Imagine there’s a mid‑term arts festival…

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A NEW arts festival for children is calling on Borderers to get behind the initiative.

The Imaginarium will see punk rocker turned kids’ entertainer Ed Patrick, comedian James Campbell, writers Lari Don and Andrew Weale and the Scottish Youth Theatre descend on the Eastgate Theatre for the week-long event during the mid-term break.

The festival is funded by Creative Scotland and is aimed at ages three to 18. It is led by Clare Prenton, a Peebles-based writer who most recently acted as an associate director for prolific playwright Sir Alan Ayckbourn. She has written a number of musicals for young people.

She said: “The Imaginarium is a broad arts festival, with something for everyone including comedy, music, drama, storytelling, dance, visual arts, film and literary events.

“It’s a combination of workshops for youngsters to try a new art form, whether it is visual arts, stand-up comedy or street dance and performances.

“One such show is James Campbell’s comedy for kids which has been a sell-out at the Edinburgh Festival in recent years.

“This event is a first and we really hope local people will get behind it to ensure its success.

“Perhaps families will think twice about going away for mid-term this October and take a staycation instead. ”

Highlights of The Imaginarium include Kid Carpet and the Noisy Animals, a show by Ed Patrick, who has formally been a support act for Canadian indie outfit Arcade Fire and Badly Drawn Boy. He describes his spectacle as a “performance theatre rockshow cinema amalgamation”.

Peebles is the perfect location for Lari Don to talk about her latest book, Maze Running and Other Magical Missions. The novel is the final part of her award-winning series, First Aid for Fairies, and it opens in the maze at Traquair House, as proposed by Emily Wright from Priorsford Primary school in Peebles, who won a suggestions competition about the book.

Andrew Weale, the author of the pop-up book Spooky Spooky House, will be at the Eastgate for a morning of stories, pictures, mini-competitions and a cooking contest.

Scottish Youth Theatre will hold a masterclass for budding writers, and the Borders Youth Theatre will host three days of workshops for those aged eight to 12, culminating in a performance of its own play.

Also on the Eastgate stage is the Catherine Wheels Theatre Company with its coming of age tale The Ballad of Pondlife McGurk.

Classes with family Zumba instructor Julie McInally and national group Y Dance, sessions with artist Eleanor Carlingford and a workshop on gory special effects makeup used by TV shows are included in the line-up.

The Imaginarium runs from October 8 to 14 and a full programme of events is available from www.eastgatearts.com or phone 01721 725777.

TheSouthern has a family ticket to give away to a show of your choice. To enter, answer this question:

At which historic Borders house did Lari Don set the opening for her latest novel Maze Running and Other Magical Missions?

Send your answer, name, age, address and phone number by email to kenny.paterson@tweeddalepress.co.uk or post to The Imaginarium Competition, The Southern Reporter, The Hermitage, High Street, Selkirk, TD7 4DA, by Thursday, September 13. Usual Southern rules apply.