From Harry Potter to the Tattoo: Michael Braithwaite on this year’s event

His globe trotting career has seen him work with Warner Brothers on the Harry Potter films, and help produce the London Olympics.

But Michael Braithwaite is attracting a new audience as he gears up for his second year in charge of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

New Zealand born Michael is the first non-military figure to direct the Tattoo and had huge success with last year’s show Voices which relaunched the event after the pandemic.

He talks to Scottish Field ahead of this year’s instalment, Stories, and said he is already locked in to direct the show in 2024.

‘The huge success of Voices naturally generates the pressure of expectation as to what will follow,’ Michael said. 

‘The team and I use this as an opportunity. The opportunity to try new things, to do better, and to continue to surprise and delight our audiences. 

‘There is pressure certainly, but it is the fuel we thrive on as we build a show.’

Michael said it has been challenging and different to work with the military, bringing together more than 800 performers from Norway, Trinidad and Tobago, New Zealand, and the USA.

‘Bringing performers together from across the world is a big challenge, but one we are well-practised in,’ he said.

‘We are in regular communication with all our acts as the Show develops, sharing musical and staging ideas, designs, and themes. 

‘We make good use of the latest video conferencing technology but also recognise the need to be together in person on occasion as we develop ideas.

‘When I’m building a show whether large or small it always starts with this question – “What is the story we wish to tell?”

‘Everything else, casting, design, staging and production flows from that moment.

‘Each show comes with its own set of challenges and restrictions; working in an historic building like Edinburgh Castle is no different. 

‘We have been privileged to have made Edinburgh Castle our home each August for the past 70 years. This is both an honour and a responsibility. One that we don’t take lightly.

‘This experience means creative and production teams are always well aware of the staging challenges we face but have a fantastic working relationship with the Castle.’ 

Michael also told how his New Zealand background has influenced this year’s show. 

‘Being from New Zealand shows in my work,’ he said. 

‘New Zealand has only been inhabited for around 800 years, so all New Zealanders from Māori to more recent arrivals from Europe, Asia and beyond have travel and a wealth of cultural influences at their core. 

‘This makes for a society that is extremely rich in creative inspiration and will certainly have found its way into how I approached the creation and direction of this year’s Tattoo.’

For tickets for this year’s Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo head to –


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