Youth Connections

Whether it’s in schools, or in our Festival home at The Hub, we ignite creative dreams and career aspirations for children and young people of all abilities and life experiences.

Through our captivating projects and workshops, we connect with children and young people across Scotland to support their skills development. In turn, children and young people help us to bring new and diverse perspectives on the performing arts.

Art of Listening

Art of Listening is our flagship project which introduces Primary 7 pupils aged 10–12 to classical music and the International Festival through song and live performance. Each year, thousands of pupils take part in this two-hour workshop at The Hub, the home of the Edinburgh International Festival. Pupils are guided through the listening experience by a professional opera singer, accompanist and facilitator, learning to engage their imaginations, develop stronger listening skills and respond creatively.

Group of children in black hoodies looking at two adults with their hands up during a workshop

Primary 7 pupils participating in an Art of Listening workshop

In 2024, we are delivering more Art of Listening workshops than ever before. Find out how you can support us in reaching 3,000 Primary school pupils across Edinburgh.

Find out more

Discover Projects

Our Discover Projects are offered to secondary school pupils and are an annual commitment to creating pathways to each of our artforms.

Discover Opera

Discover Opera introduces S3 to S6 pupils to one of our main-stage operas through an interactive, potted version performed in their school by our team of artists. In 2024, Discover Opera will explore Bizet’s Carmen and will tour schools in June. Pupils will be offered free tickets to see Carmen presented by Opera Comique during the Festival.

Discover Music

Discover Music is an opportunity for secondary school pupils to experience live music in the International Festival. In 2024, pupils will attend a Schools Open Dress Rehearsal presented by Nicola Benedetti, in which Sao Paolo Symphony Orchestra will perform The Alpine Symphony.

Discover Dance

Discover Dance is an annual opportunity for young people to discover dance in the Festival. In 2024, we will work in partnership with Dance Base to bring young people to see Grupo Corpoand Crystal Pite’s Assembly Hall.

Discover Theatre

Discover Theatre will connect young people with The Outrun in two ways in 2024.

  • A group of young people in Edinburgh and young people in Orkney will connect throughout the year to explore ideas of home and identity. A creative outcome of the project will be exhibited in the Church Hill Theatre in August.
  • S5 and S6 classes from across Edinburgh will be invited to a schools’ performance of The Outrun which will include a Q&A with creatives from the production.

Photos from Discover Opera 2023 (formally Opera Project)

Youth Takeover Day

Youth Takeover Day was a new initiative in 2023 and is now an annual opportunity for senior pupils from across Edinburgh to connect with the Edinburgh International Festival during August, meeting Festival staff and artists from the programme and experiencing live performance. Youth Takeover Day allows young people from across the city to connect with like-minded peers and have a voice in the future of the Festival.

Previous project highlights

Curious to learn more or interested in working with us? Speak to Caroline Donald, Head of Discovery and Participation, by emailing [email protected].


Supporting partner