Preview: Imagine Children’s Festival @ Southbank Centre

Stuck for what to do with the kids at half term? The Southbank Centre has the answer to your fevered prayers as the Imagine Festival starts on Monday. Two weeks of activities, some free, covering music, books, poetry, dance, discussions and a dinosaur petting zoo (we’re going to say that once again: a dinosaur petting zoo).

If you want the reassurance of a big name to entertain your little ones you can choose from Michael Rosen, David Walliams, Cressida Cowell, Simon Mayo, Frank Cottrell Boyce, Judith Kerr, John Hegley, Anthony Horowitz, Laura Dockrill, Polarbear and we also thoroughly recommend the free storytelling / monster drawing workshop from Sarah McIntyre and Philip Reeve. Other joining-in booky activities include a bookswap and creating poems about London Adventures with Tiffany Tondut.

There’s singing from local schoolchildren, opera for babies, the Labèque sisters playing Ravel’s Mother Goose Suite, string quartet Grafitti Classics performing a free music / comedy show and a bicycle-powered disco.

Bryony Kimmings’s show Mega (pictured) sounds particularly interesting: it’s an interactive coming-of-age story set in the 90s. Audience members put on shell suits and a set of headphones and follow Bryony’s instructions as they tour round the Southbank Centre (£8). Lone Twin’s Beastie show also involves kids taking charge of their own experience.

We’ve barely scratched the surface here; best to take a look at the Southbank Centre’s website and get a taste of previous festivals in the video below.

Imagine Children’s Festival runs 11-24 February at the Southbank Centre. Tickets various prices, some free events.

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