It is a celebration of Canada’s military past and present, and while it might be one of the largest indoor shows in the world, it isn’t always attracting a young audience.
“We are really trying to connect more to the younger crowd,” said Ian Fraser, artistic director of the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo.
The Halifax Metro Centre show, a mixture of military bands and drill teams combined with civilian acrobatic and singing acts from eight countries, has teamed with Democracy 250 for this year’s event.
The committee, headed by former premiers John Hamm and Russell MacLellan, is marking the 250th anniversary of parliamentary democracy in Nova Scotia, and trying to get youth interested in the democratic process.
Likewise, the Tattoo plans to take to Spring Garden Road this year, with a series of mini parades at noon on days when there aren’t matinee shows. Bands will also make appearances in three metro malls —which will also display Tattoo costumes.
“It’s hard to say, I hope so,” said Fraser about whether young people understand the relevance of the Tattoo. Its objectives include stimulating patriotism, educating youth, and recognizing Canada’s debt to the armed forces and the RCMP.
“We are really making an effort to get out there and relate to the people,” Fraser said. “We are making a lot of tickets available to kids and young people.
“Once they come and see the show, they inevitably go back and say, ‘Wow, I just thought it was military bands and that kind of thing. I did not realize that this covers the entire spectrum of entertainment.’”
A new stage, which includes a 90-foot screen, has been built for this year’s show.