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Programme launch at Castlebrae Community High School

Pupils at an Edinburgh secondary school had their own launch for this year’s Edinburgh International Festival today. Students learnt about the 2016 programme, but also gained an insight into how to present one. The event was part a three year partnership between the International Festival, Castlebrae Community High School and the City of Edinburgh Council.

Castlebrae Community High School pupils are learning about all aspects of the International Festival’s work, so they can eventually do it themselves. In 2017 the school will become an official International Festival venue run by pupils.

International Festival Director Fergus Linehan ran pupils through the programme of music, opera, theatre and dance coming to the city this August, alongside plans for using the school as a venue in 2017.

This year’s International Festival programme has had three launches – to the Scottish media and arts community at Edinburgh Festival Theatre, to London-based movers and shakers at Canada House off Trafalgar Square, and now to Castlebrae.

This is the second year of a three year partnership between the International Festival, Castlebrae Community High School and the City of Edinburgh Council Creative Learning Department – which includes workshops, events, bespoke mentoring and work experience. The programme not only includes activities focussed around the performing arts and International Festival productions, but highlights other aspects of the International Festival’s work and the varied professional skillsets required in its delivery.

The partnership will culminate in 2017 when the school will become an International Festival venue run by pupils. Working towards that, activity for 2016 includes:

  • A group of senior pupils will form an official International Festival Jury. They will see 19 performances by artists including Sigur Rós, ANOHNI, Natalia Osipova, James Thierrée, Magdalena Kožená and Barry Humphries. Working with Canadian research and performance group Mammalian Diving Reflex they will create and run the International Festival Young People’s Awards Ceremony.
  • Acclaimed Scottish actor Alan Cumming will visit Castlebrae in August to talk to staff and pupils about his life as a performer.
  • Local photographer Aly Wight will continue taking portraits documenting the young people through the three years of the partnership.
  • The school’s senior prom will be held at the International Festival’s Hub headquarters for a second year. Pupils will co-create this prom with staff at the Hub.
  • In addition to school based workshops an extensive mentoring and work experience programme for senior students started in February. Chef Jai Parson (17) designed the canapes for International Festival programme launch party held at the Festival Theatre, working with catering partners Appetite Direct and their team of event specialists led by Nigel Kennedy. 

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