My sketch from the amazing opening event of the Edinburgh International Festival where a stunning light show was projected onto the Usher Hall in front of 15,000 onlookers.
I was lucky enough to be invited onto the press platform to capture this sketch live during the evening.
Celebrating Scotland’s Year of Young People and reflecting on the centenary of the end of the Great War the light show was split in to four separate sections, each seeming to swallow up the Usher Hall and surround the audience in sound and illusion.
I love the fact this is a free event to open the Edinburgh International Festival is now a regular occurrence and if you didn’t get chance to see it this year I recommend looking out for next years spectacle. This year for the first time actors in the audience lit lanterns and sang to the atmospheric music creating an all encompassing sound which made me feel quite emotional, adding to a sense of wonder and inspiration I felt by the end.
Lothian road was completely closed off a couple of hours before the show and as Festival Square and the road in front of the Usher Hall began to fill with the lucky ticket holders I started to draw my sketch in black ink. I added all the detail as darkness began to fall saving only the watercolour wash to add once the show began.
I am currently having a limited number of signed giclee prints made of this piece so if you are interested in finding out more leave a comment below.
To celebrate the launch of the 70th Edinburgh International Festival St Andrews Square will bloom into glorious life with a light and sound show.
The EIF runs from the 4th to 28th August and tonight the city will be lit up as part of ‘Standard Life Opening Event: Bloom’, an epic outdoor spectacle of light and sound, transforming the buildings of St Andrews Square into a 360 degree canvas.
I was lucky enough to see a preview of tonight’s show and this is my sketch from within St Andrews Square.
The show runs from 10pm until midnight and although early access tickets are now sold out for the two day event (tonight and tomorrow night) you can still queue to gain access via George Street from 10.30pm until midnight.
It looks set to be a magical experience, I just hope the rain stops before the performance, although I’m sure puddle reflections will make it even more beautiful!
The Edinburgh International Festival website
Super excited to be back sketching in the theatre and watching Scottish Ballet perform MC14/22 (Ceci est mon corps) at the Festival Theatre.
MC14/22 is an emotional piece, sometimes violent, tender, confusing but ulitmately unforgettable. Using 12 male dancers it’s energetic and intense choreography is inspired by St Mark’s version of The Last Supper in the Bible: ‘Take, eat: this is my body’.
Here are some of my sketches as I tried to capture the movement and emotion on stage.
Not an easy task when drawing in almost complete darkness, I scribbled away in my sketch pad and added colour once the theatre lights were turned back up.
Unfortunately I couldn’t stay for the second set ‘Emergence’ but you can see both together at the Festival Theatre until August 20th.
Edinburgh International Festival website
Scottish Ballet website
Dragon, the wonderful and moving story of a boy meeting a dragon, told without words and with amazing puppetry and stage magic that will leave you believing the unbelievable.
Created by Vox Motus, the National Theatre of Scotland and Tianjin Children’s Art Theatre, Dragon tells the story of Tommy whose life, since the death of his mother, has gone from bad to worse. One restless night Tommy goes to the window and throws back the curtain to find himself face to face with a dragon.
Here have captured a couple of scenes from the play which runs today and tomorrow only at the Royal Lyceum Theatre as part of this year’s Edinburgh International Festival. Above shows he Dragon first appearing to tommy as he sits beneath a swing, and below the dragon appears to become a motorbike as it and Tommy play together.
See it if you can, it is a wonderful spectacle.
Dragon on the EIF website
I am looking for your inspirational photos of the Harmonium Project for a new original work of art.
Unfortunately I was unable to witness the opening of the Edinburgh International Festival and the spectacular Hamonium Project at the Usher Hall last night in person. However I was so blown away by the photos on social media that I would love to create some art work from the event, and I would like you to be involved.
I am looking for your photos plus a quote about how you found the event. Send me your digital photo and a line of text, for example “It was incredible! One of the most spectacular things I’ve ever seen!” to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Harmonium Project”.
In exchange for providing the inspiration for my art work I will send each person included in the piece a signed, numbered copy.
ject, usher hall, edinburgh international festival
Tonight and tomorrow night the Edinburgh Playhouse plays host to some fabulous flamenco guitar playing with a story to tell, thanks to the Edinburgh International Festival.
My sketch is in black ink with a water colour wash, the following are the words I wrote around the drawing…
‘Gunfire sounds loud booming bangs, rattatat of bullets as sounds move all around and then silence and darkness… a light on a solo guitarist… and then he plays…. Light on a backdrop of seated guitarists and singers, the music tempo and volume rise as do two figures from the back. Suddenly the most beautiful singing fills the theatre… and the guitarist continues to play.’
Edinburgh International Festival
Yesterday I witnessed the press call for The James Plays, a fascinating tale of Scotish history and the lives of James I, II and III of Scotland. Penned by Rona Munro and directed by Laurie Sansom the epic tale is told over three individual plays, each on at the Festival Theatre on the North Bridge.
These sketches are from James I and see the newly married couple speaking for the first time and slowly getting to know each other. I was hooked after five minutes, the acting was understated, realistic and really spoke to me. I only hope there are tickets left to go and see the full production.
For more information see Edinburgh International Festival
Last night I was lucky enough to attend the dress rehearsal of ‘American Lulu’ at the King’s Theatre in Edinburgh, part of the Edinburgh International Festival and performed by Scottish Opera and The Orchestra of Scottish Opera.
Set against the backdrop of the US civil rights struggles of the 1950s and 1970s the audience are transported to the smoky jazz clubs of the Deep South, to follow the story of Lula, a seductress, victim and manipulator.
Caught up in greedy games and seedy schemes, and surrounded by lovers driven to despair, Lulu makes an inexorable rise to the highest levels of power, money and fame. But her descent is just as swift. Twenty years on, as the scarred Lulu looks back on her life, she faces a squalid history of sex, murder and violence.
The opera is only on tonight, and tomorrow. For more information visit the EIF website HERE.
I attended my first press call for this years Edinburgh International Festival tonight. I felt a little old fashioned surrounded by photographers, each with a huge bag of equipment, multiple lenses and cameras as bigger than their heads. Me with my little A5 sketch pad and fine liner pen.
It was very exciting to be ushered through from the stage door to the stalls, to see our very own performance from the great Michael Gambon, playing a man tormented by his own thoughts, in this Samuel Becket play.
The text I scribbled above reads..
“Old man looks out of door, out of window. Lies in bed but is kept awake by his subconscious talking to him. Sits in same place throughout the play, live film is projected on to screen in front of him, as he listens to thoughts.”
Despite being only 30 minutes long, the Edinburgh International Festival play is intense and absorbing, and superbly acted by Michael Gambon.
Eh Joe runs until 31st August nightly at the Royal Lyceum Theatre. To book tickets and for more information visit their website HERE.
Just over a week ago the Edinburgh International Festival sent my wife and I along to see the Mariinsky Ballet’s production of Cinderella at the Festival Theatre in Edinburgh. It was a wonderful experience, our first to the ballet but not the last. Here are the sketches I made for the EIF blog and a few words to go along side.
Thanks to the Edinburgh International Festival for taking a chance on EdinburghSketcher and sending me to see some amazing performances throughout this years festival. If any theatres in Edinburgh would like to be sketchreviewed or would like the EdinburghSketcher treatment for promotional use then please get in touch HERE.
“It was the first time Mrs Sketcher and I have been to the ballet, and I think we may have been spoiled. The Mariinsky Ballet from St Petersburg was performing Cinderella, making their Festival debut.
Together with the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra conducted by the great Valery Gergiev the stage was an explosion of colour, drama and emotion.
I think it helped for our first ballet to see such a well known story, but we absolutely loved it. At times it was similar to watching a silent movie, the dancers acting drew us in, and along with the rest of the capacity audience, we were taken on a magical journey.”