Project manager's eight months of planning behind Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo

Construction of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo's castle at Wellington's Westpac Stadium.
MAARTEN HOLL/FAIRFAX NZ

Construction of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo's castle at Wellington's Westpac Stadium.

Behind every cast of 1200 is a project manager with a really, really long spreadsheet.

Dilys Grant is in charge of project managing the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, due to trumpet into Wellington's Westpac Stadium on February 18.

In fact it's the longest spreadsheet in the New Zealand Festival's 30-year history, with hour-by-hour breakdowns of the performers' movements for when they arrive, rehearse and perform in the Tattoo over four nights, Grant said.

Dilys Grant, project manager for the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo when it comes to New Zealand.
OLIVER COLEMAN/SUPPLIED

Dilys Grant, project manager for the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo when it comes to New Zealand.

Since May, Grant and a team of four had been organising more than 20,000 meals, luggage arrangements for more than 30,000kg of suitcases and instruments, and everything else in between. 

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"It's a very exciting sort of challenge, to see this amount of logistical needs and everything come together, and we do it really well," Grant said.

Grant project managed the event when it came to Wellington in 2000 – the first time it had ever left Edinburgh.

"That was a pretty mammoth task." she said.

Everything was done by fax back then, and Grant said sometimes that made things easier.

"Now with Skype and all the other things it can actually make a big project like this more complicated." 

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"But with the level of technology it is a far more sophisticated sound and more sophisticated lighting than 15 years ago, yet the basic premise is still the same."

The Waimatuku Highland Pipe Band, hailing from near Invercargill, are the southern-most act attending the Tattoo, and also feature some of the event's youngest and oldest performers.

Kirsten Devery, 12, is certainly the youngest drummer who will perform in the show, said the band's fundraising liaison officer, Ann Robbie. 

"We have four drummers under 20 and four of our piping core are under 20, then we've got a couple of people in their 70s," Robbie said.

They made up the crew of 21 who were "dealing with getting a small ATR (twin-engine turboprop plane) out of Invercargill" to make it to the event.

"It's an exciting adventure for everyone, it's a little bit daunting but it's the experience of a lifetime and for a lot of our people it will be a dream come true."

BY THE NUMBERS

30,000 kilos of luggage

20,240 meals served 

361 coach movements to transport the performers around Wellington

34 of the 65 Tattoo events in Edinburgh have featured representation from New Zealand, the first in 1955 with pipers from the 1st Armoured Car Regiment, formerly known as the New Zealand Scottish Regiment

13 million audience members in Edinburgh have watched the Tattoo since it began in 1950

40 countries and around 100 million television viewers tune in to the Tattoo

 - Stuff

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