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Heritage in lights

New Town set to dazzle for anniversary

nna Rathband and Christopher Major
Volunteers Anna Rathband and Christopher Major (contributed)

Celebration of Georgian splendour

Edinburgh’s New Town is set to dazzle with a nightly light show to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the original plan.

Georgian Shadows created at a cost of £90,000 will offer a glimpse into the lives of the original residents, as projections and silhouettes beamed across the district’s glitziest and glamorous buildings will bring the Georgians back to life.

The free show which will run each evening until 26 March also chimes with Scotland’s 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.

The event forms a trail through the original Georgian New Town, from St Andrew Square to Charlotte Square with lights flashing every two to three minutes for three hours.

At 39 Castle St, the home of Waverley novelist Sir Walter Scott, the projection will show him at work with his faithful dog Spice by his side.

Special lighting will highlight some of the architectural detail of the centrepiece of Robert Adam’s 1791 design, Bute House, now the home of the First Minister.

Georgian Shadows has been specially designed by Leith based NL Productions, the lighting and production company behind the Enchanted Forest, and the team that turns Edinburgh pink during the MoonWalk.

NL managing director Phil O’Halloran said: “What we wanted to do with this project was peek back in time. We combined modern digital mappings of the buildings, zooming lights down into windows where you might see Georgians sitting down for dinner, or writing a letter.

“It was great to be involved with this project from the outset with the huge group of people involved feeding ideas to each other. There was such passion and direction from the outset.”

In St Andrew Square a lumière display will tell the story of the New Town plan with a digital 3 D fly-through recreating how it looked when it was first built.

The Georgian Shadows display commemorates the 250th anniversary of architect James Craig’s plan for the New Town, and the 28 year old will be projected with his dog.

Edinburgh’s classically inspired Georgian New Town is considered a masterpiece of city planning, and together with the Old Town was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995.

Robin Worsnop, chairman of Edinburgh Tourism Action Group, said: “ETAG is delighted to be supporting this new event and in doing so aims to animate the city in its quietest months.

Roddy Smith, chief executive of Essential Edinburgh, added: “It’s something that will appeal to local people and visitors alike, as they get a chance to sample the unique atmosphere of Edinburgh’s world-renowned city centre New Town in a truly novel way.”

Manuela Calchini, VisitScotland regional partnerships director, said: “Scotland’s history & heritage is defined by its people, both past & present, so it is fitting that Edinburgh’s Georgian Shadows will commemorate the 250th anniversary of James Craig’s plan for the New Town.”

> Festival activities in St Andrew Square and Charlotte Square are being reduced following complaints from business tenants.

While this will mean the absence of the popular Speigeltent, the council says it is working to satisfy all concerned.

A spokesman said: “We are aware of the issues facing St Andrew Square’s owners and festival promoters and this year’s decision to change the use of the space.

“As such, council officers have been working hard to identify alternative locations in the city for promoters such as Salt n’ Sauce, which has traditionally operated the Spiegeltent in St Andrew Square.”

Regarding Charlotte Square, the spokesman said: “Our discussions are ongoing with the Edinburgh International Book Festival to explore additional opportunities to support their plans in 2017.”


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