It is not yet August but the International Festival’s Creative Learning team has had a busy few months working with schools and community groups in Edinburgh, and as the school gates shut for the summer we reflect on the engaging work we have undertaken with children and young people, connecting them with our exciting International Festival programme.
May and June saw our artists Brodie, Fraser and Kate, with assistant Francesca, work with eight schools, engaging 345 Primary 7 pupils who are about to transition into Secondary School on our Soul Boxes project. Soul Boxes explores what it means to be a Festival City child growing up in the global city of Edinburgh, and in the workshops the children reflected on their own lives and memories, whilst thinking about next steps and their futures. They each made personal Soul Boxes with colourful collage images representing some of these thoughts, all kept in personal boxes they can continue adding to as the move forward in life.
With Primary 7 looking to their futures, we launched our Five Telegrams Schools Workshops with Primary 6 pupils from across the city to look back at WWI. Geraldine, Alice, Matt, Katy, Kim and Kate worked with Anna Meredith to find out more about the creative process for the Aberdeen Standard Investments Opening Event: Five Telegrams, and from this created a fun and dynamic workshop where pupils were commissioned to write their own personal telegrams. Over 500 pupils from 11 schools explored themes of code breaking and communication methods, and the telegrams they produced will be exchanged between schools on their return to school as Primary 7s in August. Five of the telegrams will also be printed onto postcards to be distributed across the International Festival, as well as at the BBC Proms, to collect, post, or pass on… keep an eye for them appearing soon.
June also saw the start of this year’s Herald Young Critics project. Six journalists from The Herald newspaper visited Secondary Schools to work with Higher and Advanced Higher classes in exploring arts criticism and the role of reviewing performances at the International Festivals. The pupils will then be invited in August to attend a specific performance within the International Festival programme and each write a review under professional time constraints with a select number being printed in The Herald. All reviews will be shared on the International Festival website.
In the field of dance, workshops for our Kadamati project are very much underway, with our dance artists working with groups from across Scotland to learn the choreography in preparation for Wednesday 22 August at 6.15pm when all the young people will come together to perform at the Palace of Holyroodhouse. This is a free performance, full details here.
We also welcomed to Edinburgh, James, and Rebecca from Studio Wayne McGregor who spent three days working with approximately 100 dancers from different groups, exploring the choreography and themes from Wayne McGregor’s forthcoming show Autobiography. Two days were spent with the pupils of Broughton High School, whilst the third day they spent with Lothian Youth Dance Company and Prime Dance Company, both from Dance Base, to deliver a unique intergenerational workshop bringing the two companies together for the first time.
We also welcomed to Edinburgh, James, and Rebecca from Studio Wayne McGregor who spent three days working with approximately 100 dancers from different groups, exploring the choreography and themes from Wayne McGregor’s forthcoming show Autobiography. Two days were spent with the pupils of Broughton High School, whilst the third day they spent with Lothian Youth Dance Company and Prime Dance Company, both from Dancebase, to deliver a unique intergenerational workshop bringing the two companies together for the first time.
Finally, in Scotland’s Year of Young People we are celebrating in style with the Aberdeen Standard Investments Opening Event: Five Telegrams and our very special flashmob choir. Young people aged 12-to-26 will perform as part of the Edinburgh International Festival and help bring Anna Meredith and 59 Productions' creative vision to life. Rehearsals have already started, but if you're keen to sign up, you can email us at Julian.Almeida@eif.co.uk. We've also put together this handy summary to give you more information about taking part, or more full details can be found here.