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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon visits Castlebrae Community High School, who have been part of a three-year residency programme with the Edinburgh International Festival.

Today First Minister Nicola Sturgeon visited Castlebrae Community High School to meet with the teachers and pupils who have been part of a three-year residency programme with the Edinburgh International Festival.

The First Minister also attended the rehearsal of Olivier Award-winning East London hip-hop dance company Boy Blue Entertainment. Its new work Project R.E.B.E.L will be performed at Castlebrae on 19 and 20 August as the school transforms into a Festival venue.

The International Festival’s three-year arts residency at Castlebrae is a partnership between the school, the Festival and the City of Edinburgh Council. Over the last three years, pupils have been learning about all aspects of the International Festival through workshops, bespoke mentoring and work experience programmes. These have highlighted the varied professional skillsets required in the delivery of events like the International Festival and included a specially developed Festivals and Events Management module which contributes towards pupils’ National 5 qualification in ‘Creative Industries’. In the culmination of this residency programme the students are now putting their experience into practice, as they assist the Festival team in planning and running the venue in their school.

Performed by some of the country’s most talented hip-hop dancers, Project R.E.B.E.L is full of emotional energy and fierce movement set to a blistering soundtrack, and will receive its world premiere at Castlebrae this weekend. The East London company is also performing its Olivier Award-nominated Blak Whyte Gray as part of the International Festival. Founded in 2002 by choreographer Kenrick ‘H20’ Sandy and music producer Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante, Boy Blue Entertainment’s incredible breakthrough work Pied Piper won the company an Olivier Award in 2007. Five years later Sandy choreographed a sequence for the London Olympics Opening Ceremony under the direction of Danny Boyle and he has recently been awarded an MBE for services to dance and community in the Queen’s New Year honours list.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP said: ‘This partnership between Castlebrae Community High School and the Edinburgh International Festival is giving pupils a wonderful opportunity to work with festival staff, learning how to run a world-class event within their own school. I am sure that the young people involved will be inspired by the experience, as well as the chance to see first-hand the award winning Project R.E.B.E.L performances. Our culture and heritage should be shared and enjoyed by everyone in Scotland. That is why projects like this that connect with and involve local communities are so important’.