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Ready for the festival

Ambitious school and student drama groups have always found their way to the Edinburgh Festival.

Whether they perform to full houses or two lost Japanese tourists in a basement, the experience is never less than "educational". Young Nottinghamshire performers figure prominently as usual, this time with an integrated special needs group in Funnybones and Lizzie Dripping (Venue 16, August 14 - 19). Leicestershire young people offer an 18th century style show, Smith (Venue 65, August 21 - 26) and the near-professional National Youth Music Theatre will be at the George Square Theatre with The Threepenny Opera (August 14 - 27). The National Student Theatre Company won the RSC Buzz Goodbody Award with Violent Night (Overseas House).

Some companies may not be clearly billed in the brochures as suitable for young people (although there is a special Schools Fringe Programme, which may be helpful). Don't miss Shoestring, for instance, an American company which won a Fringe First last year and whose work is suitable for sevens and over (August 9 - 26, Pleasance).

Among the many children's authors and illustrators appearing at the Book Festival in Charlotte Square Gardens will be Jill Paton Walsh and Joan Lingard (at a special TES Scotland sponsored event, August 17, 5pm), Book Festival 0131 228 5444. Main Festival 0131 225 5756. Fringe 0131 226 5138.

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