From Edinburgh International Science Festival to Imaginate, festivals are getting kids more involved

With so many festivals in Scotland offering families hands-on fun, engaging young people in science and the arts is child’s play

GSF: Kidding around

The Edinburgh International Science Festival (pictured) hosts a busy, eclectic programme for young festival-goers

Last year, over 100,000 people passed through the doors of Edinburgh International Science Festival (26 Mar–10 Apr), at venues throughout the city. This year’s event has workshops and drop-in sessions exploring how science, technology, engineering and design can help improve our lives. Glasgow Science Festival (9–19 Jun) takes over venues across the city including their flagship family event, Science Sunday, at the University of Glasgow.

Orkney International Science Festival (1–7 Sep) will feature cathedral building, Norse navigation and 3D-printed upcycled fashion, while Midlothian Science Festival (Oct) runs activities in towns throughout the region culminating in their popular Science Gala Day.

Teenagers might get a bad press, but we’re big fans of the cultural output of Scotland’s adolescents. Horsecross Youth Arts Festival (16–18 Jun) describes itself as a festival by children and young people, for children and young people. You can catch performances by talented local youngsters, including Perth Youth Theatre, plus shows by professional theatre and dance companies.

The National Festival of Youth Theatre (30 Jun–4 Jul) is the UK’s largest gathering of youth theatres. With shows taking place at Rothes Halls and Falkland Estate in Fife, grab yourself a day pass for less than a tenner and watch the stars of tomorrow. But the granddaddy of them all is Aberdeen International Youth Festival (29 Jul–5 Aug) which has been lighting up the north east since 1973. Catch some of the world’s finest youth theatre, dance and music, in over 50 venues.

Based at Dundee Contemporary Arts, the Discovery Film Festival (Oct) is specially programmed for young audiences with the help of a team of ambassadors aged 15–18. Elsewhere, set aside some of your Easter holiday for the Puppet Animation Festival (19 Mar–9 Apr), which runs across Scotland.

After 20 years at the helm, Imaginate (28 May–5 Jun) director Tony Reekie left for pastures new in 2015, and Noel Jordan is now at the helm. Featuring theatre and dance for children and young people, Imaginate is a world leader in children’s festivals and hugely popular – book early.

Guide to Scotland's Festivals 2016

The Guide to Scotland's Festivals 2016

When it comes to festivals Scotland leads the way, providing an inspiring programme throughout the year, with everything from tiny one-day shindigs to massive month-long bonanzas incorporating music, art, literature, theatre, food & drink and more.


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