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GLADIATORS, READY!

Press Release   •   May 16, 2014 00:00 BST

Stars of ‘Gladiator’ to choreograph epic once in a lifetime battle performance Over 300 warriors from across the world are working with the stars of Hollywood blockbuster Gladiator to prepare for one of Scotland’s biggest ever battle performances.

Intensive training is underway for re-enactors in countries such as Sweden, Germany, USA, Portugal and Denmark to recreate the momentous Battle of Bannockburn at the Bannockburn Live event on 28-29 June in Stirling.

Battle performance specialists, Clanranald, known for their work on movie blockbusters such as Gladiator, Robin Hood and Thor: The Dark World as well as yet to be released Macbeth (Michael Fassbender) and The Water Diviner (Russell Crowe) will carefully choreograph hundreds of specialist performers worldwide, ensuring the ancient battle techniques of Scotland are accurate and representative of those the Scottish and English troops would have used in 1314.

Each re-enactment group will portray historic characters that would have been at Bannockburn, with many of the performers staying in character for several days, such is the level of detail and commitment from the groups.

Each fight sequence will last 30 minutes – a greatly shortened version of the original battle which took place over two full days on 23-24 June 1314. Battles will be held at 12noon, 2pm and 4pm each day in a special arena enveloped within a grandstand giving full view of the varying strategies used by both the Scottish and the English in the now famous battle.

Outside of the combat, visitors will be able to wander through the 1314 encampment where preparations will be in full swing with men needing fed, weapons being assembled, blades sharpened, servants running errands, kings arguing with advisors, maps being studied, soldiers practising, women mending kit, grooms fetching water for the cavalry and blacksmiths hammering metal.

The countries taking part include: Sweden, Germany, USA, Denmark, Portugal, UK and Ireland and the Netherlands.

Malcolm Roughead, CEO of VisitScotland said: “It’s fantastic that the battle show will have such an international flavour as we welcome visitors from across the globe to this area every year. The battle alone will provide an authentic and exciting spectacle on the day but when you add in the music, the children’s activities, the stories , the clans and food and drink, this event is going to be something really special and not to be missed!”

Charlie Allan, Chief Executive of Clanranald added: “There is interest in this event throughout the world and we have been getting requests in from battle performers from every corner of the globe. It’s the biggest battle performance of its kind ever seen in Scotland and we are working hard to make it a real spectacle

"All our teams train every week, it is a workout like no other. We train in all categories of weapons and fitness – it’s not all about ‘playing’ with swords. Undoubtedly the best part of the live battle performance for me will be being in the middle of the melee watching our men from all over the world bring the battle to life for the thousands of excited visitors. We want to take our audience back to Bannockburn, as it was, 700 years ago and let battle commence!”

Details of the events happening alongside the battle activity include:

• Music Arena The stage will come to life with a top quality mix of folk and contemporary music including two of the country’s finest award-winning artists, Dougie MacLean (Saturday) and Julie Fowlis (Sunday). The stage will be live from 11.15am until 6.45pm. Saturday’s Line Up includes: The Deadly Winters, No More Cages, Siobhan Wilson, King Creosote, Rura, Washington Irving and Saor Patrol. Sunday’s Line Up will include Woodenbox, Treacherous Orchestra, Roddy Hart & the Lonesome Fire, Ross Ainslie & Jarlath Henderson and Cask Strength Ceilidh Band’

• Storyville A festival within a festival, Scotland’s culture and history will be told by a range of artists from writers to stand-up comedians and renowned singer-songwriters. Featured musicians include Karine Polwart and Rachel Sermanni on the Saturday and UK Folk Award 2014 Singer of the Year, Bella Hardy and Idlewild frontman, Roddy Woomble on the Sunday. Authors Alistair Moffat and James Robertson take to the stage to talk about their new books ‘Bannockburn: The Battle for a Nation’ and ‘Robert the Bruce: King of Scots’.

• Family Activity Family activities will be in abundance in Storyville with Living History Scotland, the National Trust for Scotland and other organisations. A chance to make crowns for Kings and Queens, learn how to dress like a Knight, meet a jester, hear amazing stories and puppet shows. Storyville will have creative craft stalls, a book shop (with book signings) and be served by the adjacent bar in the Land of Food and Drink. Additional performers will be announced in the run up to the event.

• Land of Food and Drink Curated by Scotland Food and Drink, visitors to Bannockburn Live can sample and savour delicious Scottish products, whiskies, real ales and more as well as meet the passionate producers behind them. Visitors can picnic here under giant tipis and enjoy Food Talk, a programme of talk and discussion about Scottish Food – its history and provenance.

• Clan & Family Village Around 40 clans from across the UK and overseas will converge at Bannockburn for this historic occasion. Visitors will be invited to meander through the clan society and family community, talk to members and find out about their history and how they can get involved. Audiences can also uncover their own ancestry with ScotlandsPeople, the official genealogical resource for Scotland with expert advice and demonstrations. Visitors will also get the opportunity to find out if they were related to anyone that fought at the Battle thanks to the Strathclyde University’s Bannockburn Genealogy Research Project which uses DNA testing.

From Friday 27 – Sunday 29 June, all eyes will be on Stirling as it hosts a spectacular weekend of events including Pipefest (27 June), the Armed Forces Day National Event (28 June) and Bannockburn Live (28-29 June).

The weekend provides an unmissable showcase of 700 years of history, pride in our armed forces, and will create a significant tourism boost to the city and surrounding area in 2014, the year of Homecoming Scotland. Bannockburn Live, organised by VisitScotland and Unique Events, is expected to welcome up to 20,000 people over the weekend of 28-29 June with a feast of music, battle performances, food and drink and family entertainment planned from 10am – 7pm.

Tickets are available at www.bannockburnlive.com Adults (14yrs+) £20; Children (5-13yrs) £12.50; Family ticket £55.00; Children under 5 yrs go free. Due to capacity, the new Battle of Bannockburn visitor centre (opened in March 2014) will only be open to King’s Ticket Holders holders during the Bannockburn Live event.

The Clanranald Trust, a recognised charity, is an educational organisation established in 1995. The members of the trust are dedicated to promoting increased awareness of Scottish Culture and Heritage through interactive education and entertainment. For more information, visit www.clanranald.org 

For further information contact:

Kate Turnbull

Corporate Press Manager

0131 472 2324

Out of hours media enquiries: 07699 766986

Notes to Editors:

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  • VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland. 
  • The organisation has three key roles:
  1. To market Scotland to all parts of the world to attract visitors
  2. To provide information – and inspiration – to visitors and potential visitors so they get the best out of a visit to Scotland
  3. To provide quality assurance to visitors and quality advice to the industry and partners to help the industry meet and strive to exceed customer expectations
  • VisitScotland works together with tourism businesses to make tourism a success for everyone and ensure the industry continues to grow.
  • The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
  • 2014 is the year Scotland welcomes the world, when it hosts the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles and more than 800 Homecoming events throughout the country.For more information on Homecoming Scotland 2014, go to www.visitscotland.com 
  • The VisitScotland Information Centre network is a unique face-to-face channel engaging with around five million visitors and locals each year. Everyone who uses a VisitScotland Information Centre goes on to spend an additional £5.35, generating over £24 million for Scotland’s economy. 
  • According to a recent Deloitte study, tourism employs 270,000 people in Scotland in 20,000 diverse businesses. The same study calculates that the industry contributes £11 billion annually (direct and indirect impact, including day visits) and supports around 10 per cent of employment in Scotland. Almost 16 million tourists take overnight trips to Scotland.
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