Edinburgh’s very own Thespian powder-keg of volatile creativity announces an innovative, imaginative, wily and well wired-up Digital Engagement Programme.

Get ready then to raise your glasses; raise your great expectations – maybe even raise an eyebrow or twa because Capital Theatres are about to digitally RAISE THE CURTAIN under the triplet banner –

DISCOVER IT. CREATE IT. PERFORM IT.

From creative play for toddlers to inter-generational ballroom dancing, RAISE THE CURTAIN will feature a range of live virtual events and interactive video content.

Capital Theatres’ new Chief Executive Fiona Gibson tells The Edinburgh Reporter: “Capital Theatres exists to inspire a life-long love of theatre. We believe in everyone’s right to participate in the cultural life of their community and to enjoy the arts. As Scotland’s largest theatre charity we are proud to play a significant role in Edinburgh’s cultural life and work proactively to increase and broaden engagement with the arts.”

‘Hello! Capital Theatres – yes, putting you through now.’

The full programme outlined below includes many activities open to the public as well as some private projects developed for specific community groups whom Capital Theatres have longstanding relationships with. This has to be the ultimate theatrical (and legal!) thumbs-up to the Lockdown Blues.

Over to you, Fiona… “The curtain will rise again. But until then, we invite you to Discover it. Create it. Perform it.”

‘Sparks’ fly (with Health & Safety harness, of course!)

Let’s Get atcha Cha Cha Cha!

Shall We Dance? Learn to dance at home through a series of live and pre-recorded sessions from former Scottish, International and World Champion dancer, Dawn Irvine.  Over a period of eight weeks Dawn will lead bimonthly live sessions where you can learn to dance the Waltz, Cha Cha Cha, Foxtrot and Jive in your living room. With accompanying pre-recorded practice videos for you to keep learning in between the live sessions you’ll be floating around your living-room in no time! 

To celebrate the end of the 8-week series, Capital Theatres will host an afternoon dance live on Zoom for everyone to join in which will include a showdance from Andrei Toader and Mia Linnik-Holden, also live via Zoom. They are the current U21 UK and British Champions and U19 World Champions. There will be recorded music and dancing to as many, or as little, of the dances the participants have learned. Starts July 2020.

Behind the Scenes invites the public to join an interactive video call with staff at Capital Theatres sharing how the magic of theatre comes together! Learn the tricks of the trade and the secrets behind the magic, from selling the hottest ticket in town, to lighting up the stage.

Virtual Backstage Tours. Did you know that The Festival Theatre is situated on Edinburgh’s longest continuous theatre site? Or did you know that the King’s Theatre has a stream running right underneath? Despite these venues being closed, you can still get to know them! Starts in June 2020.

Wee Creatives will offer free creative play sessions for young children and their adults to enjoy together. Our weekly sessions creativity sessions have moved from our Studio venue to take place digitally. Each week a different performance artist leads a child friendly session, presented on YouTube and live sessions via Zoom.  Starts 28 May.

Tea and Jam. Join this dementia inclusive and family friendly monthly Zoom event with your singing voice and instruments ready, whether it’s homemade instruments from household items to keyboards or saxophones. All ages are welcome for this uplifting 45-minute session of singing and dancing in your living room, gently led by professional musician, Gus Harrower. Sessions are held on the last Friday of each month from 11am until 12noon.

A recent participant on Tea and Jam online said: “So very, very successful and looking along the screen at everyone they enjoyed it as well, mostly people dancing. Brilliant job, thank you.”

Joy to the Moment looks to entertain residents isolating in care homes or people shielding in their own homes. A series of mini performances inspired by an original idea from Gracie Irvine, a young pupil at The Edinburgh Steiner School, who was worried about people isolating and in care settings and wanted to find a way to entertain them. Starts 1 June.

Details here

FUSE is the theatre’s project for anyone who is care experienced.  Over the last two months the participants aged 16+ have been meeting through weekly video calls to discuss some of the lockdown challenges such as mental health and loneliness. Their weekly ‘theatre club Zoom’ also involves participants watching free theatre online, voted on by those who attend. This brings the participants together to discover performing art and have a shared and engaging experience.  

Harmeny Our long-standing partnership with Harmeny Education Trust (a residential care home for care experienced children in south west Edinburgh) has been adapted to become a lockdown co-created storytelling project. Our co-created approach means that the children create the story, such as choosing the characters and the environment, then each week they share with us through quotes, art responses and drama, how they would like their stories to move on.  We then in turn, create an artistic response in a video for them to take forward the next week.  At the end of six weeks we will have three short films of the children’s stories available to enjoy and share.

QOTA The highlight of Capital Theatre’s two-year partnership with LGBT Youth Scotland was a co-created original performance piece made with a group of young trans activists from all over Scotland called QOTA. This was performed in front of 300 MSPs and invited guests at the Scottish Parliament in February.  We have moved our activities with this group to digital creative engagement sessions, where the young people are supported to engage with performing arts and be creative during lockdown. 

Full information is available on capitaltheatres.com and on social media.