It is almost time for the festival for the ‘creative ageing’ among you to begin. All of October there is a variety of activities making up the Luminate Festival.

In the fifth festival there will be events held all across Scotland from art workshops to authors’ events. The festival is held in theatres, galleries and care homes with some events held online too.

Here are some of the things you can get along to in the Edinburgh and Lothians area:


The Luminate Photo Challenge at Stills is a highlight of this years festival complementing the touring pop-up exhibition of architectural photographs created by older people all over Scotland and Stills will host a week long exhibition also featuring images by photographer Chris Leslie – the inspiration for the Luminate Photography Challenge 8-16 October 11am-6pm. You can also join Stills’ director Jo Spence for Tour and Tea, for a tour of the exhibition followed by a cuppa and cake on 11 October at 11am. 0131 622 6200.

At the Patriothall Gallery Making Space is an exhibition of new installations by ceramic experts Lorna Fraser and Carol Sinclair from 1-11 October 12pm-6pm. 07791 381990. For something completely different enjoy a creative and lively event at the Creative Fashion Show for Over 65s, a great opportunity to socialise and pick up new ideas at Volunteer Edinburgh, Leith Walk, on 25 October from 5.30pm-7.30pm. 0131 603 8311.

Theatre is always a highlight and this year Italy’s best know satirical playwright and artist Dario Fo is celebrating his 90th birthday and the city will be celebrating the occasion.  In a very special event on 9 October at 5pm at the Royal Lyceum, Dario Fo will look back his extraordinary career in conversation with his biographer and translator Joe Farrell. 0131 248 4848.

The Italian Cultural Institute, Royal Lyceum and the Scottish Story Telling Centre Dancing with Colours, Whipping and Words will feature an exhibition of Fo’s paintings, sculpture and costume designs and also at the Scottish Storytelling Centre there is a unique opportunity on 8 October at 7.30pm to see Francis The Holy Jester, Performed by Mario Pirovano, Fo’s monologue performed in English by his close friend. 0131 556 9579.

Other productions include three Dementia Friendly performances at the Festival Theatre, supported by funding from the Life Changes Trust Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, with a special performance on 14 October at 1.30pm, and at The Studio Tales of a Grandson told by by Andy Cannon – one of Scotland’s finest storytellers and Once This Is All Over We Still have To Clear Up bringing together actors, musicians, writers and dancers to explore the milestones that we mark throughout our lives. 0131 529 6000.   The Traverse Theatre will be hosting three events; the unmissable HIM with actor Tim Barlow reflecting on his life at 80 on 21 and 22 October at 7.30pm and there will be tears and laughter from the Thrawn Craws with Lifelines on 19 October at 7pm in an evening of short plays by writers including Sylvia Dow and Mary Gapinski.

On 27 October the Traverse Bar and Café will be hosting Dive & Luminate’s Intergenerational Cabaret  for all ages and persuasions with with some very special guests. 0131 228 1404.

Festival of Ian Smith & Friends  – A Celebration of Death, a partnership between Summerhall and Mischief la Bas, is a programme of exhibitions and performances investigating, challenging, confronting or celebrating death at Summerhall. At the same venue you can also catch Elements World Theatre’s production of Reflections of a Constant Monk, original music and poetry exploring a few of life’s riddles and innocent questions directed by Corinne Harris and Robin Mason on 12, 13 and 14 October at 7.30pm. 0131 560 1581.

The Aberfeldy Players are performing Jack Dickson’s poignant and often hilarious play Flying with Swans at the Scottish Storytelling Centre on 1 October at 2.30pm. 0131 556 9578. Simple Times is an original theatre performance about growing up in the 50s and 60s, performed by Sarah Stephenson and written by Val Munro at North Edinburgh Arts on 14 October at 7.30pm. 0131 315 2151.

Poetry and words are an another important element in the Luminate programme and at the Scottish Poetry Library on 12  October at 6pm you can join them and listen to Whatever The Sea: Scottish Poems For Growing Older a new anthology of poems about ageing through some beautiful, funny and hard hitting poems. 0131 557 2876. At Paterson’s Land Centre for Open Learning a number of events are on the menu including Performance: Presentation Skills from the Spoken Word Circuit on 14 October from 2pm – 4pm and 17 October from 3pm- 5pm, Creative Writing: Generating Ideas on 17 October from 3pm -4.30pm and 24 October from 2pm – 3.30pm.

Whatever you do don’t miss the Literary Walking Tour and discover more about Edinburgh’s cultural history with Dr John Gordon from the University’s Short Courses department on  24 October form 2pm-3.30pm and on 25 October from 3pm-4.30pm or Extending The Line: Constructing with Paper and String to share techniques with award winning artist Fiona Hutchison including binding, whipping and knotting. 0131 650 4400.

Why not join the Scottish Storytelling Centre’s Life Stories for an afternoon of traditional stories, songs and memories and maybe created your own Kist O’Memories on 18 October from 2.30pm – 4.30pm. 0131 556 95789.

Dance remains a highlight of the festival and this year at Dance Base Luminate all time favourites are back with 24 Caret Gold Dance Through The Seasons on 28 October at 3pm and there’s an exciting multi-generational show case performance Moving Stories from Dance Base’s Lothian Youth Dance Company on 1 October at 7.30pm.

PRIME, Quicksilver And Gracenotes: Carry On Dancing pouring their hearts into movement and dance in a fantastic triple bill on 2 October at 3pm.  0131 225 5525. At the Festival Theatre Studio Silent Space on 14 October at 6.30pm is a short dance piece shared by groups Milan and Sikh Sanjog as a curtain raiser to Dance Ihayami’s new work. 0131 529 6000.

As part of the Outreach programme I ‘Felt’ Therefore I am, artist Suzanne Chong will be running a series of workshops at Carthay Court with a focus on felting skills and shared memories in the Chines Community. Live Music Now will be continuing to bring joy and inspiration to older people in care setting at various venues across Edinburgh.

More information here on the Luminate website.