Edinburgh International Children’s Festival to Go Ahead in 2021

We might be hungry for Christmas fare at this time of year, but we’re also hungry for good news too and some of that comes from Imaginate, the organisation that produces the Edinburgh International Children’s Festival (EICF). Imaginate can confirm that plans for the 2021 EICF are going ahead and from 25th May till 6th June 2021 the annual festival will again go ahead in one form or another. Imaginate will also continue to run their year-round schools programme and creative development for artists.

Although the EICF will as usual showcase great theatre and dance created especially for children and young people, with Covid restrictions still likely to be in place, the programme will focus primarily on Scottish and UK productions, with a combination of outdoor and smaller capacity in-venue performances. Families will also be able to enjoy a series of pop-up performances throughout the city over the first and final weekend of the Festival during which extra measures will be put in place to ensure everyone’s safety. Digital events will also be on offer for those who would still rather stay at home.

The decision to go ahead with the programme was made to give the selected artists and companies some assurance about the future with freelancers, who have been hit particularly hard by Covid, getting a welcome boost. The return of EICF will also be a bonus to children and young people who have been impacted by having had no access to live performances during the pandemic.

EICF 2021 will see Imaginate commissioning 16 new works that will involve over 100 freelancers based in Scotland with a commitment to paying them irrespective of whether things go ahead or not, although some digital versions are planned to avoid full cancellation. 

EICF Director Noel Jordan said “Our primary goal is to make sure our young audiences have access to high quality performances in May. It would have been tempting to wait to confirm the programme until we had more certainty about restrictions but we feel it is important to make a commitment to the artists and companies who rely on us to platform their work. Imaginate’s mission is to help develop and promote new theatre and dance for young people and we are delighted to be able to support artists based in Scotland to create new work for the Festival and to showcase them in May. Ultimately, if restrictions prevent us presenting everything we have planned, we feel it will have been a worthwhile investment and we are confident that this work can still be presented in the future, at our Festival or elsewhere.”

Full information is on the Imaginate website.

Irene Brown

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