Imaginate Festival launches 2016 programme
International children's theatre festival features shows by Cre8ion, Helios Theatre, Trick of the Light and Barrowland Ballet
Imaginate Festival, Edinburgh’s international children’s festival, returns in May with a programme of theatre and dance for pint sized patrons. The 2016 edition boasts 14 shows from nine countries and will open with a new, free Family Fringe weekend at the National Museum of Scotland where visitors can get a taste of the festival with drop-in activities including storytelling, live music and mini performances. The festival also sees the return of 2015's Blue Block Studio, a creative space for babies to explore with mirrored floor surfaces, soft shapes of varying textures, kaleidoscopic projections, and light boxes of rainbow colours.
European companies performing at the festival include The Netherlands' Het Filiaal theatermakers, The Great Illusionist (ages 8+) mixes storytelling with illusion and magic tricks as they tell the story of a young boy, and his white rabbit, wanting to make it as a magician. From Germany Helios Theatre use Traces (ages 2–5) to explore the traces we leave behind in the world. Two performers create shifting patterns in chalk and sand with live musical accompaniment, including the sounds of voice echos. In Constellations (ages 5–11) Spain's Aracaladanza mix animation, puppetry and a live soundtrack for a colourful dance-theatre performance of weird and wonderful shapes.
From even further afield are Australia's Cre8ion, their Fluff: A Story of Lost Toys (ages 4–8) follows the Gingham family, a pattern-happy family who recover and reclaim lost toys from under the couch and in the gutter. New Zealand's Trick of The Light present an atmospheric fable about an apprentice bookbinder who is visited by a mysterious customer with an unusual book in need of repair. Dark yet humorous The Bookbinder (ages 8+) is told using a paper sculpted pop-up book as well as puppetry and shadow-play.
There's plenty of Scottish talent at Imaginate as well, Macrobert & Barrowland Ballet present Poggle (ages 6 months–4 years), about a friendly yet mischievous character who helps you explore the forest. There is song, dance, clapping and percussion as the building block set rotates to reveal the secrets of the woodland. Catherine Wheels Theatre Company celebrate friendship and acceptance in The Story of the Little Gentlemen (ages 4–8). Based on the story by Swedish author Barbro Lindgren it tells the tale of a lonely man befriended by a dog. Go Get 'Em Kid (ages 6+) by Tamsyn Russell Dance is a high energy dance duet about sharing, with two performers starting with 100 oversized t-shirts and working their way down to cohabiting one.
Imaginate Festival, various venues, Edinburgh, 28 May–5 Jun, £12 (£8). Tickets on sale Thu 17 Mar.