Life & Culture

Fly your children to cloud nine this holiday

We round up the drama, theatre music and art options for the summer break



Bear Hunt
We’re Going On A Bear Hunt, The classic poem by former children’s laureate Michael Rosen, is effectively adapted for the stage with songs and sound effects.

July 8 to 16, Duchess Theatre
0870 124 9127
Tickets from £17.50

Tweenies Live: Top of the Tots
The acid-coloured life-size puppets from the BBC TV show, are firm favourites with the under-fives, and their all singing/all dancing show has become a summer staple.

July 18 to 20, Festival Theatre, Edinburgh
July 27 to 29, The Journal Tyne Theatre, Newcastle
August 1 and 2, Theatre Royal, Glasgow
August 6 to 9, Richmond Theatre
August 24 to 26, Theatre Royal Brighton
Tickets from £20

Peter Pan
This new staging of J M Barrie’s tale about the boy who never grew up is performed in a specially constructed temporary arena in London’s Kensington Gardens.

Until September 13, Neverland Pavilion, London W8
0871 386 1122
Tickets from £22.50 (under-16s 25 per cent discount except Sats)

The Night Keeper
A play set in a mysterious museum where Maggie stumbles into a magical dustbin which is, in fact, the entrance to a secret exhibition. But can the museum’s night keeper convince her that history is not a load of old rubbish? With music and puppetry.

August 15 and 16, Roundhouse, Camden, London NW1
020 844 482 8008
Tickets from £7.50

Milkshake! Live in My First Concert
Another transfer from TV to stage. The presenters of Five’s morning children’s programme Milkshake! perform in a musical extravaganza featuring television characters Noddy, Rupert, and the Mr Men.

August 28-30, The Lowry, Manchester
0870 787 5780

More often dusted off for the panto season, the much-loved fairy tale is given a summer feel in this outdoor performance by Chapterhouse Theatre. Bring warm clothing and your own seating.

August 8, Harewood House, Leeds
0113 218 1000
And August 28 and 29, Heaton Park, Manchester
Tickets start at £10.45 (adults), £6.75 (children)

Room on the Broom
A charming show for children aged three and up, about a witch, a cat and a dragon, based on the book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler.

July 27 and 28, Carriageworks, Leeds
0113 218 1000
And August 5-31, The Pleasance, Edinburgh Fringe Festival
0131 556 6550
Tickets from £6.50

Scooby Doo! And The Pirate Ghost
One of the few TV cartoon characters with true cross-generational appeal. In this live show, Scooby-Doo, Shaggy, Velma, Daphne and Fred have a new case to solve in their trademark Mystery Inc. style. Don’t forget your Scooby snacks.

July 16 to 19, New Theatre Oxford
0844 847 1585
And July 23 to 26, Liverpool Empire Theatre
0870 606 3536. Tickets from £7.50

Interactive events

Pirates is the summer theme at this east London story-making centre. Not surprisingly really — the venue has recently installed a huge ship and treasure cave alongside its story trail and garden. There are various events throughout the holidays which cost £1.50 to join, including a sea shanties session, and dressing up. Yo, ho, ho!

Ongoing, Chant Street, London E15
020 8536 5555
Tickets from £4.50

Videogame Heroes
Children can make giant hand puppets based on the videogame heroes on show at this exhibition which celebrates consoles ranging from the ZX Spectrum to the Nintendo DSi. Visitors can play old favourites and forgotten gems such as Jet Set Willy, Manic Miner and Sensible World of Soccer.

July 4, 5, 11 and 12, Videogame Nation
Urbis, Manchester M4
0161 605 8200
Tickets (which include entry to the exhibition) are £3

Suzanne Cohen
BBC animator Suzanne Cohen runs cartoon workshops for five- to 13-year-olds at the annual Limmud Fest weekend.

August 27 to 31, Calver, Derbyshire
020 8458 7965
Tickets are £199 for adults and £60 for children for the whole festival

Summertime Tall Tales
Interactive storytelling sessions for children aged two to four. Books are brought to life through rhymes, movement, props, percussion and song.

Wednesdays in July and August, Tron Theatre, Glasgow
0141 552 4267
Tickets are £4


American children’s performer Shira Kline performs a “Jewish-style” rock show for kids. Her traditional songs with a twist will entertain children up to the age of seven.

September 1, The Lund Theatre, UCS School, London
020 7431 9866
Tickets are £7. Shira is also appearing at this year’s Limmud Fest (details above).

Mini Music Makers Taster Workhsop
The National Youth Choir of Scotland teaches toddlers how to sing and play percussion.

July 14, 28, City Halls, Glasgow
0141 287 2943
Tickets are £5

Klezmer in the park
Round off the summer with an afternoon of klezmer and Yiddish song and dance at the Jewish Music Institute’s outdoor event. Includes free children’s activities. Bring a picnic.

September 6, Regent’s Park Bandstand, London NW1

Free events

Jason and the Argonauts
This specially commissioned interpretation of the Greek myth includes comedy, songs and puppetry. Best of all, the performance in this outdoor ampitheatre on the south bank of the Thames, is free. Just turn up.

August 7-September 6
The Scoop at More London (next to City Hall),

Summer weekends at Somerset House

Over five weekends families can enjoy the spectacular fountains and take part in workshops, storytelling, and discovery tours. There are craft workshops, outdoor films and even a creative catwalk where children can make an outfit using paper and recyclables.

Somerset House, London WC1
020 7845 4600

Art Trolley Summer

Every day in August between 11am and 5pm, children of all ages can create colourful artworks. For the budding detective, there is also the Discovery Trail — children follow clues to unlock the mystery of the gallery’s “secret spaces”. Suitable for fives and over.

Tate Britain, London SW1
020 7887 8888

What A Performance
A range of characters help bring the museum’s Captured: Prisoners of War exhibition to life. Short and lively performances about the heroes of the Second World War.

18-31 July, Imperial War Museum North, Manchester 17
0161 836 4000

Go Adventure!
Children are supplied with explorer packs when they visit the evolution exhibition, A Duck for Mr Darwin, which includes the must-see wormery. Complete an activity sheet and be entered into a free draw for goodie bags. For ages four to 13.

July 20 to September 4, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, NE8
0191 478 1810

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