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Birmingham to host international children's festival

This year's festival in Birmingham marks the first time the UK and Ireland have hosted

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The Hamilton Complex by Belgian company Hetpaleis

Birmingham is set to host the annual 2016 international children's theatre festival, On the Edge. Running from 2 to 9 July, the festival invites theatre companies from across the globe to perform for children and aims to promote theatre and performance for young audiences.

Whilst the festival will span the whole city, Birmingham Rep will act as the main hub of the festival. Audiences can expect to see shows by artists from 14 countries with highlights including Belgian company Hetpaleis' show The Hamilton Complex, which will also run at the Unicorn Theatre in London, and offers a glimpse into the chaotic minds of 13 13-year-old girls.

Elsewhere in the festival there is an interactive piece from Australian company Terrapin Puppet Theatre which invites the public to become residents in a miniature model railway village, UK premieres from Irish puppetry company Monkeyshine and Austrian puppeteer and actress Myriam Rossbach and Mary-Frances Doherty's piece Katie's Birthday Party which looks at the trials and tribulations of what a young person goes through in the change from primary school to secondary school.

Comedy , dance and an immersive adventure created for children and young people with learning difficulties also feature.

The festival, which takes place in a different international city each year, is expected to welcome around 500 international visitors alongside families and school audiences.

Steve Ball, executive producer for On the Edge said: "On the Edge will show that theatre for young audiences can be more than a fairytale, favourite book or bankable brand brought to life on stage. The brilliant imaginations of the companies and artists involved in the festival will show just how joyful and enthralling theatre for young people can be. We have bold productions about adolescence, playful shows for the very young and more sensory adventures for those with profound and multiple learning difficulties.

"The title refers to the the sense that we are at the cutting edge: striving to push the boundaries of innovation and poised to achieve the international recognition it deserves. We hope audiences will be as excited about the programme on offer as we are."