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Punchdrunk to present first Scottish production as part of new Imaginate programme

Small Wonders. Photo: Stephen Dobbie Small Wonders. Photo: Stephen Dobbie
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Imaginate has announced a £535,000 programme of wide-ranging initiatives for the children’s theatre and dance sectors in Scotland over the next three years.

As part of this it will work with immersive company Punchdrunk, which will bring a show to Scotland for the first time.

The initiatives are part of the 30th anniversary programme of the organisation that promotes, develops and celebrates theatre and dance for children and young people.

The funding will help support a new year-round offer to schools, support for existing and emerging theatre artists and an archive project for the organisation’s resources.

Imaginate was set up as the International Children’s Theatre Festival in Edinburgh in 1989 and continues to run a flagship festival in May every year, showcasing the sector to industry professionals from around the world and young Scottish audiences.

This year’s festival will be enhanced by an extra £126,000 Scottish Government Expo funding, and include Small Wonders by Punchdrunk.

Punchdrunk will also be collaborating on the three-year Immerse project to deliver theatrical experiences in six schools in areas of high deprivation.

Imaginate renamed Edinburgh International Children’s Festival for 2017

Speaking at the programmes’ launch, Imaginate chief executive Paul Fitzpatrick said: “What’s exciting is that these new programmes will be in place for the next three years, making a real change to what we are providing for theatre and dance for young people in Scotland.”

Imaginate’s existing Creative Development programme will be boosted with new residencies with arts organisations, an “accelerator” programme to help artists bring work to production – with producer support to ensure it has a further life – and a similar programme for emerging artists.

Fitzpatrick told The Stage Imaginate has built up loyal audiences through its festival and the recent Theatre In Schools Scotland initiative with the National Theatre Scotland, which is to continue.

He said the new initiatives will “deepen” those relationships and Imaginate will have a presence in at least 20 schools across Scotland every term each year for the next three years.

He added: “We hope to learn more about what schools need and how they operate, as well as finding ways to embed the experience of being an audience member into the culture of the school.

“We hope that professional theatre and dance become seen as rich sources of inspiration for learning in all areas of the curriculum as well as enriching the experience of childhood for as many children as possible.”

Full details of the 30th edition of the festival, running 25 May to 2 June 2019, will be announced on March 20.

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