Festival Kids

From J.K. Rowlin to a real live flea circus, 2000 is going to be a

bumper year for ids. Gabe Stewart

This is definitely the best year ever for kids at Festival time. There are nearly 40% more kids' Fringe shows and workshops and the Children and Young Adult's Programme of the Edinburgh International Book Festival has been eating its spinach too.

Now it's strong enough to attract J.K. Rowling to make her only appearances at a book festival anywhere in Britain this year. She's the brightest star in a constellation of hundreds of well-loved children's authors and illustrators including Jacqueline Wilson, Joan Lingard and Roger McGough. Apart from the events, Charlotte Square Gardens is divinely child-friendly and for the first time, entry to the site is free of charge.

Away from this haven, the big city beckons, and this year's Fringe programme proves that whatever its audience's age, the Fringe continues to push boundaries. Alongside classic children's fare such as Mr Boom sit unique one-offs like a theatre-in-motion performance on wheels in All Aboard The Buzz Bus.

Two of Edinburgh’s many unusual venues this year are especially child-friendly. Innovative is an over-used adjective at this time of year, but one entirely justifiable in describing Edinburgh’s Garden Party in East Princes Street Garden and

Circo Teatro Udi Grudi at Dynamic Earth

Scottish International @ Dynamic Earth.

The world’s only live flea circus and an invitation to join artist Joanna Boyce to build an artwork on- site forms only part of the family-focused line-up at Edinburgh's Garden Party. There's also theatre (Blunderbus's The Rainbow Fish and The Happy Gang, both aimed at small children), circus skills and dance workshops and master of illusion, Magic Bob.

Scottish International @ Dynamic Earth offers the last word in children's avant-garde: acrobatic eating-disorder fairy tales featuring obsessed tall, thin characters . . . on stilts; a fast and furious sci- fi/fact game show; and lumbering full-size elephant puppets. Such novelty complements the inexhaustible Chipolatas' refreshingly unsubtle nonsense and Richard Medrington's utterly enthralling fresh gloss to AA. Milne's Pooh stories.

Child-friendly nuggets also hide in the adult's programme. For example, the return of last year's Fringe hit, Cooking, should coincidentally and unsurprisingly, appeal greatly to children, although this lively, noisy, percussive show is by no means aimed exclusively at them. Now those thoughtful Fringe folk have made it easy-peasy: a ‘y’ symbol at the bottom right indicates which adult shows are suitable for younger audiences.


he kids are alright with this handful

Millennium Messiah

Handel's inusit (oinbines With new words to provrde a one-off spectacle including spoken word and dance. This specrally commisSioned celebration of youth is a collaboration between BBC Music Live, The National Foundation for Youth Musit and Ludus Baroque.

I Millennium Mess/an (Fringe) Mus‘rrrnmrndr om/New Vorces‘ at Canongate, Canongate Kirk, 226 5 738, 73 Aug only,

4 30pm, {2

Dream Garden

Throughout the Festival, artist Joanna Boyce, With the help of (hildren, (reates on-site artwork in last Printes Street Gardens which Will eventually transfer to the Mela Festival. la< h session is 45 minutes to one hour long and there are two sessions each morning and afternoon

I Dream Garden l/‘l'llth‘l Edinburgliis' Garden Party, 2262151, full details available in July

l.l<. Rowling: Harry's Back!

Nip in guir k to nab two ex( lusive (hant'es to meet Harry Potter's (f(‘<if()f,

I l K Rowling Harry's 8a(k.’ (Book) Charlotte Sguare Gardens, 228 5444, I3 and 27 Aug,

1 zlSprn, {,a’ .50

A Midsummer Night's Dream

CIR us-skills plus Shakesprnire (’Is that a trapeze I see before ine?'i equals Albert and Friends' street theatre-style Midsummer Night’s Dream, performed in the Wiieworks Playground behind the l iinge box office Free puppets and circus workshop from 10 30am to noon.

I A Midsummer Night’s Dream ifringe) Albert And lriends Instant (Vitus, Wirewo/‘ks, I8 28 Aug, 7.) rib/Mn, free

Cardoso Flea Circus

later at night, older lads are bound to be fast mated by the ieVival of an ant ient form of entertainment real live fleas performing in the World's only flea (iii us' lhis Australian troupe of twelve fleas is likely to be as huge as its stars are tiny [at h night audienres (an see their feats, magnified through digital Video in the little top, where they tightrope, perform

at iobatit s on the trape/e and trampoline and get tried out of a (anon

I ( arr/oso flea (irr us (Fringe) Edinburgh’s Garden Party 226 215 l, (5 28 Aug,

8 {Orrin/10pm, {l0 ([9)

30 Jul 3 Aug 3000 THE “ST 33