Changing landscape at Faskally Wood inspires creative team

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This year’s Enchanted Forest show - set to delight visitors once more with its dazzling visuals and music - will be an event with a difference, with the creative team promising a show that’s edgier than ever thanks to the changing landscape at Pitlochry’s Faskally Wood.

Called Oir an Uisge, Scots Gaelic for ‘Edge of the Water’, the sound and light event is inspired by the natural surroundings of Faskally Wood near Pitlochry, and the loch which forms the dramatic centrepiece to the event.

At the heart of Faskally Wood is Loch Dunmore which, as regular visitors to the show know, is a huge part of the award-winning experience. This year there will be more water to ‘play’ with for the creative team behind The Enchanted Forest, due to Forestry Commission Scotland’s removal of non-native rhododendrons around the loch. The removal of the invasive rhodi plants is part of a programme to encourage biodiversity.

Producer Zoe Squair said:

“The changes this year to the natural landscape around Loch Dunmore have inspired our creative team to think of the space a little differently. The removal of the non-native rhododendrons meant our lighting designers and composers felt closer than ever to the water, which led to the name Oir an Uisge. And the Gaelic name has, in turn, moved our composers to create an original score with a unique edge to it.

“We don’t want to give anything away until opening night, but suffice to say we’re all very excited about what we’ve come up with.”

Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) is in the first year of a five-year project to replace the rhododendron - which it classes as Scotland’s most invasive non-native plant - with more typical riparian vegetation, such as hazel, willow, alder and aspen.

A spokesperson for FCS said:

“Rhododendron ponticum forms dense thickets and shades out native plants. If left uncontrolled, it will eventually dominate the habitat to the virtual exclusion of all other plant life. We plan to replace the rhodi with a range of ornamentals that will provide year-round colour, along with more typical riparian vegetation for this part of the world, with patches of hazel, willow, alder and aspen. We are confident that these works will result in a positive benefit to biodiversity and will continue to provide a colourful backdrop to Loch Dunmore, as well as maintaining the site for The Enchanted Forest.”

This year the event organisers, The Enchanted Forest Community Trust, have released a record 72,000 tickets, which are already selling fast. The organisers fully expect the show to sell out before opening night for the first time in its history.

The event opens to the public on Thursday September 28th with proceeds from that night benefiting three charities: Tayside Mountain Rescue, Alzheimer Scotland and Giraffe.

Ian Sim, chairman of The Enchanted Forest Community Trust, said:

“This year’s Oir an Uisge show is set to be stunning and will show Faskally Wood and its loch in a whole new light, quite literally. We can’t emphasise strongly enough that people should buy tickets in advance to ensure they secure a chance to visit this year.”

Now in its 16th year, The Enchanted Forest has won numerous awards, most recently being crowned winner of the coveted Best Cultural Event at the UK Events Awards in London last winter. The event also holds the current title of Best Large Event and the Chairman’s Award, and is three times winner of Best Cultural Event at the Scottish Event Awards.

Tickets and more information on The Enchanted Forest are available on www.enchantedforest.org.uk