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Today we announce a five-year intergenerational community residency in the Craigmillar area of Edinburgh.

The Residency, which will run from August 2021 to August 2026, is the Orchestra’s most substantial community project to date, following on from its successful three-year programme in Wester Hailes in Edinburgh and building on the SCO’s commitment to encouraging collaboration and co-creation in its local community.

Over the course of the Residency, the SCO and its team of professional musicians and creative learning practitioners will deliver imaginative, cross-artform workshops and performances for children, young people, families and adults to explore their musical potential and help develop their creativity. With large-scale community events planned in 2024 and 2026 involving local residents and SCO musicians, a schools' programme and wider community projects, the Residency is designed to bring people together through music to enhance health and well-being, to help people of all ages develop confidence and skills, and to empower residents to explore and celebrate their community and place.

SCO Violin Aisling O'Dea performing in front of a group of children.

SCO Violin Aisling O'Dea performs at the Wester Hailes Family Day

The SCO in Craigmillar programme launches at the inaugural Craigmillar & Niddrie Community Festival which takes place on 14 and 15 August 2021. The Festival will bring together local residents and over 30 organisations drawn from across this multi-cultural community and is inspired by the ethos of the original Craigmillar Festival Society. Founded in 1962 by a group of pioneering local women led by Dr Helen Crummy MBE, this grassroots organisation used the arts to address a range of social problems and to create opportunities for local people, gaining an international reputation as a pioneering Community Arts festival.

Since 2020, the SCO has been part of a collaborative conversation to help re-establish a community-wide annual festival. SCO Principal Cellist Philip Higham will give three performances in response to a new exhibition by the Craigmillar-based, Syrian artist Nihad Al Turk who is the current Artist-in-Residence at the newly re-opened Craigmillar Now arts centre. Audiences will also be invited to enjoy a live performance of Sir Scallywag and the Golden Underpants, narrated by Children’s TV Presenter Chris Jarvis, and presented in partnership with Edinburgh International Festival.

The SCO in Craigmillar programme of activity for children and young people will include the our collaborative music-making VIBE project at Castlebrae High School; the interactive and multi-sensory Dots and Lines for nursery school pupils; Moving Music for primary school children to explore the SCO’s music through movement; and Soundmoves, a creative composition project for primary schools. In the wider community, the SCO will launch an audio-visual project Seen & Heard in partnership with Craigmillar Now arts centre; Craigmillar Voices, a vocal project for children and adults with the Venchie Children and Young People's Project; and an intergenerational ReConnect Buddies programme with nursery-aged children and members of Caring in Craigmillar, who include people living with dementia.

Children's TV Presenter Chris Jarvis wearing a medieval costume

Children's TV Presenter Chris Jarvis presents our Family Festival in Craigmillar

The Craigmillar Residency is being supported with a £20,000 grant from the Borletti-Buitoni Trust Communities initiative and a £15,000 grant from the Scottish Government’s Youth Arts Fund through Creative Scotland. It is underpinned by support from our Creative Learning Partner Baillie Gifford and kindly supported by Scops Arts Trust, H R Creswick’s Charitable Trust, Mrs Rowena Goffin’s Charitable Trust, The Plum Trust, Cruden Foundation, The Stevenston Charitable Trust, Geraldine Kirkpatrick Charitable Trust, The Misses Barrie Charitable Trust, and those who wish to remain anonymous.

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