My top five picks for childrens shows at the Fringe Festival 2014…..

Every year I pick up the Fringe brochure and I am so excited, but also totally overwhelmed by the number of shows available to see and the huge amount of choice and variety….and maybe it is because I’m a libra, or it’s actually down to the fact there are sooooooooo many good things to go see and so little time to see them all, but I find it very hard to make any decisions….

So, this year I’ve had a little look and have narrowed it down to this list (give or take a few extras !)…

  • Emily Brown and the THING –   Tall Stories are the company that brought us all The Gruffalo  which I thought was fantastic, so I’m hoping this new production will also be just as fun. Based on the Cressida Cowell’s much loved book, its about Emily’s night time adventures and promises to be a magical, musical show……….From 30th July – 24th August (not 7th).


  •   Pirate Gran – ‘She knits, she bakes, she drinks sherry’ – all sounds good so far ! This production is brought to you by Scamp Theatre who are the team behind Stick Man and the fantastic Tiddler. Based on the Pirate Gran series of books, this looks to be a swashbuckling show !                     31st July – 25th August (not13th)


  •   Dinosaur Zoo – Direct from the West End, this looks like an awesome live show with fantastic puppets – perfect for any dinosaur loving little ones….                               30th July – 25th August  (not 2nd )


  •  Red Riding Hood – For the past two years I have been to see puppet shows during the festival at the Storytelling centre and they have been amazing and a total highlight. The venue is small and cosy and you feel fully engaged as the audience and can really appreciate the gorgeous puppets – this show looks to be just as enchanting with a retelling of this classic tale.                               31st July – 17th August (not 11th)


  •          Big Red Bath (and The Snow Dog) – So I am kind of cheating by having these two productions, but the are by the same theatre company – Full House- and are performing on alternate days and both look great ! Big Red Bath  are on a bubbly, barmy bath time adventure in a vibrant adaptation of the book, and The Snow Dog  looks to be a playful exploration of love and loss with a real husky on stage which sounds exciting!                        30th/31st July – 23rd/24th August

Just Festival 2013

just Festival Edinburgh

This festival is one of the smaller, lesser known festivals happening in Edinburgh this August. It was formerly known as the Festival of Spirituality and Peace, and has rebranded this year as the Just Festival. From the 2nd – 26th August the festival aims to unite people of all faiths, with 450 activities across the city including music, poetry and theatre.

Nestled within the varied programme are some family events including the two below which look fun :

Andy and Mio’s Seaside Show – Storytelling and Puppetry with stories of the sea with harp music and games. Includes Mr. Punch’s Grumpy Holiday and Angels on Vacation.  August 8th and 22nd – Persian Tent at St John’s       15.00 – 15.45    by donation

What’s the Story – Professional storyteller Marie-Louie Cochrane is set to delight with her traditional tales all set within the magical Persian Tent. Suitable for all ages.                 August 15th 15.00 – 15.45  – St John’s       by donation

If you like eating cake (who doesn’t ?) – the event Intercake is worth checking out ! Celebrating the diversity of cakes, sweets and puddings – this cake sale, masterclass and pudding party features cakes from different cultures. Proceeds from sales will go to charities Mary’s Meals and  Waverley Care.       August 4th (16.00 – 17.30), 5th (10.00-12.00) and 6th (16.00-17.00)        Hall at St John’s

A few of my favourite things…

I’ve only just managed a quick glance through the festival programmes so far this year – life is a little hectic right now, so I am sure there is plenty I will have missed off this list, but below are a few of the shows that I’m excited to see this year across the various festivals…

  • Dr Brown Brown Brown Brown Brown and His Singing Tiger  Dr Brown Brown Brown Brown Brown and his singing tiger – If you’ve not seen Dr Brown before- he is not to be missed (he does fantastic adult shows too !). His show for children is a delight – children are fully engaged with his rather silly antics as he blunders his way through the day and the singing tiger adds a great musical dimension and ensures that the silent performer is even more accessible for kids. Don’t miss this – in Edinburgh for two days only this year, the 17th and 18th August
  • Julia Donaldson –  Julia Donaldson comes to the Book Festival most years and for the past few has opened the childrens events and every year has been brilliant – we’ve been going to see her each time and the entire family has loved it. This year she has two events in the Book Festival opening weekend and I guarantee both will be excellent; Dolls , Dragons and Dinosaurs on the 10th August and From Worms to Wizards to Weans on the 11th August. Both feature a different selection of her books and will have puppets, songs and plenty of audience interaction.
  • My Brother the Robot My Brother the Robot – This production is brought to Edinburgh by Tall Stories who have previously done The Gruffalo and last year brought The Snail and the Whale to the Fringe which was a delight. This show, about a Robot playmate for a girl living with her inventor father promises to bring music, magic and mayhem. Well worth checking out…from the 31st July to 25th August.
  •    Aliens Love Underpants – Our family loves this book and I’m very excited to see the first stage production of it. Judging by the book , I think it will be a fast moving, lively and funny show.  It does however come with a warning : this show will blow your pants off !  August 7th – 22nd (not 14th)
  • Rumpelstiltskin and the Wheel of Fortune Rumpelstiltskin and the wheel of fortune –  I was fortunate enough to see last years production of Elves and the Shoemaker by Theatre of Widdershins which was totally captivating and the puppetry and details memerising, so I am hoping that Rumpelstiltskin will also be a delight. The Storytelling Centre is a great venue, small and intimate enough that you always feel included as the audience and means you will get to fully appreciate the handcrafted puppets and sets.  30th July to 25th August (not 19th August).
  • Cinderella and the Flower Fairies Cinderella and the Flower FairiesA friend said she had booked tickets for this today, so I looked it up and I think my daughter will love this ! She loves her ballet class and loves the flower fairies book , especially the illustrations – so hopefully we can’t go wrong as this combines both ! August 9th-17th
  • Tilly and friends – Maybe its because my daughter is called Tilly, or maybe because the pictures are so beautiful – but I love these books. Featuring six best friends who all live together in a little yellow house, this event with Polly Dunbar during the Book Festival should be great and it set to include puppets and music too, so should be fun for little ones ! August 13th 10.30am.

And so it begins…

I LOVE the Edinburgh festivals, all of them, and have worked my way through them through many stages of my life – but since having children, my activities have changed – gone are the beautiful dawn mornings crossing the meadows after a late late night which began somewhere in the Spiegal garden – gone are the spontaneous ‘lets just see whats on right now and buy a ticket’ moments with friends that more often than not ended a little disastrously – gone are the intellectually motivating and inspiring author discussions mid afternoon at the Book festival….now I look out for child friendly venues, free arts and crafts corners, face painting, ice cream stands, space for kids to run around and not cause chaos, free entertainment, buggy parking…….but I still love it. Infact I love it so much I thought I’d write about it ! I’m not the most eloquent or fluid writers but after such a great experience enjoying all the festivals last summer I decided to share some of that joy and also create a space where others could find out what’s on offer in one place including all the fantastic free stuff going on around the city for kids during the festivals….

It also begins as I have just booked some of my first tickets (I am suppressing squeals of excitement as they are for the Book Festival which I absolutely love love love). Every year they have a fantastic array of children’s events and visiting authors and also a huge children’s’ bookshop which is a child’s delight. Not only is there all of this, but every day there is an activity room where children can go and colour, stick, read, do crafts and get their  faces painted – it’s an excellent resource. So even if you haven’t managed to get tickets to any of the events, you can still spend a whole morning, afternoon or even a day at the festival, soaking in the atmosphere, looking at all the books and getting stuck into some of the free activities provided.

I don’t want to ramble on too long in my first post – I’m hoping to get things organised and write a little about each of the festivals and what they have to offer for children and some of the other things you can do around town if visiting for the festivals with kids….

Thanks for reading !