The annual Edinburgh International Children’s Festival (EICF), that will run over two full weekends in May, has launched its programme, with a live programme for schools, families and industry professionals.
The 2022 programme offers its usual mix of artforms, featuring common themes that speak to the complex experiences children are dealing with during the pandemic. Many productions explore isolation, touch and human connection, while others invite us to reflect on bodies that are different from the norm, and their possibilities and challenges. The theme of mental health and peer pressure also features strongly throughout the programme.
Despite restrictions imposed by Covid, the programme remains international and includes a regional focus on Flanders, the Dutch-speaking Northern part of Belgium, one of the world’s leaders in producing innovative theatre and dance for young audiences.
Festival Director Noel Jordan said, “We are delighted to be presenting a live festival for 2022 with a varied programme of Scottish and European performances. This year’s Festival is full of special moments for children and their families – experiences that will enable young people to reconnect and encourage them to wish, desire and aspire beyond their own lives and immediate neighbourhoods, into their potential future selves. Communal connectedness is crucial in the lives of children and young people and never more timely than this current period in our history.”
This year’s programme includes two new Scottish commissions funded by the Scottish Government’s Festivals Expo Fund, that will be touring and reaching children beyond Edinburgh. Both commissions explore the theme of mental health and how to make sense of a confusing world. These are:
The Hope River Girls, a reconceived version for young audiences of groupwork’s multi award-winning 2019 debut, The Afflicted. Inspired by real events, the show tells the story of 24 schoolgirls who start behaving strangely and come under intense media scrutiny. The Hope River Girls will tour across Scotland in the lead up to the Festival.
I am Tiger, produced by Perth Theatre and written by Oliver Emanuel during his time as an Imaginate Accelerator artist, tells the story of a girl who is given a pet tiger by her parents following the death by suicide of her big brother.
This year’s programme also features a film package for schools who are unable to travel to Edinburgh, supported by Cirrus Logic. Being Human includes four short films, each exploring the nature of what it is to be human, the things that make us different and the connections that bring people together.
In order to increase access to more families, the Festival will once again open with Family Encounters, a day of free performances and arts activities at the National Museum of Scotland (NMS) featuring a range of Scotland-based artists. As well as dance, music and walk about characters, innovative performances have been commissioned in partnership with Merchant City Festival, NMS and Platform, including a new piece for visually impaired children. The day will also feature a New Stories strand supported by The Year of Stories 2022 Community Stories Funds.
This year’s EICF runs from Saturday 7th May to Saturday 15th May with tickets, that can be booked online or at 0131 226 0019, on sale now.
For full programme and booking information go to www.imaginate.org.uk/festival.