Imaginate Is Go!

May 9 2022 | By More

Imaginate Listings

The Edinburgh International Children’s Festival is on this week with a fully live festival, featuring twelve different productions, including two specially commissioned shows from Scottish companies.

The new works are I am Tiger, by Oliver Emanuel is at the Traverse (Mon 9 – Wed 11) and The Hope River Girls by Jake Jeppson is at the Studio on Potterrow (Mon 9 – Thurs 12). There is also a focus on work from Flanders, as well as Scottish work  from Starcatchers and Daniel Padden.

Strawboys by Rob Heaslip at the Imaginate Family Day at the Museum of Scotland. Pic: Thom Dibdin

The festival kicked off on Saturday with a free Family Encounters day at the National Museum of Scotland on Chambers Street. Judging from the delight and attention which the young audiences there paid to the performances, there is a huge appetite for live performance, the more vibrant and hands-on the better.


These listings are grouped by order of the age for which the work is appropriate.

Sat 7 May 2022
Family Encounters
National Museum of Scotland
10am – 4.30pm.
All Ages
The Festival opens on Saturday 7 May with a day of FREE pop-up performances and arts activities for families in the beautiful setting of the National Museum of Scotland on Chambers Street. Drop-in activities will include walk about characters, dance perfromances, musical explorations, hands-on activities and more! Book here.

Sun 8 – Wed 11 May 2022
Little Top
Assembly Roxy
Two shows daily: 10am, 1pm.
Ages: 0-18 months. 40 min + 10 min play.
At a time in their development when young children are discovering their own physicality and the pleasures and perils of gravity, Little Top invites babies to experience spectacular balances, astonishing tumbles and inventive juggling in a specially-designed set that miniaturises the magic of the Big Top. Book here.

Thurs 12 – Sun 15 May 2022
We Touch, We Play, We Dance
Two shows daily: 10.30am, 1.30pm.
Ages: 4 months – 3 years. 45 min.
A mesmerising, engaging and celebratory dance-show. The four dancers weave around the space, inviting babies and children to join them in a warm hearted and playful performance. With music mixed by a live DJ, the performers respond to the children, guiding them through a series of exchanges and encounters, with high fives, hugs and dancing. Book here.

Tue 10 – Thurs 12 May 2022
Scottish Storytelling Centre
Three shows daily: 10am, 11.45am, 2pm.
Ages: 2 – 6 yerars. 35 min + 10 min play.
An original, visual, funny and moving performance about being alone and coming home. With a background in music theatre and modern mime, Simone de Jong creates work based around music, movement and imagination, with performances which appeal to the multiple senses of its young audience, in a secretive way. Book here.

Fri 13 – Sun 15 May 2022
The Studio
Fri: 9.30am, 11am; Sat/Sun: 10.30am, 1.30pm.
Ages: 3 – 7 years. 30 min + 20 min playtime.
A performance in which the light is dancing. Tiny lights and big spots traverse the stage. The light dances in rounds and the performers follow suit. The audience slowly discovers a world of nuances and light intensity – the gloom of a torch, the bright light of a larger spot, each radiating a different atmosphere. Book here.

Sun 8 – Wed 11 May 2022
Southside Community Centre
Two shows daily: 10.45am, 1.45pm.
Ages: 4 – 9 years. 55 mins. (Sold out)
Jakob tries to copy the painting of his hero Jackson Pollock. But how can he make the right blot on the right spot? Should he drip, throw, pour or splash the paint? Does he need to work with brushes, sticks, or entire containers? He uses all his body parts, but no matter how he twists, turns, jumps, or rolls: his painting does not resemble the original. Sold Out.

Fri 13 – Sat 14 May 2022
Family Portrait
Fri: 3pm 4pm, 6pm, 7pm; Sat: 10am, 11am, 12 noon, 1pm, 3pm, 4pm, 5pm.
Ages: 6 – 11 years. 35 min.
A four screen video installation work, combining striking imagery and choreography, capturing Barrowland Ballet’s Artistic Director Natasha Gilmore and her three children in an intimate portrayal of family life. Book here.

Tue 10 – Fri 13 May 2022
Whirly Gig
Brunton Theatre
Two shows daily: 10.30am, 1.30pm.
Ages: 6 – 11 years. 50 min.
A madcap musical adventure involving four brave musicians, 30 instruments, and countless musical puzzles to solve. With impeccable comic and musical timing, the four performers boldly attempt to play wonderful music under the trickiest of situations. Join them for an extraordinary theatrical experience where music will happen in ways you have never seen before. Book here.

Thurs 12 – Sun 15 May 2022
Little Murmer
Assembly Roxy
Thurs/Fri: 9.30am, 11am, 1.15pm; Sat/Sun: 2pm, 3.30pm.
Ages: 7 – 14 years. 40 mins
Based on the true story of a child who one day realises they have been misspelling their own name. An honest, funny and heartfelt journey about the trials and tribulations of living with dyslexia and seeing things differently. Combining visual design and technology with dance and humour Little Murmur explores the warped and exaggerated realities of living in a world you struggle to process. Book here.

Thurs 12 – Sat 14 May 2022
Thurs: 1.30pm, 7pm; Fri: 10.30am, 1.45pm; Sat: 2pm, 7pm.
Ages: 8 – 15 years. 40 mins.
Once there was a boy who wished he was a bird. He wished he could just fly away and be free of all his worries. In his whirring mind, thoughts, worries, fantasies and external stimuli all compete for space. Full of fun and sorrow, this visually stunning show performed by dancer Kevin Coquelard, celebrates the power of imagination and offers a vision of hope and connection. Book here.

Mon 9 – Thurs 12 May 2022
Sound Symphony
Institute francaise d’Ecosse
Two shows daily: 10.30am, 1.30pm.
Ages: 8+ years. 50 mins.
A highly interactive, sensory performance made especially for and with Autistic young people. The show is a playful journey through sound and music. It provides a sensory rich environment, where the audience will feel music through their whole body. It celebrates making music your own way, weaving together live classical instruments, singing and a wide range of weird and wonderful sounds. Book here.

Mon 9 – Thurs 12 May 2022
The Hope River Girls
The Studio
Mon, Weds: 1.30pm, 7pm; Tue: 10.30am, 1.30pm, Thurs: 9.45am.
Ages: 10+. 50 mins.
Hope River, upstate New York. A group of 24 schoolgirls begin behaving strangely and mirroring each other. As the girls’ behaviour begins to draw the attention of parents, teachers and even the national news, the town quickly becomes a hotbed of fascination, fear and mistrust. Is there something in the water, in the soil or something much darker? Book here.

Mon 9 – Wed 11 May 2022
I Am Tiger
Mon: 1.45pm, 6.45pm; Tue: 1.45pm, 7pm; Wed: 9.45am.
Ages 12 – 16 years. 50 mins.
A month after losing her big brother to suicide, Laura’s parents buy her a pet tiger. They never explain the tiger and never discuss Laura’s big brother. Not ever. It’s like Laura’s big brother didn’t exist. And having a pet tiger is illegal for a reason. Soon things start to spiral out of control… as things tend to do with feelings of grief… and tigers… Book here.


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