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Standard Life Opening Event: Deep Time

59 Productions, with music by Mogwai / in association with The University of Edinburgh and Edinburgh Castle

The Standard Life Opening Event: Deep Time is an epic, outdoor, public artwork, bringing together spectacular animation, lighting and music, and delving deep into 350 million years of Edinburgh’s history.

This dazzling opening to the 2016 festival season is set to a specially compiled soundtrack of music by Scottish rock band Mogwai and is produced by Tony Award-winning 59 Productions, creators of the acclaimed Harmonium Project that launched the 2015 International Festival.

The Standard Life Opening Event: Deep Time reimagines the ancient site from which Edinburgh sprang, using iconic Edinburgh Castle and Castle Rock – a volcanic plug of 350 million-year-old dolerite – as the rugged canvas for spellbinding projections and illuminations inspired by the deep geological history of this unique location.

Edinburgh-born James Hutton is considered the father of modern geology: it was Hutton who in the 18th century proposed that the Earth was billions of years old, drawing on evidence he found in the city around him. Deep Time celebrates Edinburgh as the city that inspired our understanding of the world’s deep history, and Hutton’s ideas of discovery and logic through the prism of time and geology. And in Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, the Standard Life Opening Event: Deep Time also reflects on Edinburgh Castle, one of the longest continually inhabited sites in Scotland – from a Bronze Age settlement to the spectacular edifice we see today, across almost 3,000 years of Scottish history.

Blending trailblazing technology, narrative drama and emotional storytelling, the Standard Life Opening Event: Deep Time embraces the work of academics from across science, arts and humanities, celebrating the wonders and beauties of the natural, the geological and the man-made, exploring the very foundations of Edinburgh itself.

59 Productions combine technology and art to tell amazing stories. They created the video design for the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony, celebrated the 500-year history of Hampton Court Palace by retelling its five centuries of history using projections, music and pyrotechnics, and won a Tony Award for their animation and projections for Broadway production, An American in Paris.

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Free tickets will be required for the event arena. All tickets have now gone. 

Created by 59 Productions
Music by Mogwai
Commissioned by Edinburgh International Festival
Presented by Edinburgh International Festival and 59 Productions
In association with the University of Edinburgh and Edinburgh Castle

More information about some of the artists

59 Productions


University of Edinburgh

Edinburgh Castle

7 August 2016

  • 20 minutes
  • Free

This event was part of a previous International Festival and is therefore unavailable to book or watch. The 2021 programme will be announced in June.