Edinburgh International Children’s Festival turns 30

The Edinburgh International Children’s Festival returns from 25 May to 2 June with an exciting programme of theatre and dance for children and young people.

This year, the Festival celebrates its 30th birthday and the excellent line-up has already attracted over 12,000 bookers, including 6,200 schools pupils over the 9 days.

This milestone Festival programme features 15 shows from eight countries with a mixture of visually stunning and deeply engaging productions. Whether it’s a magical family show featuring an invisible man, a modern fairytale about triplets sisters abandoned in a forest, or a superhero who doesn’t feel up to the job anymore, audiences are in for a treat. And whatever you do, don’t miss Punchdrunk’s site-specific show set in a warehouse in Leith – it will take you on an immersive journey that will be hard to forget!

The Festival opens tomorrow (Saturday 25 May) with a free Family Day at the National Museum of Scotland, featuring pop-up performances and activities. From colourful walkabout characters including drag kings, giant crows and oversized eyeballs, to live music and impossible dance routines families are in for a surprise.

The rest of the Festival then quicks off from Monday in venues all over Edinburgh. There are still tickets for most Festival shows, especially over the final weekend (1-2 June).

For full programme and booking information, go to www.imaginate.org.uk/festival or call box office on 0131 228 1404.

And if you’re not sure what to pick, we have selected four family favourites to help you choose!

Great for the whole family:

Small Wonders (5-11 yrs) by Punchdrunk (England)
Do not, under any circumstances, miss this site-specific show set in a warehouse in Leith! Created by legendary company Punchdrunk, Small Wonders invites children into the home of miniaturist for a pretty special journey…

The Invisible Man (4-11 yrs) by Theater Artemis (The Netherlands)
Mixing ingenious tricks and anarchic theatre, this unpredictable and quirky show is brimming with fun and exciting magic. Theater Artemis makes theatre that is both exciting and intelligent and even adults are reduced to silence by their ingenuity, wondering what is real and what isn’t!

Great for 7-13 year olds:

This Girl Laughs… (7-12 yrs) by Stellar Quines (Scotland)
A modern fairytale about triplet sisters abandoned in a forest, who follow their own path in the world and fulfil their dreams through courage, determination and friendship. A high-energy show full of adventures.

New Owner (7-12 yrs) by The Last Great Hunt (Australia)

If you like puppies, then that one’s for you… but come with hankies! This moving tale of friendship between a dog and an old lady, seen through the dog’s eyes, combines puppetry, live action and animation, and sensitively explores loss and new beginnings.