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Edinburgh International Festival 2023

The Lost Lending Library

Punch Drunk Enrichment

Genre: Children's Theatre, Immersive, Storytelling

Venue: Church Hill Theatre Studio


Low Down

Calling all young people with great imaginations! At 314 floors high and with 78 spiral side departments, The Lost Lending Library houses the largest collection of books and stories in the world. Books of all sizes and colours are crammed together on its shelves, stories bursting into life from their covers.



Imagine the largest collection of books in the world – it’s 314 floors high and is constantly moving around to find the best stories by young people with the best imaginations. The Lost Lending Library is in an unusual situation it appears – and it requires the help of young people to fill its empty shelves in one section with new imaginative stories. Stories are the goal and imaginative ones at that, which is a wonderful way to encourage the young to be creative and to be aware of their own power of their imaginations.

Perry is our guide – or rather an official trainee guardian of the library – who tells us stories and better still, encourages the young members of the audience, or our expedition to create a story together. The small audience of about twenty, almost half of which were under eleven years old quickly got into the creative side of things. Perry is very patient yet animated and quirky and has a real rapport with even the very youngest in our audience to engage them, without putting anyone on the spot.

Perry explains the next part of the journey into another space to look for a secret door and several of the young people (who did not know each other before this event) were collaborating on finding the solution together, which was fun to see. Each of the spaces in which this interactive immersive story takes place is beautifully designed with curious oddities and lots of different books everywhere. Eventually we found another space and were welcomed by another storyteller – or, rather an official fully fledged guardian of a section of the library – who told us about the next part of the story. The atmosphere in this space is out of this world, with little details and objects all over the walls, in tiny cupboards, on the ceiling – a truly magical place.

This entire experience would certainly interest young book lovers but equally introduce others to appreciate and be curious about books in a smart and charming way. Created by Punchdrunk Enrichment, The Lost Lending Library is a wonderful way to spend almost an hour with the young people in your family.

The Lost Lending Library is written and directed by Mia Jerome with Peter Higgin as co-director, creator and original writer/director. The cast of two actors on the day I went are two of the three credited actors: Simon Maeder, Hayley Muirhead and Delvene Pitt. Both were adept at asking the very young questions and extending the information creatively.

This is an immersive installation style storytelling show that is guided with different activities in three different size creatively designed spaces that are well thought out to engage the imagination.

The young members of the audience enjoyed this theatrical storytelling experience and the grown ups enjoyed it just as much!