In Edinburgh West our lead partner is WHALE Arts – but we also work closely with Wester Hailes and Sighthill Libraries, Clovenstone Community Centre and other partners in the area.

During Captivate’s pilot year we engaged with 354 people as participants and audience members and at the project outset consulted with 79 local residents about our plans through interactive animation workshops. The total engagement figure is made up of around 65 families and 188 children resident in Wester Hailes, Sighthill, Clovenstone and Broomhouse. The project supported engagement through activity delivered with the local library network, WHALE’s arts engagement programmes, community centres in Broomhouse and Clovenstone and two local primary schools.

The pilot year explored a range of taster visual theatre, animation and puppetry opportunities delivered within local venue spaces and outdoors. Read all about it in our report on the pilot here.

This year we’re building on this offer working with WHALE and our other local partners to deliver opportunities that support ongoing programmes and offer something new with a particular consideration given to how we can be more accessible to those with communication barriers in the area.  Our projects this year include:

Image: Visual Virtuoso Uist 2022


We are adapting our Visual Virtuoso project, that was successfully delivered with Primary 7 children in Uist in 2022, to work within a community context with WHALE Arts as our lead partner. This will see us delivering animation and music workshops in WHALE ahead of a community screening and live performance event for young people and their families to attend.

Image: Dab Hands at Manipulate Festival c Sally Jubb


Outdoor performance went down a treat in Edinburgh West last year, so we’re working with Clovenstone Community Centre to bring The Dab Hands to their family day event in August 2023. This fun, interactive, walk-about performance was commissioned as part of MANIPULATE Festival in 2023 and we’re delighted to see it heading out into our Captivate communities this year.

Image: PAS Workshop session Captivate 2022


Lisa Wilson’s Boxed Up early years object theatre and puppetry show comes to WHALE Arts as part of their Winter programme of performance in 2023. We are working with the artists and WHALE to support an extended wrap around engagement programme following the success of Tortoise in a Nutshell’s Edinburgh West residency and engagement programme that we worked on last year. Boxed Up uses cardboard box creatures to share a story about working together and celerbating individual’s unique talents. Working with WHALE and Edinburgh Libraries we’ll bring opportunities to meet artists, make and play with carboard creatures and explore the ideas in the show in the lead up to the performances at the arts centre.

Image: PAS- AnimATE in 2021 at Corstorphine Hub


Our cooking and animation workshop returns to WHALE as part of their Summer programme this year. We’re delighted to keep being asked to deliver this session – and that more families will have the chance to get creative together and cook with our animators and Edinburgh Food Social.

Puppetry and Emotional Resilience for Families

As well as working with Broomlands Family Centre in North Lanarkshire to pilot this adapted session for families to use our puppetry and emotional resilience resources and method at home we were also delighted to work with Clovenstone Community Centre’s Family Group this Spring. Families took home puppets that they had made during the session, a glove puppet and story book. They spent time with our practicioner Ailie learning how to confidently use the glove puppet and some ways to think about using puppetry at home to encourage conversation, emotional understanding and relationship building.

Running from June 22 to March 23 as the initial year of our Captivate programme in Edinburgh West we delivered the below activity.

Our pilot activity focuses on the communities of Wester Hailes and Clovenstone. WHALE Arts are a community-led arts charity and social enterprise, set up by local people in 1992. We have previously worked with WHALE and the other partner organisations we will be delivery work with through our Puppet Animation Festival programming and in piloting of our AnimATE project sessions in 2021.

In June 22 we carried out creative consultations in Wester Hailes Library, WHALE Arts and Clovenstone with families about what they imagined a creative place to be and what they’d like to see in their communitiy, as well as exploring their experiences of animation, puppetry and theatre so far.


Watch our video to find out more about Hibernate’s performance residency and engagment programme – one of our projects delivered in Edinburgh West last year with puppetry company Tortoise in a Nutshell and community partners:

Pilot Programme:

July 22

AnimATE Tue 19th July, WHALE Arts

Our AnimATE workshop returns to WHALE following our pilot in Edinburgh West last year. This summer edition sees our animators supporting families to create cut out animations and Edinburgh Food Social hosting pasta and sauce making sessions with final results being eaten as they watch their films on the big screen. Read more about AnimATE here.

Location: WHALE Arts, Clovenstone Community Centre

Partners: Edinburgh Food Social

Engagement: 10 families, approx 10 parents/carers, 20 children under 12

Local Artists:  Dominika Jackowska, Holly Summerson


Performance: The Swings Thurs 21st July, WHALE Arts

An outdoor performance from Edinburgh based aerial theatre company All or Nothing. Hosted by WHALE Arts at the kick about multi court in Wester Hailes. This free to access aerial day features performances of family friendly aerial show The Swings throughout the afternoon, as well as Come Try Fly sessions to give aerial silks a go and snacks and drinks provided by WHALE.

Performance: Stories Just in Case + family puppetry workshops

Wed 3rd August, Clovenstone Community Centre

Clovenstone Community Centre host puppet performances from Clydebuilt Puppet Theatre as part of their Summer offer for local families. Incorporating short performances and puppet making workshops for families to try together.


Engagement: 45 families, 45 parents/carers, 90-100 children and young people

Visiting Artists: Clydebuilt Puppet Theatre

Local Artists: All or Nothing

Location: Wester Hailes (outdoor), Clovenstone Community Centre (indoor)

Partners: WHALE Arts, Clovenstone Community Centre


FAUNA Installation Locations TBC, October/November


Performance: Hibernate + storytelling sessions + workshops 

Performances: 16th & 17th December 22, workshops throughout November/December.

December, WHALE Arts, Clovenstone Community Centre & Westerhailes Library

Pic Greg Macvean 19/11/2021 – Cumbernauld Theatre
Hibernate production shots

Tortoise in a Nutshell work with us to redevelop their puppet theatre show Hibernate for community spaces.

Carrying out open rehearsal and engagement activity throughout the period with characters from the show visiting Wester Hailes Library for special book bug and storytelling sessions, the family club at Clovenstone, The Welcoming arts groups and WHALE Arts Smarties group for themed puppet making.

The engagement period and redevelopment period will culminate in 3-4 community performances of the show at WHALE Arts, with a walking bus from Clovenstone available.

Engagement: 40 families, 40 parents/carers, 80-90 children and young people

Public Audience: 120

Local Artists: Tortoise in a Nutshell

Location: WHALE Arts, Clovenstone, Wester Hailes Library

Partners: Tortoise in a Nutshell, The Welcoming







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