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5 Exciting Things To Do At Edinburgh International Children’s Festival

The Edinburgh International Children’s Festival returns this year from 25th May – 2nd June with an exciting programme of theatre and dance for children and young people.

This year, the Festival celebrates its 30th birthday and the line-up promises to challenge and inspire in equal measures! Adults alike will enjoy the touching and magical performances at this year’s Festival. Highlights include 15 productions from 8 different countries, featuring international shows from Europe and beyond. The programme boasts a unique and immersive production from Punchdrunk, Small Wonders. This is an interactive experience where children are invited inside the home of a miniaturist for an awe-inspiring magical journey. 

The Festival opens on Saturday 25th May with a free Family Day at the National Museum of Scotland, full of fun drop-in events and activities for children of all ages. We spoke to Marion Bourbouze, Head of Marketing & Communications at Imaginate, who gave us her top-5 not-to-be-missed picks at this year’s Festival!

If you’re looking for other activities to do with children, take a look at our guide to 10 Great Things To Do With Children In Edinburgh.

Keep reading to learn more about this year’s Edinburgh International Children’s Festival!

Great For The Whole Family

1. Small Wonders

The Warehouse, Bonnington | 14 – 28th May | Ages 5-11

Do not, under any circumstances, miss this show, set in a warehouse in Leith! Created by legendary company Punchdrunk, Small Wonders invites children into the home of Nanny Lacey for an immersive and awe-inspiring journey. Her council flat houses her collection of miniatures, like treasured memories telling different stories. But Nanny Lacey has gotten older and change is on the horizon. Before she goes to a care home, there is one final miniature to share and one final story to tell…

Watch the trailer below!


2. The Invisible Man

Traverse Theatre | 30th May 7pm / 1st June 3pm & 7pm / 2nd June 11.30am & 3pm | Ages 4-11

This one is a great family show. It mixes ingenious tricks and anarchic theatre and is full of fun and surprising magic. The audience watches (seemingly unseen) as artists, musicians, and technicians prepare for a show on stage when things start to go wrong in unexpected ways!

Theater Artemis is well known for making brilliant shows that are both exciting and intelligent and even adults are reduced to silence by their ingenuity, wondering what is real and what isn’t!

Great For Older Children

3. This Girl Laughs

Brunton Theatre | 1st June 2pm | Ages 7-12

This Girl Laughs is a modern fairytale about empowered children (particularly girls) making their own way in life. When triplet sisters are abandoned in a forest by their father, they take on diverging paths – one walks one way to find purpose, another the opposite way to find adventure, and the third stays right where she is. After many years of having grown forests, baked cakes, explored oceans, fought Vikings and built homes, the sisters, now women, meet back in the forest where it all started.

This is a contemporary fairytale about determination and friendship that will encourage us to follow our dreams. This world premiere is from Scottish-based company Stellar Quines.

Artistic Director Jemima Levick talks about the show:

4. New Owner

North Edinburgh Arts | 1st June 11am & 2.30pm| Ages 7-12

If you like puppies, then that one’s for you – but come with hankies!

Bart is a boisterous puppy waiting to be chosen from the animal shelter. Mabel is a lonely widow, trying to fill the hole in her heart. The day they find each other is the beginning of a profound friendship. But Mabel is old, and Bart is young – and suddenly alone.

Combining puppetry, live action and animation, New Owner will take you on an adventure through a dog’s eyes, sensitively exploring loss, friendship and new beginnings. A very touching and relevant show for many children.

Watch the adorable trailer below:

For The Littlest Ones

5. A New Bath

Festival Theatre Studio | 1st June 1.30pm & 3.30pm / 2nd June 12.30pm & 2.30pm| Ages 2-6

This is a fun show for little ones. It’s the story of a man who takes a bath. Actually, it’s a dancer sculpting clouds. Or is it a cloud cradling a dancer in its arms? Or maybe it’s something else entirely… Watch in wonder as a dancer creates and sculpts beautiful foam characters and landscapes on a stage full of bath foam – unlike anything you’ve seen before!

And there’s plenty more to see this year! You can check the full programme here.

To book tickets, go to the Imaginate Festival website or call the box office on 0131 228 1404.

Visiting Edinburgh with family this year?
We have a home away from home waiting for you!

With a wide range of family-friendly homes available to let, Dickins has the perfect holiday home for family’s travelling with small children. We also wrote a blog post recently on what makes Edinburgh such a brilliant city to visit with children, with suggestions for places to stay and things to do. You can read it here.

View more of our family-friendly homes here.

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