The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo has revealed the dynamic line-up of performers which are set to grace Edinburgh Castle’s iconic Esplanade from this Friday (3 August) for this year’s ‘The Sky’s the Limit’ showcase.
From Australia and Oman to Malawi and the Shetland Isles, producers have explored all points of the compass to select a world-class programme of home-grown and overseas talent to bring this year’s spectacle to life between 3-25 August. The 8,800 nightly audiences can expect to be captivated by a colourful cultural showcase and thrilling display of music, dance, military performance and technology, all against the backdrop of Edinburgh Castle.
This year’s theme, The Sky’s the Limit, has been chosen in celebration of the 100-year anniversary of the Royal Air Force (RAF) and marries with Scotland’s Year of Young People. Each performance, coupled with stunning projections and, in a first for the show, laser technology, which will take the audience on the incredible journey following man’s obsession with flight, including space travel.
International performers this year include, for the first time, the Royal Cavalry of the Sultanate of Oman’s Pipers on horseback and its all-female marching Band who will take audiences to the sweeping expanses of the desert and encourage everyone to look up to the Arabian Sky which will be visualised by extraordinary projections on the Castle walls. The Central Band of the Czech Armed Forces and Ondras Military Art Ensemble, a 113-strong group, will also make their Tattoo debut as they remember the 100th anniversary of the Czechoslovak Independence (1918) through traditional music and dance.
Energy levels will be raised by The Banda Monumental de Mexico who will bring a carnival atmosphere through Mariachi music and dance, including a rendition of Luis Fonsi’s now legendary Despacito.
Returnees include the Tattoo favourites the Highland Dancers from Scotland and beyond, the Top Secret Drum Corps and the Massed Pipes and Drums – a 250 strong contingent of the UK’s finest military musicians – who will enthral audiences with their colossal and thrilling musical performances renowned across the globe.
First-time performers The Edinburgh Girls’ High School from Malawi will join girls from the Mary Erskine School choir to form a troupe of 40 young people that will perform in harmony during the main show before playing an integral part of the event’s finale, a rendition of Amazing Grace.
The school, known as the Edinburgh Girls’ High School because of the close link with the Mary Erskine School is now in its fifth year with a total roll of 160 girls in the region of Engcongolweni, near Mzuzu.
“The time has finally come to reveal a magical line-up of talent set to keep the audience on the edge of their seats from start to finish. It’s an enthralling 90-minute spectacle that’s set to be one of our best shows yet with an army of young performers to the fore.
“One of the remarkable characteristics of the youthful is the optimism and their ability to not be limited by boundaries – barriers between people, communities or opportunities. This is a celebration of that mindset and we hope for the show to be an inspiration to both young and old, to keep this childlike spirit alive in all aspects of our lives from our ambitions to our interactions with others.
“Audiences can expect to be spellbound by the sights, sounds and electric atmosphere created by our 2018 cast with incredible light and laser technology thrown in for good measure. It is all about unleashing human potential, not just in the Show but in life generally.
“Now that the cast has descended on Scotland’s capital from around the globe, we’re putting the final touches to the show in preparation of Friday’s opening performance. We are so excited to bring such a spectacular variety of performers to Edinburgh for a month of magic and to join together to celebrate the Year of Young People and the centenary of the RAF.”
Brigadier David Allfrey
Chief Executive and Producer of The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo
“In our 100th anniversary year, I’m really delighted that the Royal Air Force has the lead for this year’s Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo – a very special event in a very special year. Scotland has always been a vital part of that RAF story. From one hundred years ago at Montrose Station, the first operational military airfield, to today at RAF Lossiemouth on the Moray coast, one of the RAF’s principal bases, protecting UK and NATO airspace. I am also proud to say that Scotland was the start of my own personal story and RAF career.
“Throughout RAF100 and Scotland’s Year of Young People, the greatest legacy we can build is to inspire and unlock the potential of new generations, so that together, we can help shape our next century. The theme for this year’s Tattoo - “The Sky’s The Limit’ - could not, therefore, be more appropriate. I know that you will have a wonderful evening.”
Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier
Chief of the Air Staff
“The Tattoo is a terrific showcase to display the diversity and talents of our Armed Forces personnel, while celebrating the rich cultural heritage of the United Kingdom.
“The participation of Defence people in this word class show provides them with opportunities to engage with the live audience, military performers from around the world and senior figures from key UK allies and partner nations.”
Minister for Defence People and Veterans