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Full circle for leading stage designer after he helps produce festive programme work for Eden Court in Inverness

By Philip Murray

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Kenneth Macleod.
Kenneth Macleod.

A LEADING theatre designer who has worked on major national productions is delighted to have come full circle to play a key role in a Highland venue's Christmas programme.

Kenneth Macleod has helped to design the centrepiece of Eden Court's festive displays – a huge 30ft Norwegian spruce and its decorations, which the theatre promises to be “the biggest, most beautiful Christmas tree you will see in Inverness”.

As well as aiming to "shine a little light" after the tumultuous events of 2020, the tree includes a moving tribute to those who have so far lost their lives in the Covid-19 pandemic. The tree itself includes more than 3000 lights – representing each of Scotland's coronavirus deaths – while over 50 lights will make up the beautiful star adorning the top of the spruce, or one for each of the Highlands' victims.

Mr Macleod said he was "thrilled" to have been asked to design the Christmas tree and added that he is hopeful that its beauty and moving message "will shine a light in the darkness of this year".

Designing the tree also marks a return to the site where Mr Macleod's career first began.

In the years since Inverness-born Kenneth first stepped foot through the doors of Eden Court, he has gone on to forge a storied career for himself.

An artist's impression of the tree.
An artist's impression of the tree.

After later graduating from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the California Institute of the Arts he has gone on to work on productions for the National Youth Ballet, the MacRobert Arts Centre, Perth Theatre, Dundee Rep, the Faena Hotel on Miami Beach, and for Carnival/Cunard among others.

His work on The Metamorphosis for Vanishing Point also saw him nominated for best design in this year's Critics Award for Theatre Scotland.

He has also been involved in associated design work for the Edinburgh International Festival and for next year's UK national tour of Bedknobs & Broomsticks for Disney Theatrical.

But Eden Court, where he has also previously done work on productions of The Return and Not About Heroes, holds a special place in his heart – and he was delighted to be playing a role in its 2020 festive programme.

"This is where everything started for me," he said. "I took part in classes as a kid, did Higher Drama and then worked as an usher. Eden Court was a launchpad for my career and it inspired me to become a theatre designer. I’m excited to be back and to contribute to this lovely Christmas celebration."

As well as the tree, Eden Court's grounds will also be home to more than 50 lanterns – produced by Highland primary school pupils – which will sit around the tree's base.

For more information about the Glasgow-based designer's portfolio visit www.kenneth-macleod.com.

Related news: 30ft Christmas tree arrives at Eden Court

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