News

Anna Broomfield, our Schools & Communities Project Coordinator, marks the UNCRC incorporation into Scots Law with a reflection on our childrens rights project Creative Encounters.

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Emily Bowerman, Serena Jagpal and Tanya McLaughlin share their experience of visiting STEP International Dance Festival for Young Audiences with Imaginate Teachers' Club.

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It’s been 25 years since Bruce Gladwin took over as artistic director at Back to Back Theatre, based in Geelong, Australia. The company, known for its full-time ensemble of intellectually disabled actors, is recognised for making some of the bravest, cheekiest, most inclusive, radical and politically charged devised work. Their plays challenge and entertain audiences in equal measure. Imaginate invited Gladwin to lead a Devising Theatre workshop in December 2023 in Edinburgh. I had the pleasure of talking with him about directing, the importance of free association, treasuring inaccurate memories, Back to Back’s new show and the merits of long improvisation.

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Niroshini Thambar reflects on her residency at Oaklands School with Sanjay Lago and Liam Rees, focused on on making music and sound through play and experimentation.

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Jack Hunter reflects on his residency at Oaklands School with Greg Sinclair, Marie-Gabrielle Koumenda and Ink Asher Hemp.

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Kirstin Abraham reflects on her experience of working with Myrthe Helms and Andre Anderson to create a sensory winter residency at Oaklands School in December 2023.

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Greg Sinclair reflects on their time working on the Oakland's School Residency project in 2023!

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Imaginate is delighted to announce it has received a Young Start award from The National Lottery Community Fund which will fund the development of Creative Encounters. Pupils from our partner Forthview Primary School share more about the project in this blog.

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As part of the Festival City Stories project, illustrator Daisy Whittle has designed a lovely poster illustrating a quote from a teacher who took part in Imaginate's Immerse project.

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We were sad to hear of the passing earlier this week, of the original founder of the Children's Festival, Duncan Low, at his home in Oak Bay, British Columbia (Canada).

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Imaginate has commissioned a new exciting circus show for children by SUPERFAN, in partnership with Aberdeen Performing Arts. So Far So Good is an adventurous new contemporary circus show for 3-6 year olds exploring flying, falling, steep places, precipices and the sharp rocks you come across on the way up.

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Sian MacGregor talks about what she has been doing over the last two years of her PhD on Valuing Young Audiences.

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We are excited to be delivering Punchdrunk Enrichment's newest project The Wishing Cupboard in 2024, which is open for booking now! Read more about Punchdrunk Enrichment's immersive learning programme in this blog.

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Lou Brodie (Imaginate's Creative Project Facilitator) introduces our new Creative Encounters committees from Forthview Primary School and Pilton Youth & Children's Project

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A quick blog by our Doctoral Researcher, Sian, who is undertaking PhD research with Imaginate. "Play is interwoven in all aspects of the theatre and dance works I witness and enjoy. In fact, when focusing on young audiences, play is prioritised and important, much more so than in work for adults."

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Imaginate are thrilled to have been awarded the Silver Charter with LGBT Youth Scotland!

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Launchpad artist Lesley Howard talks about her experience of working on We Touch, We Play, We Dance by Second Hand Dance Company as an Autistic dance artist.

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Anna Broomfield (Schools & Communities Project Coordinator) reflects on our recent panel “Queer Work for Young Audiences” at the Edinburgh International Children’s Festival, and why this work is so important to us. 

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The documentary team from Forthview Primary School share their experiences of working on the Creative Encounters project so far.

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We're looking for a caterer to set up pop-up catering during the Children's Festival

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The cast for Protest, Hannah Lavery’s bold new production celebrating youth activism has been announced.

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The Edinburgh International Children’s Festival has launched its exciting and timely programme for 2023, helped by a group of young children protesting for their rights to culture. The programme features an exciting lineup of activities, events and performances for young people, schools, families, and industry professionals to immerse themselves within.

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Imaginate placement student Peyton Horning reflects on her time so far working on Creative Encounters at Forthview Primary School.

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Andy Edwards reflects on their experience with Holding Space, a mentoring project we ran in 2022.

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Imaginate is launching a new schools project which will focus on children’s rights, placing them at the heart of the creative process and decision making for the first time.

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Protest is a bold new play from award winning writer Hannah Lavery (Lament for Sheku Bayoh, The Drift, Eavesdropping), exploring what it takes to make a difference, the power of friendship, and the importance of believing in your own voice.

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Bridie Gane shares the project she and Sam Vaherlehto worked on at Canal View Primary School as part of the Immerse Summer Project.

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Lou Brodie, the new Creative Project Facilitator for Imaginate, introduces our new three-year project that will see children collaborating with artists to create theatre and dance performances.

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Information for artists, freelancers and teachers about Imaginate call outs coming between September 2022 and March 2023.

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Ellen Renton reflects on her experience working with Lucas Chih-Peng Kao and Connel Burnett at St Ninian's Primary School. Together, the group worked with children to create and share stories.

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Andrea Cabrera Luna reflects on her week-long residency at Brunstane Primary School with Catherine Allison. They explored mischief-making and freedom, and created short scenes together.

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Greg Sinclair reflects on his week-long residency at St David's Primary School as part of the Immerse Summer Project. Alongside Cynthia Cheung, Greg and the pupils explored the significance of dates and their connection to events from the past.

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Greg Sinclair talks about his experience of working with P7 pupils at Forthview Primary School for a week-long residency with Clare Adam and Lesley Howard.

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Lucas Chih-Peng Kao shares his experience working alongside Ellen Renton and Connel Burnett at St Ninian's Primary School for the Immerse Summer Project. Together, they made stories with the pupils, leaving them with a library of stories to treasure.

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Imaginate's 2022 Festival commission I am Tiger has won the Best Production for Children and Young People at the CATS Awards, Scotland's main critics' awards for theatre.

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Janne Weidinger Kristensen (PUSH+ Different Bodies Lab) talks about a new performance she has made called Anybody with Any Body.

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Imaginate, Take Me Somewhere and Puppet Animation Scotland are preparing a proposal to the Workplace Equality Fund, for a project to support d/Deaf arts professionals in the early stages of their careers in Scotland and we would love to have your input into the design of this project, which we hope will benefit you and your peers. Click to watch a BSL video explaining the project and a link to the survey.

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PUSH+ artist Mairéad Folan talks about Luke, a performance she has created with her company NoRopes exploring her relationship with her walking frame.

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Jerwood Fellow Claire Willougby talks about 'resetting the decks' and how doing this has helped her develop a new performance idea for disabled children.

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Artist Bex Anson talks about her visit to Swedish festival BIBU and highlights her favourite shows.

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Artist Cynthia Cheung shares a photo blog of her visit to Swedish festival BIBU.

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Meet Jenny, one of the Children's Festival's volunteers

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Research commissioned by Creative Scotland and Imaginate found that theatre, dance and drama are seen as hugely valuable by a large majority of Scottish primary schools.

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Over the last few years, children’s mental health has become an even more pressing concern for many families, schools and youth-focused organisations. That’s why it’s more important than ever to engage in open discussions about mental health with children and young people.

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In 2022 Imaginate began a journey to achieve the Silver LGBT Charter with LGBT Youth Scotland. Company & Project Administrator Connel Burnett explains what this involves and why it's important to the organisation.

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Imaginate has commissioned two new exciting theatre shows which will appear at the Festival in May 2022 and go on tour across Scotland. Both productions speak of the complex experiences children are dealing with and explore the theme of mental health and how to make sense of a confusing world. Both also feature female characters

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We are delighted to announce that Sian Mitchell MacGregor has been appointed to undertake a PhD over the next three-year in partnership with the University of Aberdeen, on the following topic: Valuing Young Audience: how children experience and value live theatre and dance, and why it matters. This research project seeks to explore and evidence the value of watching theatre and dance for children as audience members in a school setting and in an arts venue. It will use a combination of ethnographic tools including participant observation, semi-structured interviews and workshops to engage with children, teachers, parents and artists to understand the children's experiences. 

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Theatre in Schools Scotland is reconnecting creatively with nurseries and primary schools across Scotland this autumn with a new programme of unique theatrical experiences for children created by leading theatre and dance organisations for children and young people - Barrowland Ballet, Catherine Wheels Theatre Company, Curious Seed, Imaginate, MoonSlide and Starcatchers.

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Emily Nicholl reflects on a year of Jerwood Fellowship looking at performances for children with additional support needs, and her thinking around our relationships to landscape. Part 2 of 2.

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Emily Nicholl reflects on a year of Jerwood Fellowship looking at performances for children with additional support needs, and her thinking around our relationships to landscape. Part 1 of 2.

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Sanjay Lago and Brian Harley reflect on their experiences working with Lucas Chih-Peng Kao and the children of P5 at Canal View Primary School as part of our Immerse Summer Schools Project.

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The show Mixed Up, which was commissioned by Imaginate and first shown at the Children’s Festival in May this year as a digital project, can finally be presented live into schools as part of a partnership between Edinburgh International Festival, Imaginate and Starcatchers.

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Jen McGregor writes about guilt, self-doubt and inequalities, and the way we question our right to be an artist and take up opportunities.

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Artist Lottie Barker reflects on her experience of taking part in Navigating the Now and the questions she found time and space to explore.

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Artist Christoforos Pavlakis reflects on his experience of shielding for months in lockdown as a neuro-atypical person.

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Katrine Turner, Sanjay Lago, Marion Geoffray and Cynthia Cheung have been appointed to deliver our new Where We Are project in partnership with Multi Cultural Family Base and Refuweegee.

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Jen McGregor and Marion Geoffray talk about about their project working with two P6 classes at Forthview Primary School, exploring themes of revolution, protest and counter-protest, and the ways in which we can make major and minor changes to our world.

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Marion Geoffray reflects on her experiences delivering one of Imaginate's first in-person projects in fifteen months, working alongside trainee artist Kemono Lebe Sinanduku and the P1 classes and teachers at Craigroyston Primary School.

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Eoin McKenzie, Katrine Turner and Megan Reid have written about a new monthly networking and discussion event called routemap[s]

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Bamboozled by the Festival. Here is Fiona Ferguson's quick guide to being a delegate

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Artist Claire Willoughby reflects on her first year as Jerwood Arts fellow.

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With less than a month to go to the launch of the Edinburgh International Children’s Festival on 21 April, two productions from the many times re-drafted programme have been announced. Both are brand new commissions by exciting companies and artists based in Scotland, and are supported by the Scottish Government Festivals Expo Fund.

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Artist Xana Marwick reflects on the recent horrific murder of Sarah Everard and its relevance to her new play Thrown, which she is writing as part of Imaginate's Accelerator programme.

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Call-out for BIPOC+ theatre and dance practitioners to take part in a consultation about working in the Children’s Theatre and Dance sector.

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An update on new dates for PUSH+

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We are pleased to confirm that we are planning an exciting festival for next year, and that it will go ahead in one form or another from 25 May - 6 June.

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Our schools team has highlighted a selection of Christmas shows available to schools. Some of them are for schools only while others are also available to the general public. Oh yes they are!

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PUSH artist Lucy Gaizely and her company 21Common made a film during lockdown to be watched on mobile phones.

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Belinda McElhinney has been appointed as Imaginate's new Chief Executive, starting on 1 February 2021. She succeeds Paul Fitzpatrick who is leaving Imaginate to take up the post of Director of Creative Engagement at the National Theatre of Scotland.

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Gudrun reflects on her first week of In a New Light project

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JIm Manganello and Lucy Ireland reflect on how lockdown has influenced their newest project, a podcast associated with their live show, the Untitled Discotheque Project, in which teens will talk openly to other teens about sex and relationships.

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Alongside 11 other children’s arts organisations we’re calling for arts and creativity to be at the heart of every child’s life – artists or ‘creative practitioners’ should be part of the core team around every child!

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If like us, you have missed the festivals this month, we encourage you to make the most of these rainy days to enjoy some beautiful, challenging and exciting content available online at the moment.

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We're delighted that Tiger is Out, an extract from Imaginate Accelerator writer Oliver Emanuel's forthcoming play I Am Tiger, directed by Lu Kemp and starring Ava Hickey, will be broadcast on BBC on Friday 21 Aug at 9pm, as part of National Theatre of Scotland's Scenes for Survival. 

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After nearly six years at the helm, Imaginate’s Chief Executive Paul Fitzpatrick is to leave to take up the newly created post of Director of Creative Engagement at the National Theatre of Scotland.

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Kate Temple highlights some of the excellent visual art resources and workshops currently available online for children, young people and families during this extended period of lockdown.

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Artists Jim Manganello and Lucy Ireland talk about what they have learnt and (un)learnt while developing their new Untitled Discotheque Project.

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Artists Geraldine Heaney and Hannah Venet reflect on opportunities to change our education system following the current crisis. Theatres, museums and galleries are all closed. Community centres have been repurposed to meet immediate survival needs. Hospitality is doing its best to survive on take-aways. Play parks are covered in red tape. Is it time to reimagine art and its role in education? Can we move beyond the traditional spaces ‘where art happens’ and into the community?

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PUSH+ Belgian artist Rebecca Lenaerts talks about the durational performance she developed following her participation in the Home Lab.

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As life continues in lockdown for many of us and for some taking the first tentative steps out of restrictions, we thought it might be a great time to share some new digital adventures with you from around the world.

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Brian Hartley's third blog about his Immerse residency with St Ninian's R.C. Primary School, talking about weeks 6, 7 and 8.

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Eoin McKenzie writes about how he feels being an artist in this current lockdown situation in Scotland. "I spoke with my old university class on Zoom, we all shared a sense that our work had evaporated in front of us. Of being brought to a halt. Here we are, a group of twenty-something-year-old artists rendered inert."

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Failure Lab artist Stine Strange Thue has written a performance text from thoughts that are bubbling still after the Lab. "DEAR LIGHT OF CALAMITIES HELP ME TO FAIL PLEASE JUST LET ME FAIL AND FALL SO AT LEAST I DO NOT FAIL AT BEING ABLE TO FAIL"

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Amalia Herrera took part in the Migration Lab in February 2018. Here she reflects on that experience and what a body means in this time of limited contact.

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Sarah Louise Kristiansen took part in the (over)protection Lab in 2017 as part of PUSH. Read here for her thoughts about this new online world from the perspective of a choreographer.

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Mairéad Folan is one of fifteen artists who have been selected to take part in the Different Bodies Lab in Norway in September 2020. Here she writes about her experience of being a disabled artists during this crisis and some of the more inclusive practice that has opened up possibilities for her.

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Shane O’Reilly (Gender Lab, January 2017 as part of PUSH) talks about the impact Covid-19 on physical interaction and intimacy.

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Kate Temple's third blog about her Immerse residency with St David's RC Primary School, talking about finishing unexpectedly and the film made as a result.

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