Good luck Castlebrae: First Minister visits school Festival venue

The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has visited Castlebrae Community High School to meet with teachers and pupils involved in a three-year Festival project.

The International Festival’s 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.

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.

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. 

She 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’.

Castlebrae Community High School Head Teacher Norma Prentice said: ‘The Castlebrae community are very excited and looking forward to the performance tomorrow. We are also thrilled to welcome the First Minister to our school and are grateful for the recognition this gives to our collaboration with the International Festival over the last three years’. 

Councillor Adam McVey, Leader of the City of Edinburgh Council, said: ‘The Council’s partnership with the Edinburgh International Festival has provided a fantastic opportunity for our Castlebrae pupils. At seventy years old, it is clear the Festival continues to inspire new generations of artists and audiences. Many people don’t realise how active the festivals are outside of August but this project is a prime example of the International Festival supporting the Craigmillar community. It's a great opportunity for these young people to have the First Minister preview their work’.

International Festival Director Fergus Linehan added: ‘The International Festival team have really enjoyed working with Castlebrae Community High School and City of Edinburgh Council on what has been an extremely rewarding project for everyone involved.  It’s been great to see the positive impact that this kind of residency has had on the lives of Castlebrae’s pupils, their teachers and the broader community of Craigmillar. In turn, the young people have had an amazing impact on the staff at the International Festival and we are thrilled that the First Minister and Council Leader could join us to celebrate this at the school today’.

For more information about the partnership with Castlebrae Community High School, please visit the International Festival website at

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