The newly renamed Edinburgh International Children's Festival (formerly Imaginate Festival) which is running from 27 May to 4 June 2017, launched its programme to the public today. The new name reflects Imaginate's wider role in the sector: supporting artists to make new work year round and producing the flagship Edinburgh International Children's Festival.

The 2017 festival programme offers children, young people and their families the opportunity to see some of the world's best theatre, dance, multi-media and puppetry performances made especially for them. The festival includes 15 shows from 9 countries – all curated to stimulate and inspire children and young people to consider their identity and place in the world.

As well as catering for the very young with hypnotic shows including Primo's underwater performance installation in a large inflatable swimming pool and Grass, a dance exploration of the earth and its wriggling inhabitants performed on real turf, this year's festival includes exciting productions for older children such as Falling Dreams, an exciting multi-media production taking the audience inside the mind of a teenage girl and Evil, with its real life unflinching exploration of bullying in a Swedish boarding school.

Following last year's success, the festival, which is funded by Creative Scotland, will once again open with a family weekend at the National Museum of Scotland with free drop-in events all day including live music, pop-up performances, storytelling, hands-on arts activities and more.

Festival Director Noel Jordan said "2017 will witness changes and new beginnings at Imaginate. As Edinburgh celebrates its 70th anniversary as Festival City, we are now firmly established in the yearly calendar of festival offerings, presenting our 28th international festival. I am thrilled that 2017 will see the staging of my first program in the role of Festival Director and am genuinely excited by the calibre of local and international artists presented at the festival. No two productions are alike and in no other city in the world is there an opportunity to see this incredible array of work which is electrifying, stimulating and continually surprising."

Festival on Tour

The festival will go beyond Edinburgh with a three week tour of Scotland of Night Light, a beautiful new co-production for 3-6 year olds by the creator of runaway success White and the internationally renowned Teater Refleksion from Denmark. The audience will be immersed in a magical universe, following the journey of a curious little girl who wants to explore the night. The intimate setting with stunning sound design is sure to be a big hit. Night Light is funded by the Scottish Government's Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund through Creative Scotland.

Wee Night Out

The festival will also be the culmination of a special initiative which gave a group of 10-15 year old children from Craigmillar the opportunity to work with the Festival Director. Together, they attended eight productions at the 2016 Edinburgh Festival Fringe and following heated discussions about what they had seen and liked, selected two productions that have been included in our 2017 programme: Evil and Into the Water. The project was funded by The City of Edinburgh Council.

Festival tickets are on sale now. For full programme and booking information, go to the festival's website. Tickets can be booked online or at 0131 228 1404.

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