Children’s Theatre Festivals 2016

What could be better than a curated collection of children’s theatre productions? Here are some festivals to look out for around the UK this year – if you know of any more, please get in touch and we’ll happily add them!

Greenwich Children’s Theatre Festival (London)
Fri 25th March  – Sun 10th April; Sat 28th May – Sat 4th June

Now in it’s 9th year, the Greenwich Children’s Theatre Festival offers another brilliant programme. There’s a chance to catch the thrillingly grisly, darkly funny Fairytales Gone Bad and the incomparably wonderful Light Show. We’re also keen to see At The End Of Everything Else and Spot.

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The Lost Carnival (Crewe)
Sat 28th, Sun 29th & Mon 30th May

The Lost Carnival is a large-scale outdoor immersive theatre experience. Families are invited to join either The Birds or The Ingenues and influence the action as the battle for supremacy begins! There’ll be lots to see, with theatre, installations, circus, music, visual trickery and sideshows. It’s great to see that the festival has thought about accessibility and tried to create an experience that all audience members can enjoy and access equally.

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Wheee! International Children’s Theatre and Dance Festival (Nottingham)
Sat 28th May – Sun 5th June

This is the twelfth Wheee! Festival, which has brought performances to tens of thousands of children and families over the past few years. In addition to the range of shows from international artists throughout the festival, there is a special Family Weekend (4th & 5th June) of activities and performances held in Highfields Park.

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Imaginate Festival (Edinburgh)
Sat 28th May – Sun 5th June 

Companies from around the world gather together each year for one of the world’s best children’s theatre festivals. Presenting work for babies all the way up to teenagers, there’s something for everyone. And for the first time, this year’s festival kicks off with a free Family Fringe weekend at the National Museum of Scotland, with activities and performances all day.

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Image by Sean Young

Little Feet Festival of Children’s Theatre (York)
Tue 7th June – Sun 12th June

York Theatre Royal and acclaimed children’s theatre company tutti-frutti combine forces once again for the fourth Little Feet Festival. For the duration of the festival, York Theatre Royal is completely transformed into a play area, and the venue dedicated to introducing children aged 0-12 to the magic of theatre. There are a range of imaginative, interactive productions, including the utterly engrossing Claytime.

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Image by Richard Matthews

On The Edge (Birmingham)
Sat 2nd July – Sat 9th July

On The Edge is the World Festival of Theatre For Young Audiences. Hosted by a different international city each year, it is incredibly exciting that the festival will be in Birmingham this July. The line-up includes renowned theatre makers and companies, including Sarah Argent & Theatr Iolo with Out of the Blue, Shona Reppe with The Curious Scrapbook of Josephine Bean and 20 Stories High and Theatre-Rites with The Broke ‘N’ Beat Collective. For anyone interested in children’s theatre – whether watching it or making it – On The Edge is the place to be.

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Starboard Festival (Brighton)
Sat 2nd July – Sun 17th July 

This year marks the very first Starboard Festival, offering outside performances created by, for and with young people aged up to 21. Taking place in the lovely new Brighton Open Air Theatre (BOAT), this looks set to be an eclectic mix of locally- and nationally-produced work.

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International Youth Arts Festival – IYAF (London)
Fri 8th July – Sun 17th July

IYAF is one of the largest youth events in the world, allowing young people to showcase their creative talents as well as offering them an exciting programme of live performances. The programme is yet to be announced, so watch this space…

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Image by Charlotte Levy

Just So Festival (Cheshire)
Fri 19th, Sat 20th & Sun 21st Aug

Just So Festival is a camping festival for children and their families in the beautiful grounds of Rode Hall. The woodland setting is a lovely backdrop for the theatrical, visual and musical performances, workshops and installations. Whilst there are so many brilliant events and activities to choose from, we are particularly excited about Sponge from Turned On Its Head.

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bOing! Festival (Kent)
Sat 27th & Sun 28th Aug

bOing! Festival is a jam-packed weekend full of activities, performances, workshops and art installations. Lots of what’s on offer is completely free, and even the ticketed theatre and dance events are extremely reasonable – last year, tickets were just £5. The programme is yet to be announced, but we’ll update as soon as we know more.

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TakeOff Festival (County Durham)
Mon 17th Oct – Sun 23rd Oct

TakeOff Festival is the largest theatre festival for young audiences in England, bringing theatre companies from the UK and beyond to venues in County Durham. Whilst this year’s programme is yet to be announced, we’re sure it will be another exciting, diverse collection of shows, with the festival recently being celebrated by Upfront Performance Network for its inclusive approach to programming.

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Image by Jamie Sproates

Follow Children’s Theatre Reviews @ctheatrereviews

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