgh Castle stood firm against Bonnie Prince Charlie and his Highland army in 1745. It is the first time that the clans have been formally invited to parade within the castle ramparts.

"Millions of people all over the world are of Scottish descent and are taking even more interest in their ancestry and heritage. Showcasing the clans in all their finery at the Tattoo will bring added colour and spectacle to such a world class event.

"Many clans have organised gatherings and events in their traditional lands, in conjunction with their performance at the Tattoo."