Martha and Pondlife McGurk among highlights of Imaginate Festival 2010

Bank of Scotland Imaginate Festival 2010

It may have lost the word ‘International’ from its title, but the Bank of Scotland Imaginate Festival (formerly the International Children’s Theatre Festival) still has a very global remit. Companies from Germany, France, the Netherlands and Belgium are all headed our way this year, with work for children and young people aged 2 upwards.

But, unsurprisingly given the abundance of home grown talent, there are no fewer than six Scottish companies providing quality children’s theatre at this year’s Festival. One of which is Catherine Wheels, who are catering for two different age groups with Martha (ages 4+) and The Ballad of Pondlife McGurk (ages 9-13).

First produced in 1999, Martha has toured internationally and been translated into a number of languages. According to artistic director Gill Robertson, the show’s ability to touch both adults and children accounts for its popularity. Martha’s a really simple story but it just works,’ she says. ‘It’s about loneliness and seeking friendship, but there’s a lot of humour in it and it’s very visual. Children really enjoy watching it and adults weep at it – I’ve had grown-ups sobbing at the end.’

Pondlife McGurk has a similar dual appeal, dealing with the fragile nature of schoolyard friendships – something we’ve all been through, and hugely pertinent to the show’s target age range. ‘It touches on lots of different things that happen to kids in school and the relationships they create,’ says Robertson. ‘It’s about a man who regrets betraying one of his best friends at school who was a bit of an outsider – he made a mistake, and the young people watching it understand that, but they also understand why. It’s a really touching family show.’

Various venues, Edinburgh, Mon 10–Sun 16 May

Cinderella

A re-imagining of the well-known fairy tale by Shona Reppe Puppets that mixes puppetry with quirky music. Ages 5+. 'Part of the Bank of Scotland Imaginate Festival 2010'.

We Dance, Wee Groove

A groove extravaganza for clubbers aged 0-4, and their grown-ups. 'Part of the Bank of Scotland Imaginate Festival 2010'.

Rawums (:)

Two clownish performers explore falling and flying. Ages 2-4. 'Part of the Bank of Scotland Imaginate Festival 2010'.

Woodbeat

See wood in a whole new light on a journey led by a percussionist and a puppeteer. Ages 2+. 'Part of the Bank of Scotland Imaginate Festival 2010'.

Martha

Catherine Wheels returns with the tale of stubborn Martha, who lives by the sea all on her own. She reckons she doesn't need any friends, until one day she has an unexpected visitor who changes her life forever. Ages 4+. 'Part of the Bank of Scotland Imaginate Festival 2010'.

Madcap

Dutch company De Stilte combines dance and play with egg and bird props. Ages 4+. 'Part of the Bank of Scotland Imaginate Festival 2010'.

Chit-Chat

Dance performance from Cie étantdonné exploring the anatomy of the body. Ages 5+. 'Part of the Bank of Scotland Imaginate Festival 2010'.

Mister Porcelain

A sensitive introduction to the passing away of animals. Ages 6+. 'Part of the Bank of Scotland Imaginate Festival 2010'.

One Thousand Paper Cranes

Abigail Docherty and Lu Kemp retell the moving and inspirational story of Sadako, who folded 1000 cranes while incapacitated by Hiroshima fallout. Ages 8+. 'Part of the Bank of Scotland Imaginate Festival 2010'.

The Terrific Adventures of Brave Joan Woodsword

Ten-year-old Joan Woodsword escapes from playground bullying into the infinitely more exciting Middle Ages world of Joan of Arc. Ages 8+. 'Part of the Bank of Scotland Imaginate Festival 2010'.

Sense

Five plays about teenagers led by their senses. The bill is split into 'Nose & Skin' (Thu 10.30am & Sat 4pm) and 'Eyes, Ears & Tongue (all other performances). Ages 14+. 'Part of the Bank of Scotland Imaginate Festival 2010'.

Rawums (:)

Two clownish performers explore falling and flying. Ages 2-4. 'Part of the Bank of Scotland Imaginate Festival 2010'.

Madcap

Dutch company De Stilte combines dance and play with egg and bird props. Ages 4+. 'Part of the Bank of Scotland Imaginate Festival 2010'.

The Terrific Adventures of Brave Joan Woodsword

Ten-year-old Joan Woodsword escapes from playground bullying into the infinitely more exciting Middle Ages world of Joan of Arc. Ages 8+. 'Part of the Bank of Scotland Imaginate Festival 2010'.

Edinburgh International Children's Festival

Edinburgh’s international children’s festival of performing arts presents a programme of dance, storytelling and puppetry, suitable for anyone with an imagination.

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