If you caught this year’s Edinburgh Festival opening ceremony, you’ll have got a taster of another of Scotland’s favourite annual spectacles: The Enchanted Forest.
Perthshire’s multi-award-winning sound and light show in the woods is set to shimmer this October with its most ambitious display to date. Among the creative talent is 59 Productions, the team behind the Standard Life Opening Event: Deep Time, which launched this year’s Edinburgh International Festival. The spectacular public artwork saw Edinburgh Castle and Castle Rock transformed into a vast canvas for digitally animated projections inspired by the city’s past and set to a specially compiled soundtrack by rock band Mogwai.
Now in its 15th year, The Enchanted Forest sound and light show at Faskally Wood, Pitlochry prides itself on raising the creative bar with a changing theme each year. While the details of this year’s show, SHIMMER, are still under wraps, visitors can expect a host of new creative talent and shimmering displays including a larger-than-life character and a walk-through ‘wall’ of light.
59 Productions, one of the UK’s leading digital animation companies, has opened the last two Edinburgh Festivals. Other credits include the War Horse musical and the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony. 59 Productions is working on a projection which, promises creative director Leo Warner, will stay close to the theme of an enchanted wood. For Leo it’s a welcome return to the Pitlochry area. 59 Productions’ very first video installation featured at Pitlochry Festival Theatre in 2003.
Vision Mechanics, a Leith-based design agency with clients that include National Museum of Scotland and Scottish Opera, is behind one of the larger-than-life characters that will appear at this year’s show, designed by creative director Kim Bergsagel. “We build big stuff and we try and make interactivity an element so people can get involved,” said Symon Macintyre of Vision Mechanics. One of Vision Mechanics’ most recent art projects, Drift, was installed on beaches in Norway and recreated the feelings of being adrift and alone at sea, inspired by the true story of Betty Mouat, a Shetland crofter who was cast adrift in the North Sea for eight days.
Also involved in this year’s Enchanted Forest are digital artists Squidsoup, who are building an immersive, walk-through light installation that builds on previous works they have exhibited around the world. “My background is in digital media but I’ve always been frustrated by the screen and the fact that you can’t go in there and touch anything,” explained Anthony Rowe, founder and creative director of Squidsoup.
This year’s Enchanted Forest event, which runs from Thursday 29th September to Friday 30th October, is led by the multi-award-winning creative team of Derek Allan as producer and creative director, Kate Bonney and Simon Hayes as lighting designers, and RJ McConnell and Jon Beales providing sound design and composition. Last year the show attracted a record 62,000 visitors and smashed box office records. This year, more than 65,000 tickets went on sale. Organisers The Enchanted Forest Community Trust are advising customers to book early to avoid disappointment.
The event, which extended its season due to popular demand, brings in an estimated £2 million to the local economy. It was recently shortlisted in two categories of the Scottish Event Awards, and beat off stiff competition from Scotland’s top tourism businesses to win the coveted Scottish Rural Award for Tourism & Hospitality 2016.
Ian Sim, acting chairman of The Enchanted Forest, said:
“The exciting, and challenging, thing about The Enchanted Forest is that it changes theme each year. We’re particularly proud of the creativity that is going into the SHIMMER show. We think this will definitely light up the woods and we encourage both locals and tourists to make the trip to The Enchanted Forest to witness the magic for themselves.”
For more information and to book tickets visit www.enchantedforest.org.uk.