Bank of Scotland Imaginate Festival promises a quality homegrown line-up alongside the usual groundbreaking international work

Bank of Scotland Imaginate Festival promises a quality homegrown line-up alongside the usual groundbreaking international work

The Bank of Scotland Imaginate Festival has always featured quality children’s theatre from both home and abroad. But while international talent has never been in short supply, Scottish-based companies worthy of inclusion were initially thin on the ground. Twenty two years after the Festival began, all that has changed, and of the sixteen works being presented, nine of them are by Scottish companies.

‘It’s been a very long journey,’ says Festival director, Tony Reekie. ‘When we first started, there wasn’t actually a lot of very good Scottish work being presented. So part of the reason for us becoming Imaginate, instead of just the Children’s Festival, was to implement year-round work that would encourage new artists to develop their own ways. And over the last few years a lot of the work being created in Scotland is simply world class, and absolutely holds its own against the international work we’re able to bring in.’

One of the key skills of a festival programmer, is the ability to mix things up a little – something Reekie has clearly done with this year’s programme. The diverse line-up includes sure fire winners such as Tall StoriesMr Benn and Wee Stories’ Macbeth-inspired Is This a Dagger?, along with more abstract works like The Legend of Woesterdam, set in the beautiful grounds of the Cammo Estate.

‘I think that any festival needs to have moments where, as a programmer, you’re slightly terrified about what’s going to happen,’ says Reekie. ‘If it becomes really safe, I’m not sure why it needs to be a festival. There’s nothing wrong with going to a show and having a nice time, but if you can have a nice time and perhaps be taken to a place you never thought you’d go, then it strikes me that’s something we should all be striving to offer an audience.’

Various venues, Edinburgh, Mon 9–Sun 15 May.

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.

Mr Benn: The Extraordinary Adventures of an Ordinary Man

Mr Benn is an ordinary man living in an ordinary street, who one day receives an extraordinary invitation. Tall Stories' new show is an adaptation of David McKee's much-loved TV series. Ages 4+. Part of the Bank of Scotland Imaginate Festival.

The Legend of Woesterdam

Belgium's Studio ORKA brings a love story featuring the love-meter, the sadness sieve and the longest kiss in the world. This is an outdoor promenade performance; audience members may be required to stand for part of the show. Suitable for children aged 8–12. Part of the Bank of Scotland Imaginate Festival.

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