The Edinburgh International Children's Festival is a 9-day festival dedicated to offering family-friendly entertainment in the form of theater and dance. Numerous pop-up events take place across the city centre, showcasing performances designed for audiences ranging from toddlers to teenagers. Though it's primarily targeted toward children, the festival offers quality entertainment for older members of the family to enjoy as well.

The festival is a great place to develop unforgettable memories with your child. It may be their first time seeing a theater performance, or they might become inspired to pursue performing arts themselves. Let your imagination run wild as the various events and activities shape a new appreciation for performance art.

Edinburgh International Children's Festival - one of the highlights of 11 Best Festivals in Edinburgh (Read all about Edinburgh here)

Edinburgh International Children's Festival highlights

The major highlight of this festival is the array of live performances put on throughout the event's 9 days, each having undergone a rigorous selection process. The event organizers attend tons of performances throughout the year to find only the best for the event. The selected performances are always geared specifically toward children rather than just adult content that children may be interested in.

To help ensure that all children are included and accommodated, the festival strives for accessibility. Wheelchair access and hearing assistance are common, and guide dogs are welcome. The event organizers also ensure that children from all backgrounds feel welcome, inviting schools from different regions with a focus on schools that are economically or socially disadvantaged. The festival is also a member of the Green Arts Initiative.

Edinburgh International Children's Festival history

The Edinburgh International Children's Festival began in 1990 as the Scottish International Children's Festival. It was held in Inverleith Park and drew in an audience of 20,476 children and their accompanying adults to see 12 main-stage shows. Some of the theater companies involved in the first-ever festival came from as far as Zimbabwe and Canada. In fact, the idea of the festival was largely inspired by the Vancouver International Children's Festival.

As the years went on, the festival grew in scope, with more varied performances taking the stage. It has also become a popular scouting location for producers looking for new talent, which is a testament to the quality of the performances you can see here.

Good to know when visiting the Edinburgh International Children's Festival

Since this event only occurs for 9 days each year, you'll need to plan your trip accordingly. It's typically held at the end of May through the beginning of June, but you'll need to check the festival website to verify dates. Tickets are available for purchase online, and it's best to get them early due to the event's popularity.

While the festival is geared toward children, you can expect important themes to be present in the productions. Despite the wackiness and whimsy of many of the performances, you'll still notice references to real-world issues in their world-class storytelling.

Edinburgh International Children's Festival

Location: National Museum of Scotland, Chambers St, Edinburgh EH1 1JF, UK

Phone: +44 (0)131 225 8050