Festival 2021 - Commission Call-out


Friday 31 July at 5pm

Credit: c. Geraldine Heaney

Friday 31 July at 5pm

How to apply

Tell us about the idea you would like to develop, thinking about who the work might be for and why you want to develop this work.  The most important thing is to really paint a picture of what your idea is, how the audience will meet it/interact with it, and why this would be an excellent fit as a Festival Production.

Send your proposal to applications@imaginate.org.uk with Festival Production Commission 2021 as the subject title by Friday 31 July. Please don’t send any CVs or any other additional documents.

We are currently seeking a new production idea from Scottish based artist/s or company for the next edition of the Edinburgh International Children’s Festival 26 May – 6 June 2021.

The 2021 Children’s Festival will go ahead, in a different form to our usual mode of delivery. We expect many of the performances to be presented in school buildings. Our programme for families is likely to be largely outdoors. There may be some performances in venues, with social distancing. We see the new practical challenges as an opportunity for experimentation: trying new ways to connect with our audiences, while maintaining our reputation of presenting the world’s best performances for children.

Information about the Commission and Call Out

This Commission is designed to encourage the creation of new work for families in Scotland.  We are very keen to attract as diverse a group of artist/company submissions as possible, including people with disability, d/Deaf artists, Black/+ People of Colour, those from minority ethnic communities and all those who feel their voices and stories are not commonly represented.

Festival Production for Ages 4+

This production commission seeks ideas for a new performance work specifically for children aged 4-8 years. The work could be focused on the lower end of this range, such as 4-6, but no older than 8 years of age.

The performance should be flexible and be able to be performed in low tech spaces such as school classrooms and school hall environments.  It is also essential that the work is designed with touring in mind and with minimal set up (eg within 2 hours). Work that has already premiered will not be considered, but submissions for work already in development is most welcome.

Selected artist(s) for the Commission will receive:

  • a budget to be negotiated to cover fees for the creative team, research time, travel, materials and company fees
  • inclusion in the 2021 Edinburgh International Children’s Festival (26 May – 6 June)
  • ongoing support, where helpful, from Imaginate including creating a budget, scheduling, contracting the team, artistic feedback and advice
  • Full marketing support and a range of archival material including production stills and video to support future life of the work

Selected artists will be offered time with Imaginate to create a budget and delivery plan so we can be sure your idea can be realised to its full potential.

Information on the selection process

The Commission will be decided at the discretion of the Festival Director. Imaginate reserves the right to not proceed with any of the submission ideas.

Information about working around the current environment of COVID-19

COVID-19 has made us relook at how we traditionally deliver the Edinburgh International Children’s Festival.  Whilst we can’t be certain about what social distancing measures will be in place in May 2021 we are keen to proceed with our planning taking into account as many variables as possible.  In the first instance this means we are not looking for works that need to be delivered in traditional theatre venues – flexibiltiy and adaptability is key.


  • What information should I include in my application?

The most important thing is to paint a picture of your idea.  You can include images and links to films or other online information to help us imagine the performance. 

What you don’t need to include at this stage are CVs for those involved or a budget, as we will work on that with you.

  • How will the applications be assessed?

The key criteria are:

  • The quality of the idea
  • The relevance of the work for family audiences
  • The suitability of the work for touring to a range of school environments that are traditionally non-theatre spaces
  • Consideration for staging in an as yet to be determined social distance context
  • Is there a word count/time limit?

While there isn’t a word limit for the description of your idea we would ask you to consider the reader of your application and think about concise responses that cover the critieria points listed above. Think about the key things you want us to know and the best way for that to be clear. In particular think about how to get across what the performance will be like.  

  • Can I apply if I have no existing connection with Imaginate, or the young audiences sector?

Yes, we would encourage applications from any artists based in Scotland who are interested in making performance for family audiences. Whilst you don’t need to have experience of making work for young audiences, prior experience and a successful track record will be a distinct advantage. Applications can come from individuals, collectives or companies. 

We are particularly keen to attract submissions from artists with disability, d/Deaf artists, Black/+ People of Colour, those from minority ethnic communities and all those who feel their voices and stories are not commonly represented.

  • Can I apply if I am not based in Scotland?

This opportunity is only open to artists and companies based in Scotland.


We aim to ensure the application and selection process is straightforward and fair.  If you have any questions about the process, or the project in general, please email us at info@imaginate.org.uk.