Bank of Scotland Children’s International Theatre Festival

After the findings of the Argent Report (read more in 2000), Imaginate hired the first Development Director, to support year-round work with artists and schools. Alice McGrath remembers, “It was a blank canvas! I started by really getting to know the sector and the people; what was working for them, and what wasn’t. I also worked on this idea of family friendly venues – then it was about being child-friendly, and programming work for families. We created a tool kit and a website and did a lot of training – we were trying to make what we were doing something that was a part of the whole sector, not just Imaginate.”

Alice describes her role as “two jobs”, in that she was working to offer developmental opportunities for artists and venues in the sector, but also to provide training for teachers in discussing performance experiences with their pupils. These two strands became integral to Imaginate’s mission; jump to 2013 to hear Fiona Ferguson, the current Development Director, speak about her role, or jump to 2019 to learn about Inspiring Schools.

Meet Imaginate’s first trainees…

Alice recalls: “The first trainees, in terms of our own learning, were pivotal. It worked, so we said let’s make this a permanent part of what we do. We’ll always have a trainee – but in lots of different ways. We can have associate artists, some might be new and some might be really experienced, some might be short term residencies, some might be art-form specific… and from that, lots of things grew.”

Do you remember… ?

Click on shows in the media gallery to see images from wacky performances like Theatre Drak’s Flying Babies and the Daredevil Opera, as well as to read newspaper articles about the importance of European collaboration.


Oscar Wilde's "The Happy Prince" directed by Annie Wood at the New Victory Theater on Friday afternoon, April 29, 2005.Veronica Leer, right, as Swallow and Paul Cunningham as the Happy Prince. (Photo by Hiroyuki Ito/Getty Images)