Castlebrae pupils get into the festival spirit

Pupils at Castlebrae Community High School had their own launch for this year’s Edinburgh International Festival (EIF) today, with the dual aim of learning about the programme and also how to present one.

The event forms part of a three year partnership between the City of Edinburgh Council, Castlebrae Community High School pupils and the EIF. Pupils will learn about all aspects of the Festival’s work, so they can eventually do it themselves. In 2017 the school will become an official International Festival venue run by pupils.

Castlebrae Community High School head teacher Norma Prentice said: “Our partnership with the International Festival has provided so many enriching, high quality experiences for our young people. Everyone is looking forward to this year’s events, but especially to next year when we will have the thrill of being a performance venue.”

Councillor Richard Lewis, the city’s Culture Convener and Festivals Champion, said: “The Council’s partnership with the Edinburgh International Festival provides such a fantastic creative learning opportunity for Castlebrae pupils. The year-round work the International Festival does in the local community and with younger generations really is crucial, and this year’s programme of workshops and visits will provide school children with valuable workplace skills. Projects like this are important for inspiring the next generation of artists - as well as playing a crucial role in building audiences for the future.”

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.

Speaking in the gym hall, 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: “We want to get everyone fired up and excited because pupils are going to be in the thick of the action as critics, venue managers, chefs – you name it,” said Fergus.

“As well as showing what is in the International Festival, today we are showing how we run a launch. So the gym hall is covered in our bright yellow branding and our technical team will be setting up the room just as we did for the other launches, with backdrops and film clips on a big screen. Castlebrae is getting an insight into everything we do.”

Find out what's in the programme for the Edinburgh International Festival 2016.  

Castlebrae Community High School pupils Patryk Kaspryk and Johanna Moffat browse the 2016 International Festival brochure image Aly Wight

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