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Edinburgh International Children’s Festival launches 30th birthday programme

Published: 20 Mar 2019

The 30th edition of the Edinburgh International Children’s Festival (which takes place from 25 May – 2 June 2019), launched its exciting 2019 programme to the public today.

“Our 30th anniversary programme promises to be another spectacular one for the Festival,” said Festival Director Noel Jordan. “This year, families in Scotland will again have a unique opportunity to see some of the world’s best theatre and dance specifically created for young people. You can go on a voyage from a retro kitchen into outer space with the first female astronaut, or marvel at the determination of triplet sisters as they journey separately around the globe. Whatever your choice, you can be confident the shows will be diverse, compelling and visually stunning. Shows that will make children laugh, gasp and cry while encouraging them to be critical thinkers with curious minds.”

Featuring international shows from Europe and beyond, the programme boasts a unique production from Punchdrunk, Small Wonders, an interactive theatrical experience where children are invited inside the home of a miniaturist for an awe-inspiring magical journey. The production, funded by the PLACE programme, will be shown exceptionally over three weeks so that no one misses out!

As can be expected from this Festival, productions are all highly visual and deeply engaging. Whether it’s an acrobatic circus-dance for toddlers (Three Legs), a stage full of floating foam sculpted to reveal mysterious characters (The Little Bath), a magical family show featuring an invisible man (The Invisible Manor a superhero who doesn’t feel up to the job anymore (Super Human Hero)audiences are in for a treat.

Two new Imaginate commissions also take pride of place in the Festival programme. Stellar Quines, the award-winning Scottish company that celebrates women in theatre, are staging a new production of the internationally acclaimed play This Girl Laughs, This Girl Cries, This Girl Does Nothing, a contemporary fairytale about triplet sisters abandoned in a forest who follow their own path in the world. While The Letter J’s Super Human Heroeshave created a funny and poignant musical show exploring the ways we are, fail and try to be super human heroes.

Both commissions will tour all over Scotland in the lead up to the Festival, from Moffat to the Isle of Skye, in an effort to reach children far and wide. The tour is funded by the Scottish Government’s Festivals Expo Fund.

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, said: “Imaginate celebrates the very best of children’s theatre and dance from around the world and the Scottish Government is proud to continue to support the Festival. Research has provided strong evidence on the value of young people engaging with culture from an early age, and Imaginate is playing a vital role in ensuring our young people can continue to engage with the arts.

I am pleased that £126,000 of funding from the Scottish Government’s Festivals Expo Fund will contribute to the delivery of the ‘Imaginate at 30’ and that £535,000 from our PLACE fund will also support Imaginate’s ‘Inspiring Schools’ programme, supporting its wider schools ambitions and ensuring young people in some of the most financially deprived areas can be exposed to the arts.”

The Festival will once again open with a family day at the National Museum of Scotland with free drop-in events throughout the building including live music, pop-up performances, storytelling and hands-on arts activities.  The event is an excellent opportunity for artists based in Scotland to perform at the Festival and try out new ideas.

Colin Bradie, Interim Head of Creative Learning commented: “Creative Scotland recognises the considerable role Imaginate and the Children’s Festival have played over the past 30 years in developing, profiling and showcasing theatre and dance for young audiences.

"This significant milestone is marked by the launch of this vibrant and ambitious festival programme, bringing both newly commissioned and established performance work from across Scotland and the world. This 30th anniversary programme also supports several initiatives which will develop the reach and impact the Children’s Festival, ensuring a greater number of children and young people will be engaged and inspired by the very best of theatre and dance.”

Festival tickets are on sale now. For full programme and booking information, go to http://www.imaginate.org.uk/festival. Tickets can be booked online or at 0131 228 1404.

Image: New Owner (Daniel James Grant)