The Scottish International Children’s Festival takes place in lnverleith Park, Edinburgh next to the Royal Botanic Garden. The tented site will be open Mon 20-Sat 25 May 9.30am—5pm; Sun 26 11.30am—5pm. A £2 Festival Day Pass will allow you a whole day’s on-site entertainment giving you the chance to see up to 11 events. Prices of individual shows are listed below. Concessions are available. To book in advance, write to the Festival thice at 22 Laurie Street or telephone 0131 553 7700. Alternatively, pop in to Waterstone’s Box Office at 83 George Street, Edinburgh until Sun 19 May or the Festival Box Office at lnverleith Park during the festival. listings compiled by Brian Donaldson.

Activities and Fun

I Big Book Tent Mon 2()—Sat 25 May 9.30am—5pm. Free. All ages. Young readers can meet real authors and their creations. jump aboard the Readiscovery Book Bus or enjoy animal crafts with the Countryside Rangers.

I Fruitmarket’s Fantastical Forest The Art Studio. Fri 24 May l—3pm: Sat 25/Sun 26 l()am—noon. 24pm. £5. .Ages 7 plus. The Fruitmarket Gallery invites budding artists to help create an enchanted forest which will. by the end of the week. be teeming with wonderful birds. wild foliage and weird beasties. See preview.

I Happy Tent Mon 2() May 10am; Tue

2 l—Sat 25 10.15am; Sun 26 ll.l5am. £2 with festival pass or free with theatre pass. All ages. The Happy Tent is a cosmopolitan haven providing three shows a day from the likes of The Chipolatas. The Happy (iang with their Stupendous Sing-a-longs. the Australian Full ()n Theatre and the Beltane Dancers. I Making Airwaves The Media Studio. Mon 2()~-Fri 2-1 May l().l5am. ll.l5am. 12.30pm and 1.30pm. Age li) plus. linjoy the thrill of meeting those tight deadlines. ()r not. Media liducation proy ide the chance for schools and other organised groups to put across their views on any topic they wish in a-15-minute broadcast. See preview.

I Dn-Site Entertainment Mon 20—Sal 25 May ‘).3()am--5pm; Sun 26 ll.3()am--5pm. Free. All ages. Fresh air fun can be had with anti-gravity and large scale games. the Beltane Dancers. the request-friendly storyteller Taffy Thomas. an under 4s play village and the chance to hone your circus skills.

I Quest for a Pirate The Pirate Tent. Mon 20—Fri 24 May l().l5am. ll.l5am. l2.l5pm. l.l5pm. £5. All ages. liacts. fiction and fun with pirates on the high “:35! Were they all bad'.’ Who was Blackbeard‘.’ Were there women pirates'.’ What was a Round Robin'.’ All these .lUL‘Slith and more can be answered in he workshop and dressing-up activities. So get along to the Pirate Tent and have your timbers well and truly shivered.

I Storytelling Studio Mon 2()—Fri 24 Way 10.15am; Sat 25 ll.l5am; Sun 26

Fruits of labour

Could it be magic?: The Frultmarket’s Fantastical Forest

In June of last year the Scottish International Children's Festival conducted a survey to discover what the organisers could do to improve the event. The results of the survey which focused largely on teachers -- delivered a clear message. More hands-on opportunities. please.

An invitation went out to the Fruitmarket Gallery to provide a giant art studio for children to capitalise on

their creative energies. 'It came out of a desire from the audience not to simply have their child sit in a theatre. lovely though that is.‘ explains Fruitmarket Education Officer Sarah Knox. ‘To have a balance to their days it would be great to have two hour sessions when the children could do and make.‘

To that end. a team of professional artists. musicians and storytellers was assembled to give children the opportunity to create their own magical forest which would grow with each session through sounds. stories and images. L’sing materials such as willow. bamboo and wire. the foundations are laid for a structure which then takes shape in any way the participants wish.

()nce an estimated 5()() children have been through the forest. the final spectacle will go on parade with the help of the Beltane Dancers. For the kids. the experience will be both fun and educational. ‘They will be encouraged to bring egg boxes and the inside of loo rolls.‘ requests Knox. ‘If they can bring a plain piece of cotton. we‘ll make a kind of wishtree. Apart from that. all they'll need is glue and imagination.‘ (Brian Donaldson)

The l’ruilmurkels l'itiiluslir‘u/ Fm‘r's‘l. The Art Studio. Fri 24—Smi 26 May. See listings/hr (lentils.

Toy-boy story

Muggings, robbery, a hanging and imprisonment hardly the stuff of bed- time stories. But it all happens to the ‘toy-boy’ with a nose for misadventure in Stephen Greenhorn’s adaptation of Pinocchio for Visible Fictions.

‘What you will see on stage is actually much closer to the original book than the Disney or Panto versions - it’s really a very dark, violent story,’ asserts Greenhorn. ‘There is an element of fear but kids like that - and while in the original there is a terrifying Victorian message about being a “good boy” here we question that.’ The yarn of the innocent abroad does have its lighter moments as Greenhorn’s reworking sees the puppet transformed into a shambling adolescent. Further changes include cutting the infamous nose which only ever had a bit part in Carlo Collodi’s original creation.

With commissions in the pipeline for the Traverse, 7:84 and TV’s The Bill,

Visible Fictions: puppet-filled Pinocchio

Greenhorn believes writing for children is actually a more disciplined business. ‘It means having a strong story which is clear and economical,’ he notes. ‘Kids will soon show it if they get bored.’

With the enduring appeal of the bad boy and a catalogue of disasters, being bored with Pinocchio seems unlikely. ‘It might sound like a Reservoir Dogs/Pqu Fiction version of Pinocchio but it’s not designed to terrorise and is actually very funny.’ (Claire Prentice)

The Adventures of Pinocchio, Visible Fictions, Theatre Tent Two, Mon 20-Sun 26 May (except Sat). See listings for details.

l 1.15am. £3. Ages 4— l 2. The ever- popular Storytelling Studio houses the best tale-tellers from lingland. Scotland and Australia. Taffy Thomas and Tim l.aycock will indulge in some tall tales while Alison Millen's forte is the folk legend. supernatural story and traveller's tale. REM is one of Australia's foremost children‘s theatre companies drawing their inspiration from the folklore of Australasia and the Pacific.


I The Adventures of Pinocchio Theatre Tent Two. Mon 2() May l().3()am; Tue 21 2.30pm; Wed 22 10am; Thurs 23 1.30pm: i‘Tl 24 10am; Sun 26 3.30pm. £5 (£3). Ages 8 plus. ls there anybody out there who is unaware of the tale of the wooden boy and his keeper"? In this new version by Stephen Greenhorri. Visible Fictions go straight to the heart of a dark and enthralling story. See preview.

I Buralga Theatre Tent ()ne. Mon 2()fI‘ue 2| May l().3()am. l2.3()pm; Sat 25 10.30am; Sun 26 ll.3()am. £5 (£3). Ages 7 plus. Buralga is a popular and beautiful dancer under the evil influence of a jealous old magician who transforms her into a solitary bird called Brolga. RliM have conjured up a dream-time tale of entrapment brought vividly to life.

I Dance Your Socks Off! Theatre Tent Three. Sat 25 May 12.30pm. 4pm: Sun 26 1.30pm. £5 (£3). All ages. From their roots in the Notting Hill Carnival to sell- out totirs around the world. liurope's number one jazz. dance troupe have won both audiences and awards through their exciting shows for children.

I The Frog Princess Theatre Studio. Wed 22 May l().l5am; Thurs 23 3pm; Fri 24 l2.l5pm. 3.15pm. £3. Ages 3-7. The classic Russian folk tale is brought vividly to life through the magical puppetry of the Totally Theatre Company. (irab the chance to meet the puppets and performers after the show.

I The Happy Gang Goes Yankee Doodle DOD! Theatre Tent Two. Mon 2() May l2.3()pm. 2.30pm; Sun 26 l 1.30am. lpm. £5 (£3). Theatre Studio. Tue 2| 1.15pm; Wed 22 3pm; I‘m 24 l.l5pm. £3. Ages 3 plus. Get on your hoss and mosey on down to to the Happy (‘liaparral for a rootin' tootin' adventure with Spatz. Beth and Mr P.

I HOW High IS Up?. . . Theatre Tent Three. Mon 2()/Tue 21 May l().3()am. l2.3()pm; Wed 22 Want. noon. £5 (£3). Ages 5---‘). When the time comes for Jerome to die. Little Star sets out to save her friend. searching for the magic to make time stand still and allow her to live forever. The theme is healing rather than undiluted happiness in Brendan Murray's play. See preview.

I The Kookaburra Who Stole The Moon Theatre Teut Three. Thurs 23 May lilam; l‘ri 2-1 10am. noon. £5 (£3). Ages J~R A greedy bird falls in love with the moon and steals it with his beak. The other animals in the bush try to force him to laugh in order to release the moon. RliM utilise an aboriginal dancer and a didgeridoo to excite the audience. In turn the children have the opportunity to play the bush creatures. An original and

24 The List I7-30 May l‘)‘)6