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Edinburgh International Children's Festival: Magical Imaginate events for every age group

Imaginate is the national organisation in Scotland, which promotes, develops and celebrates theatre and dance for children and young people.

As part of its year-round programme, the organisation produces the annual Edinburgh International Children's Festival, which offers a quirky, dynamic programme of theatre and dance for children and young people to enjoy.

This year's event runs from Saturday 26 May to Sunday 3 June, and is packed with brilliantly vibrant events for all ages. With 14 productions from 12 different countries, there's a wide range of performance styles explored, with everything from intimate, immersive theatre to high-octane visual shows on the bill.

Here, we've rounded up a handful (arranged by age, from 'very wee audiences' upwards). Of course, this is just a flavour: you can browse the full programme on the Imaginate website.

0-3 years

Toddler Room: This event is all about creating a magical, sensory experience. It's set inside a white dome, filled with sculptural objects, sounds and costumes. With a performance crafted by choreographer Siri Dybwik, this piece of mini dance theatre has been designed to appeal to the very youngest audiences (and their parents and carers, of course).

National Museum of Scotland, Sunday 27 May - Friday 1 June (times vary, see imaginate.org.uk for details).

2-5 years

Loo: What changes can the wind cause? Loo, from international theatre company Ponten Pie, explores the power of the wind in nature. It's set around the bow of a sunken boat in a sea of sand, and uses evocative music and stunning visual effects to tell an important story.

Assembly Roxy, Tuesday 29 - Thursday 31 May (times vary).

6-11 years

Gretel et Hansel: Canadian company La Carrousel are bringing a different take on an old tale to the festival. When Hansel arrives, it upsets the balance of Gretel’s life completely. Her little brother has turned everything upside down. When their parents abandon them in the forest and they end up at the witch’s house, she is very tempted to push him into the oven with their jailer and get rid of him forever. Should she?

Brunton Theatre, Tuesday 29 - Wednesday 30 May (times vary).

7-12 years

Expedition Peter Pan: Het Laagland theatre company bring this joyous show to Edinburgh from The Netherlands. It's set in  Neverland, a twilight zone between dreaming and waking. Where the joys of childhood are flooding back and adults are allowed to dream big once again, thanks to the invisible magic of Peter Pan. Anything can happen here, if only you are willing to see it.

Traverse Theatre, Friday 1 June - Sunday 3 June (times vary).

12+ years

Mbuzeni: This performance tells the story of four orphan girls, their sisterhood, and their fixation with burials. The story takes place in a tiny remote South African village where the only cemetery that exists separates the villagers from the orphans. It's a lyrical tale from South Africa's Koleka Putuma, which is infused with plenty of dark humour.

Traverse Theatre, Wednesday 30 May - Thursday 31 May (times vary).

Imaginate is one of Creative Scotland's Regularly Funded Organisations for 2018-21.

This article was published on 10 May 2018