The new PLACE programme announced yesterday at St Bride’s will support French street performers who are coming to the Street Party on Hogmanay.

The three party financing deal among The Scottish Government, The City of Edinburgh Council and Festivals Edinburgh will pay for an international arts company to take over and reimagine segments of Edinburgh’s street party on Hogmanay each year.

This year it will allow Edinburgh’s Hogmanay to invite the spectacle of the French company Transe Express to come to the capital with circus, aerial work, popular, folk and classical music all adding to the #WeLoveYou theme this year.

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay will ring in the New Year celebrating Scotland and its cultural connections with the world. Transe Express are just some of the European artists invited to celebrate the beginning of 2019 with us.

Striking, colourful and massive opera singers will roll along Princes Street in bulbous skirts singing funked-up famous classical arias to the accompaniment of crazy wild drummers. The anarchic drummers will get up close with revellers getting everyone dancing before taking to the skies like a bedroom mobile suspended 25 metres above the street, banging out their fiesta beats.

Massive Opera singers above bulbous skirts
Transe Express will bring their massive opera singers with bulbous skirts to roll along Princes Street

For Edinburgh’s Hogmanay yesterday’s announcement means an additional £400,000 is available over the next three years to help with the costs of introducing some spectacles to Edinburgh on 1 January.

The funding will support ollaborative performance and professional exchange between these globally renowned international artists and local artists at the world’s biggest New Year celebration and the home of Hogmanay.

Members of Transe Express suspended in mid air as if on a mobile
You will have to watch out for members of Transe Express suspended in mid air as if on a mobile

Each year the world-leading cultural partner will collaborate with Scottish companies to create large-scale interventions along Princes Street, at the heart of the Hogmanay celebrations. In front of crowds of thousands, these innovative partnerships will result not only in new work, but skills development and the exchange of ideas across international boundaries, as well as growth in the organisational capacity, competency and creative practice of all partners.

This year Transe Express offers interaction and professional development opportunities for Scotland’s aerialists in collaboration with All or Nothing Aerial Dance company.

As part of this exchange there will be workshops where Scottish-based aerial artists, some for the first time, will have the opportunity to experience aerial work on a crane and Transe Express’s bespoke rigging, exploring the nature of street performance on this scale.

Giant dolls
Giant dolls all part of Transe Express

Charlie Wood and Ed Bartlam, directors of Underbelly who produce Edinburgh’s Hogmanay on behalf of The City of Edinburgh Council said: “There are many best bits of working on Edinburgh’s Hogmanay but one of the best is being able to ask artists from around the world to be part of it. What PLACE does is allow us to take this to another level – with a programme that will make Edinburgh the ultimate place to see in the new year anywhere in the world. We’re delighted that Transe Express have accepted our first invitation and we’re confident that they will astound and amaze our audience.

“Thanks to the PLACE programme we’re also able to create opportunities with this world-class company for local artists to collaborate and develop their skills and knowledge, and we’re delighted that our partner, All or Nothing will work this year with Transe Express and we look forward to presenting their collaboration in just a couple of months time at Edinburgh’s Hogmanay.”

Fiona Hyslop addressing the invited audience at St Bride's
Cabinet Secretary Fiona Hyslop at the announcement of PLACE funding at St Bride’s Community Centre

On the PLACE programme, Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop, said: “The investment is about ensuring Festivals can continue to develop and innovate so they can be world leading in a competitive market, to share the cultural experiences of the Festivals more widely across Scotland and to help more residents and communities of Edinburgh to be part of the Festivals city.

“The Scottish Government is committed to sustaining and improving Edinburgh’s position as the world’s leading festival city. This partnership will provide £15 million over the next five years and builds on the £21 million we have provided to the Edinburgh Festivals through the Expo fund since 2008.”

Cllr Donald Wilson
Culture Convener Donald Wilson addressing the invited audience at St Bride’s

Councillor Donald Wilson, Culture and Communities Convener for the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “Edinburgh’s Hogmanay will be the first opportunity to experience the benefits of the PLACE Programme, when Underbelly brings an international arts company to reimagine parts of the city’s iconic Street Party. We’ll see Transe Express partner with Scottish companies to create an incredible large-scale masterpiece along Princes Street, in front of crowds of thousands.

“This means revellers in Edinburgh will be the first to see this exciting international collaboration, which would not be possible without the joint support of the Council, Scottish Government and Festivals through our pioneering PLACE programme.”

(PLACE means Platforms for Creative Excellence)