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Imaginate renamed Edinburgh International Children’s Festival for 2017

Primo, the underwater performance installation that will be part of the Edinburgh International Children's Festival's 2017 programme. Photo: Saris and Den Engelsman

Imaginate Festival has announced that it will be renamed the Edinburgh International Children’s Festival as it reveals its 2017 programme.

The name change reflects the fact that Imaginate, the organisation that produces the summer festival, has a wider remit throughout the year to promote and develop children’s theatre. It has no connection to the Edinburgh International Festival.

Highlights for this year’s 28th children’s festival, which will feature 15 shows from nine countries, include Primo, an underwater performance installation in an inflatable swimming pool, and Evil, a play exploring bullying in a Swedish boarding school.

This is the first programme from director Noel Jordan, who took up the post in 2015.

He said: “2017 will witness changes and new beginnings at Imaginate. As Edinburgh celebrates its 70th anniversary as a festival city, we are now firmly established in the yearly calendar of festival offerings. I am thrilled that 2017 will see the staging of my first programme in the role of festival director and am genuinely excited by the calibre of local and international artists presented at the festival.”

A new co-production called Night Light, created for three to six-year-olds by Teater Refleksion from Denmark, will tour after its festival run. Audiences will follow the journey of a curious girl who wants to explore the night.

The festival will also be the culmination of an initiative that allowed a group of 10 to 15-year-old children to work with the festival director. They attended eight productions at the 2016 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, selecting two – Evil and Into the Water – to be included in the 2017 Children’s Festival programme.

Fiona Hyslop, cabinet secretary for culture, tourism and external affairs, said: “Research has provided strong evidence on the value of young people experiencing culture from an early age, and the children’s festival ensures their exposure to high-quality arts.”

Running from May 27 to June 4, the festival will open with a family weekend at the National Museum of Scotland.