Entertainment + Leisure | 1960 | Sound | Colour
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Celebrations for the sixteenth year of the Edinburgh Festival, which began in 1947. 1960's
In the shadow of Edinburgh Castle, people hurry by. There is a poster advertising the Scottish National Orchestra concert in the Usher Hall. A view of the audience in front is seen and there are banks of seats behind, too.
In the darkness outside there is a statue of a man on a rearing horse, fountains play and bunting flutters. A firework display begins. Back inside the Usher Hall, the orchestra is playing “Festival Overture”.
The sun is setting behind the ruins and Grecian pillars on Calton Hill. Below Arthur’s Seat, cars are driving past Holyrood Palace, ancient home of Scotland’s kings and queens.
In St Giles’ Cathedral on the Royal Mile, a service is to take place to mark the Opening of the Festival. The choir arrives wearing the ceremonial dress of red cloaks with ermine collars, followed by the women members in long red gowns and high white collars.
In the castle, visitors from all over the world listen to guides who tell them Edinburgh’s history.
The Royal Scottish Academy and the National Gallery of Scotland show international
Exhibitions at Festival time. William McTaggart, president of the Academy, Anne Redpath and William (??) architect of Edinburgh’s new theatre, view some of the exhibits, particularly the Modigliani portrait.
The Royal Botanic Gardens house the Museum of Modern Art where there are paintings by Scottish artist, John Maxwell. There are flowers everywhere. An Indian film actress, here for the Film Festival, is making her way to the Indian Art Exhibition at the Royal Scottish Museum. She sees musical instruments, masks and statues.
Sidney Nolan’s famous paintings of Australian, Ned Kelly, leader of a gang who terrorised north-east Victorians are also exhibited.
George Heriot’s School, tucked between Flodden Wall and the castle has a demonstration of Scottish Country Dancing by a team of boys, in kilts, and girls in long white dresses with tartan sashes. Nearby is the old court jewellers to generations of Scottish kings
In the Freemason’s Hall Michael Roll prepares for his piano recital, and Yehudi Menuhin, accompanied by his sister, Hepzibah, prepares for his performance, too.
Marlene Dietrich arrives by plane at Turnhouse Airport. She is met by the Earl of Harwood and they depart by taxi. It is Marlene’s first visit to Edinburgh and she says
that she is enchanted by the city.
There is a pipe band playing along Princes Street as festive banners recall the names of composers.
Beyond the Scott Monument, the Playhouse Theatre is host to Scottish, Irish, English and European plays.
In the Shakespeare Exhibition there are paintings depicting the playwright’s life. A bus goes past a poster advertising the play of Henry IV produced by Joan Littlewood at the Assembly Hall.
The Queen, patron of the 19th Edinburgh Film Festival, attends a performance of Scottish films, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh.
King Vidor is presented with the Golden Thistle Award of the Edinburgh International
Festival at a special luncheon party.
In the evening the Queen and Prince Philip attend a concert by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra at the Usher Hall where an audience of over 2000 gather to honour the Queen.
At the King’s Theatre there are operas by Dvorak, Janacek, Gallipot and Smetana, whose work, Dalibor, is being performed for the first time in Britain. The Empire Theatre has the Stuttgart State Theatre Ballet performing a ballet by Jacques Ibert.
There is a touch of satire at the Lyceum. Two ceremonial performers in masks have a fierce fight with evil-looking curved swords. There is much slashing of the swords, then, before serious damage is done, one steps on the toe of the other whereupon there is exaggerated indication of real injury and pain!
Les Ballets Africains, African dancers, have an energetic performance with athletic acrobats and drums.
On the Castle Esplanade over a quarter of a million people gather every year to watch the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. This year there is the Barbados Jazz Band, the Canadian Highland Dancers from British Columbia and the massed pipes and drums of the Highland regiments.
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