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Creative Director

Job type



1-3 Cockburn Street, Edinburgh

Reports to

Chief Executive

The Creative Director is a newly created and strategically important leadership role within the organisation, responsible for setting the creative vision for the Tattoo’s unique productions in Edinburgh and internationally. With the ever-increasing expectations from audiences for spectacle and innovation that excite and thrill, the Creative Director will develop and adapt the content of the Tattoo to maintain its brand and reputation as a world leader in the field of large-scale, outdoor entertainment.

Purpose of the role

The Creative Director will be responsible to the Chief Executive to deliver Tattoos and other events of varying shapes and sizes which ensure that creative content and talent acquisition is befitting of the Tattoo’s world-class brand and reputation, and adapts to changing consumer preferences within allocated budgets and operational feasibility.

In delivering the key responsibilities the Creative Director will work closely with the Head of Operations, internal and external Production team. The Creative Director is a member of the Senior Management Team.

The ideal candidate should have an appreciation of the Tattoo’s broader charitable aims and potential to project Scotland and the UK to the rest of the world and also demonstrate understanding and consideration for military music, spectacle, ceremony and those who create it.

Key duties

  • Set the creative vision for the productions and provide their creative leadership.
  • Oversee the highest quality of delivery and execution in all Tattoo productions.
  • Continue to develop and innovate the unique spectacle provided by the Tattoo to sustain its global reputation and build new generations of fans.
  • Devise programme themes, narrative and content in order to produce a world-class military tattoo and other events in Edinburgh each summer and internationally as required.
  • Determine, develop and oversee delivery of music, sound, set design, projection, narration, lighting and special effects to produce shows which meet and, where possible, exceed audience expectations.
  • Identify and commission diverse inspirational military and civilian acts from all over the globe and world-class musical composers/musical arrangers and support them to maximise their creative potential to benefit the Tattoo.
  • Identify and commission innovative new technologies and production techniques to further enhance the Tattoo spectacle and audience experience.
  • Oversee the use of performance venues for the shows and conduct rehearsal programmes.
  • In addition to developing the core annual Edinburgh Tattoo, devise and implement a number of different creative models of Tattoo which, practically and economically, can be delivered to audiences around the world.
  • Work in a close and productive relationship with broadcast/media partners to ensure effective and compelling content capture and distribution of the Tattoo to the widest audiences.
  • Provide regular progress reports on production matters to the Chief Executive and the Board.
  • Arrange with military and civilian agencies for the performance of the Tattoo and similar events at external engagements within the terms of reference approved by the Company and the Ministry of Defence.
  • As a shared objective with the Head of Operations, ensure the close scrutiny and coordination of the production budgets, financial agreements and contractual arrangements for performers, as well as companies and other individuals supporting the production function.
  • Determine the requirement for the shows in order that the Head of Operations can bid in accordance with domestic and international defense procedures for bands and other military assets to appear at The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
  • Represent the company at relevant functions, conferences, delegations and interviews with the media as required.
  • Support Head of Operations and the rest of the company to ensure the highest standards of health and safety, welfare and protection for performers, production team and audience, and ethical engagement policies for paid and volunteer contributors.
  • Encourage and support the professional development of the production teams.

Senior management team

  • Assist in the setting and delivery of strategic and operational objectives and ensure all creative content is aligned.
  • Work with the Senior Management team to agree a coordinated approach across the organisation; offer stability, and empower and enable our people to move forward together.
  • Represent and act as an ambassador for the organisation including hosting of VIPs during events.
  • Ensure the Tattoo’s commitment to economic, environmental, social and cultural sustainment.
  • Liaise with the Board of Trustees/Directors and other committees as requested.
  • Other duties as reasonably requested by the Chief Executive.

Essential skills, attributes and characteristics

  • Experience of creative design and delivery of large-scale, world-class public spectacle productions.
  • Detailed understanding of the demands of live events with massed cast and audiences.
  • A zest for creative, technical and production innovation allied to respect for heritage and Tattoo traditions.
  • Outstanding creative vision and communication skills to support implementation and delivery.
  • Understanding of the growing expectations of ticket-buying audiences for major entertainment and cultural productions.
  • The ability to collaborate, build and motivate teams and work in partnership.
  • Appreciation and experience of the importance and needs of broadcast/media partners to build effective electronic distribution of major productions.
  • Understanding of, and appreciation for, military music, spectacle and ceremony and those who create it.
  • Enthusiasm for traditional and contemporary Scottish music, performance cultures and other music genres.
  • Diverse and multinational cultural expertise to help the Tattoo reflect and appeal to global audiences.
  • A track record demonstrating work in a variety of large and small venues, outdoors and under cover, and of working to budget and resource constraints.
  • Effective collaboration with other key disciplines including Marketing, Communications, Commercial, Operations, Legal, HR and other internal and external stakeholders.
  • An appreciation of the Tattoo’s broader charitable aims and potential to project Scotland and the UK to the rest of the world.

Living in Edinburgh

Regularly topping polls for the best city to work and live in, Edinburgh is small enough to feel intimate and large enough to offer everything you could need.

Famous for its Festivals, Edinburgh offers a wide range of entertainment with a number of Michelin Star restaurants, eateries for every palette, top class theatres, and a wide range of sporting and leisure facilities.

Edinburgh remains the most prosperous city outwith London but offers a different pace of life, perfect for family living and work-life balance.

Scotland’s capital is steeped in history yet cosmopolitan, and provides a perfect gateway for adventuring beyond the city limits in your free time. You are never more than a short trip to the coast, scenic towns and villages, and rolling mountains.

In the heart of Edinburgh’s old town, The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo offices make a wonderful base. We are just a stone’s throw from Waverley Station, Edinburgh Bus Station, and many bus, tram, walking and cycle routes.

Additional information

We anticipate this role to be full-time however there may be a degree of flexibility for the right candidate and we are open to discussion of alternative working models. The role is based at the Tattoo offices in central Edinburgh, but flexible and agile working is available. The role is likely to involve significant international travel and will be offered initially as an executive service contract of 3-5 years.

How to apply

Please send a CV and letter of application, addressing how your experience matches the job description and person specification, to: Heather Newill, Director AEM International, either by email to or by post to AEM international Ltd, 22 Well Close Square, Framlingham, Suffolk, IP13 9DS.

The letter of application should be no longer than 3 sides of A4.

All applications will be acknowledged by AEM international.

For an informal conversation about the job, please call:

Heather Newill on + 44 (0) 1728 660026.

Deadline for applications: Friday 3rd April 2020

Intended interview dates: 20/21 May 2020