Two New Scottish Commissions Added to Edinburgh International Children’s Festival

With the launch of the Edinburgh International Children’s Festival (EICF) due on 21st April, two productions have been announced as part of the upcoming programme. Both are brand new commissions by companies and artists based in Scotland who are supported by the Scottish Government Festivals Expo Fund.

From Scotland’s only disabled-led theatre company, Birds of Paradise Theatre Company (BOP), comes The Super Special Disability Roadshow. BOP draws on stories and experiences of disabled children and adults that will be explored in their trademark style showing what it means to be disabled and how we all feel about our identities.   Created by BOP, directed by Joe Douglas, written and performed by artistic director Robert Softley Gale, co-starring and with original songs by Sally Clay and introducing Oona Dooks and Oliver Martindale, The Super Special Disability Roadshow exemplifies the company’s vision of a culture where disabled artists are recognised for the excellence of their work and celebrated for the stories they bring to the stage.

From designerKaty Wilson comes Mixed Up that will be co-produced by Scotland’s arts and early years organisation, Starcatchers. Using painting, music and dance, Katy Wilson and her team of multi-artform artists have created an interactive event for schools to experience online and outdoors that explores feelings of young children in turbulent times.

Along with lead artist Katy Wilson, the Mixed Up creative team includes Choreographer  Ashley Jack; Film director Abby Warrilow; Documentary film maker  Jassy Earl; Dramaturg Xana Marwick; Dancers Gabriele Bruzzese & Ursula Manandhar; Sound Design and Composition Marcus Britton; Composers Nik Paget Tomlinson,  Barney Strachan, Matt Elliot; Beatboxer Bigg Taj and  Animation Ursula Cheng.

Festival Director Noel Jordan said, We are delighted to be commissioning two new works by such interesting artists this year. Both teams have had to adapt to the changing circumstances and create a fully digital version of their show, but both have ambitions to develop the work for a live audience in the future.

Birds of Paradise are creating a performance that was initially planned for our 2020 Festival – as a result it has had the benefit of increased consultation time and the involvement of two young collaborators who will be represented through multi-media in the final performance.

Katy Wilson’s new piece, selected from a call-out to artists in Scotland, is very pertinent to our times, exploring how children make sense of complex emotions. Whilst originally planned to be perform live in school playgrounds, Katy and her creative team have responded to the current challenges with innovative use of pre-recorded film and workshop activities led by teachers.”

The full programme for the Edinburgh International Children’s Festival will be released on 21st April 2021.

Irene Brown

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