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Awards success for Imaginate with the Edinburgh International Children’s Festival

Posted: 8th May 2018

Excitement is building for the 29th edition of the Edinburgh International Children’s Festival, which opens on Saturday 26th May in venues across the city. This year, the Festival team received an unexpected boost when they won the International category at The Stage Awards, the UK theatre industry’s leading awards ceremony.

The Edinburgh International Children’s Festival has established itself as a major industry event. As well as its programme of work on stage, it attracts delegates from around the world, creating a fertile ground for networking and providing a launch pad for global tours. The Festival is produced by the charity Imaginate, which works year-round to promote and develop theatre and dance for children.

In 2017, the Children’s Festival attracted 300 delegates (up 50% from 2016) from 23 countries, while the programme of work featured 16 international productions. This year’s programme includes productions from New Zealand and Canada, and the UK premiere of Mbuzeni: an exciting show from South Africa partly performed in the clicking language Xhosa.

Many delegates attend the Edinburgh International Children’s Festival specifically to select work for their own venue. As a result, performing companies from around the world look up to the Festival as the gateway to successful international touring. Monique Corvers from the Dutch theatre company Het Filiaal reflects: ‘The Festival has opened up the English speaking world to us. It’s been overwhelming. We now get more offers than we have time for.’

The Festival has also become an effective platform for Scottish companies, facilitating the export of Scottish work abroad. Belinda Mc Elhinney, Executive Producer of Glasgow-based Barrowland Ballet, explains: ‘Imaginate has played an instrumental role in Barrowland Ballet’s international touring and was the launch pad for international promoters to see our work. […] Direct relationships built at the Children’s Festival have taken our work across Europe, Africa, China and Australia, relationships that we have been able to develop and strengthen every year.’

Indeed, Imaginate’s promotion of Scottish theatre and dance on the international stage is not limited to the Festival. This summer, Imaginate will lead four Scottish companies in presenting a Scotland Showcase at RiccaRicca Festival in Okinawa, Japan (supported by the Daiwa Foundation). Relationships are also developing in the emerging markets of India and South America.

Ultimately, the value of these international connections lies in the offer for children. Imaginate facilitates the development of deeply engaging performances which inspire and entertain children while introducing them to new ideas and cultures. The International Award is ‘the cherry on the cake’ for 29 years of creative excellence. As The Scotsman’s theatre critic, Joyce Mac Millan, puts it:  ‘If you want a glorious weekend of thoughtful fun in Edinburgh, then there’s no better way to spend it than revelling in the range and creativity of what is now one of the world’s premiere children’s theatre festivals.’

To view the 2018 Festival programme, visit:

Tickets can be purchased from the Traverse Theatre or by calling 0131 228 1404.

To discuss opportunities for corporate partnership through Festival, please contact Molly Goyer Gorman: or tel.: 0131 225 8050.

Business Comment

Business Comment is the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce’s bi-monthly magazine. It provides insight on Edinburgh’s vibrant business community, with features on the city’s key sectors, interviews with leading figures and news on new business developments in the capital.
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