The Edinburgh International Children’s Festival showcases high quality, distinctive Scottish and international performances to an audience of around 15,000 children, their teachers and families annually. As well as delighting young audiences, it provides a platform for artists and companies to present their work to international programmers who are looking for quality work for their own venues or festivals. Indeed, in many ways, it is an informal marketplace for many international and national promoters. The 2022 Festival hosted some 260 delegates from 24 different countries.
The 2023 Festival programmes features 14 productions exploring a variety of genres including sound-driven physical theatre, dance with spoken word and innovative multi-media shows, as well as a programme of delegate events including artists sharings, talks, networking opportunities and social events. This year, there are also new delegate networking opportunities from delegate dinners to speed networking session.
For those who are unable to travel to Edinburgh and in order to increase access, since 2020 the Festival offers a digital option for delegates. All discussion events will be available on the Festival’s website and five of the featured international live productions, as well as Imaginate’s two commissions, will be available to view online over the week of the Festival.
Imaginate has been fortunate over many years to be able to commission new theatre and dance productions created and led by Scottish-based artists and companies. These works have then premiered and performed at the Edinburgh International Children’s Festival and have toured all over Scotland. Many have also then gone on to have long national and international touring lives. Commissioning new work relates to Imaginate’s central ambition of enabling more high-quality children’s work being made in Scotland so that more children can experience work that is deeply engaging, innovative and inspiring.
On its opening weekend, the Festival offers a day of free performances and pop-up creative activities for children and their families. Family Encounters, is hosted at the National Museum of Scotland and is curated by a panel involving small commissions, direct invitations and call out opportunities. The event offers an open space for artists to try new ideas, experiment and take risks.