Theatre preview: On The Edge

This year, Birmingham has the honour of hosting the significant international theatre festival On The Edge. John Kennedy looks ahead to what’s in store.

On The Edge, a celebration of internationally-renowned children’s theatre, must surely have something for everyone. Promising a packed programme of innovative and brilliant shows to inspire and invigorate young people of all ages, Birmingham plays host the 2016 World Festival of Theatre for Young Audiences this July, a first-time scoop for UK and Irish creative organisations.

The festival seems feistily prepared to live up to its title, with 16 shows by artists from 14 countries, including the UK, Ireland, Belgium, Burkina Faso, Australia and South Korea. Taking place in theatres and venues across town, the Rep will act as the central performance hub. Children are at the heart of the programme, and the eight days will see events spanning theatre, dance and workshops for all ages. Fancy being a puppet participant on a miniature railway? Then Australian company Terrapin Puppet Theatre’s I Think I Can may just be the ticket for you.

Delightfully-titled UK premieres include Why Do Hyenas Have Shorter Back Legs Than Front Legs And Why Do Monkeys Have Bare Bottoms? Two shows that are specifically for schools are Bliss, a unique immersive adventure created by Replay Theatre Company for children and young people with profound and multiple learning difficulties, and Katie’s Birthday Party, which looks at the trials and tribulations of what a young person goes through in the change from primary to secondary school.

On The Edge runs at various venues, July 2-9. For more information, visit



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