Theory of Evolution

There is a new drone light show called Evolution coming to the skies of Bristol in December, which promises to take its audience on a journey through time and space. To find out more we caught up with Celestial co-founder and chief creative officer John Hopkins and Yuup founder Dominic Mills who have collaborated to create the event.

Evolution, a new cinematic drone light show will be illuminating the skies of Bristol this December. This one-of-a-kind event is brought to you by Celestial, the creators of drone light shows for brands across the globe; Yuup, the local experiences company and venue partner Seat Unique Stadium, home of Gloucestershire County Cricket Club.

Dominic, could you tell us about how and why Yuup and Celestial chose to collaborate on this event?
Yuup is about connecting local communities with artists and creators who can provide exciting new experiences. When I first met the team at Celestial, I was blown away by their spectacular work and inspired to create an opportunity for many others to experience what I believe is the future of entertainment. Evolution, the drone light show that Celestial has created, is truly epic. We are beyond excited to share this spectacular experience with the people of Bristol this December.

John, tell us about Evolution
Evolution is a drone art show like never before, promising to take audiences on a mesmerising journey through time and space. The narrated story starts with the Big Bang, the explosive inception of the universe and journeys into the emergence of the sun, our solar system and the planets that inhabit it. The cosmic voyage, accompanied by an original cinematic narration and soundtrack, guides viewers through the origins of conscious life on Earth, from the humble beginnings of single-cell organisms to the awe-inspiring reign of the dinosaurs, and culminates in a celebration of the diverse tapestry of life on Earth today. It takes place on 20 and 21 December at Seat Unique Stadium, the Gloucestershire Cricket Ground located just off Gloucester Road in Bristol, with a late afternoon show and an evening show on both nights.

How is a show like this produced?
The show design follows a Hollywood-style production process akin to crafting a short-animated film. From the initial brief, script, and storyboard, the specialist animators use 3D-animation software to craft intricate shapes and seamless transitions. This software then computes the ‘choreography’ for each specific drone, flight paths, formation changes, light effects, and the precise timing for each moment. The production itself is delivered via hundreds of drones, commanded by specialised drone piloting software. This software sends commands to the aircraft, specifying take-off times, and continuously monitoring their status. The wealth of real-time information about each drone is what ensures the accurate and synchronised movements of hundreds of drones simultaneously.

What will the show offer to those who attend?
The science, tech and creativity of the production culminates into immersive themes of transformation, growth and the perpetual dance of change. Audiences can expect an epic-scale theatrical event that fuses cutting-edge technology and creativity to spark the imagination and stir the soul. This spellbinding show is a celebration of the living world, a captivating homage to the past, a celebration of the present and glimpse into the horizons of the future. This should not be missed!

Dominic, who should go and see it and what else can they expect?
Everyone should go! The event is suitable for the whole family and for all ages to enjoy. At the time of writing, nearly 20,000 people have purchased tickets from diverse communities across Bristol and further afield. We’ve got one group travelling all the
way from Scotland! We’re also working hard to make the experience as inclusive as possible. For example, there will be a British Sign Language Interpretation of the show available at the evening performance on 20 December.

Evolution is not only offering a documentary-style show in the sky – a source of winter entertainment unlike anything anyone has ever seen – but those attending the event will be able to enjoy festive fun with fairground rides, including the classic teacups, music and a food village with local traders. The food and drink offering has something for everyone, with fish and chips, pizza (including a gluten-free option), Greek street food, coffee and doughnuts, and much more.

The Evolution shows are at Seat Unique Stadium (the Gloucestershire Cricket Ground located just off Gloucester Road in Bristol) on 20 and 21 December, at 4pm and 7.30pm on both nights. Tickets: £14 children/concessions, £21 adults, under 3s free.