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The Children’s Festival Imaginate has just launched its programme for its anniversary year celebrating three decades of working in theatre and dance with children and young people.

Next year’s programme will include

·         Inspiring Schools: A year-round offer for schools – particularly in areas of high deprivation. This will include a three year collaboration with immersive theatre makers Punchdrunk, and a Teachers’ Theatre Club partnered with Edinburgh Festival Fringe to help teachers build experience.

This is funded by Platform for Creative Excellence (PLACE) a three way partnership between The City of Edinburgh Council, The Scottish Government and Edinburgh Festivals which promised £15m over five years.

·         An enhanced Festival programme: A unique production from Punchdrunk, performing in Scotland for the first time, and four Scottish productions.

·         PUSH+ : A three-year Creative Europe-funded project enabling Imaginate to forge stronger links with four European countries as the UK faces leaving the European Union.

·         Accelerator: Increased support for artists over the next three years, to bring new ideas to production through a residency and support programme Accelerator.

·         Archiving Project: An opportunity to explore Imaginate’s rich history of festivals and projects for the first time, online and at the Scottish Theatre Archive.

Speaking at the launch in Bute House today, Paul Fitzpatrick, CEO of Imaginate, said:
“Our 30th anniversary is the perfect opportunity to launch new programmes that will deepen our relationships with schools in Edinburgh and across Scotland, encourage artists to make new works for young audiences and create stronger international relationships.  What’s exciting is that these new programmes will be in place for the next three years, making a real change to what we are providing for theatre and dance for young people in Scotland.” 

Imaginate Festivalgoers, Photography for Imaginate (Edinburgh International Childrens Festival, EICF) from: Colin Hattersley Photography –

Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and International Affairs Fiona Hyslop said:
“Imaginate has had an incredible impact on Scotland’s arts scene over the last decades. This year’s plan, with its diverse, high-quality programme of activity, confirms the festival’s commitment to providing a platform for our young people to engage with the arts and experience culture from an early age. 
As Imaginate celebrates its 30th anniversary, I am pleased that we were able to contribute £126,000 in 2019 from the Scottish Government’s Festival Expo fund and £535,000 over the next three years through our PLACE fund. The funding will support the ‘Imaginate at 30’ and ‘Inspiring Generations’ programmes, as part of the Festival’s wider effort to develop a year-round offer for schools, and it will help ensure young people in some of the most deprived areas can be exposed to the arts.”

The Children’s Festival began life in Inverleith Park and is now one of the most celebrated in the world for young audiences, attracting over 11,000 children annually. An interactive archive will be created online using old interviews, photos, video clips and press cuttings to celebrate the festival’s past.

Find out more here.