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Alan Cumming and Ian Rankin back vision for Edinburgh city gardens

3rd March 2020

Two of Scotland’s best-loved stars have given their backing to The Quaich Project’s vision for Edinburgh’s West Princes Street Gardens in a new video released today (3 March 2020).

Alan Cumming OBE, who was announced as The Quaich Project’s Overseas Ambassador last year, was joined in the Gardener’s Cottage by world-renowned crime writer and Edinburgh resident, Ian Rankin.

Ian is the latest high-profile individual to become a Quaich Bearer – a group of select ambassadors which include sculptor Andy Scott as well as performers KT Tunstall and Amanda Palmer. The role of the Quaich Bearers is to champion The Quaich Project’s core objective of creating a fully accessible space for all in the heart of Edinburgh.

In the video, Alan reveals he is “obsessed with the idea of reinvigorating traditional spaces.” He says: “Here’s a thing that used to be about bringing people together, the bandstand as a community centre. And we’ve lost that in the very centre of Edinburgh, and we are now trying to recreate that in a lovely, beautiful way that will bring people together in a 21st century way.”

For Ian, he likes how the project responds to diverse groups: He says in the video: “We’ve always got that balancing act between wanting to be modern but also wanting to be traditional. Making sure you respect tradition while being modern and I don’t think anyone is talking about huge radical changes to the structure of the gardens and I’m not talking about shutting the gardens off to the general public, but what they’re talking about is making what’s here more accessible and more beautiful.”

Jules Haston, Director of Development at The Quaich Project, said: “It’s fantastic to have the backing of Alan and it’s an honour to receive Ian Rankin’s endorsement too. Listening to their candid conversation, it’s clear that they both have a deep-rooted emotional connection to the Gardens.

“Both Ian and Alan share our vision of West Princes Street Gardens becoming more accessible and useful space for small scale events run by community groups – a view echoed by the public in our most recent public consultation.”

The Quaich Project is a public-private partnership between the City of Edinburgh Council and the Ross Development Trust. In a recent public consultation (December 2019), more than two thirds of the 1,077 respondents were supportive of the proposed changes to the gardens.