Child’s Play at Imaginate!

The Great Illusionist - a spellbinding story of magic. Photo by Sanne Rovers

The Imaginate Festival takes place in Edinburgh from 28 May to 5 June 2016 and celebrates the innovative and wonderful world of children’s theatre and dance.

The Imaginate Festival Director has travelled the world to select the best shows for young people and bring them to Edinburgh for a nine-day extravaganza that will delight the young and young at heart.

‘The perfect mix of excitement, innovation and fun’

“This year’s Imaginate Festival offers a feast of international performances for all ages and tastes,” said incoming Festival Director Noel Jordan, who added that the shows in the Imaginate Festival, which were handpicked by outgoing Festival Director Tony Reekie, have been specifically created for children to give the perfect mix of excitement, innovation and fun.

“Children’s ability to connect with really complex stories and artistic concepts is incredible,” continued Noel. “The Imaginate Festival’s role is to feed audiences hungry for great theatre and dance that’s deeply engaging and beautifully presented.”

Something for every child

From a friendly forest creature going on an adventure, a lonely man who befriends a dog, stunning dancers on stilts with giant wings, a retelling of Scotland’s history, to a magic show with a twist – there’s something for every child.

The Imaginate Festival 2016 showcases 14 shows from 9 countries: Spain, Belgium, The Netherlands, Norway, Germany, Poland, Australia, New Zealand and, of course, home grown talents from Scotland and the rest of the UK.

“Edinburgh is known as a world-leader in festivals and the Imaginate Festival has played a significant role in securing our international reputation for children and young people’s theatre,” said Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs.

“This year’s programme will continue this hard work by bringing high-quality storytelling from around the world to our doorstep in what I’m sure will be an exciting nine days for both children and adults alike.”

Family Fringe at the National Museum of Scotland

For the first time this year, the Imaginate Festival, which is funded by Creative Scotland, opens with a Family Fringe weekend at the National Museum of Scotland.

Over the weekend of May 28/29, performances and free drop-in activities – including live music, walk-about with performers, storytelling, hands-on arts activities and more – will be entertaining 0-12 year olds throughout the museum’s galleries.

A high-energy dance duet

One of the highlights of this year’s festival will be Go Get ‘em Kid, a high-energy dance duet about friendship which has been specially commissioned by Imaginate with support from the Scottish Government’s Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund.

After its Imaginate premiere, the show will be touring to Shetland, Aberdeen, Glasgow, Renfrewshire, East Lothian and Glasgow, to help spread the festival’s magic to children across Scotland.

To find out more about the Imaginate Festival and book places at events and performances, click here.