Planning for Half term: Nordic Imagine Children’s Festival #Southbankcentre #ImagineFest

Imagine Childrens Festival 1The Southbank’s 2017 Imagine Children’s Festival 2017 embraces Nordic culture

Featuring Aurora Orchestra, Candoco Dance Company, Lauren Child, Horatio Clare, Julian Clary, Joseph Coelho, Christian O’Connell, Nandana Dev Sen, Pernilla Lindroos, Chris Riddell, David Roberts, Francesca Simon, Michael De Souza, Birgitta Sif and many more

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Southbank Centre’s Imagine Children’s Festival returns from 9 19 February 2017, taking over the Royal Festival Hall during half term with a packed programme of events including dance, music, theatre and installations, alongside readings and workshops with some of the top children’s authors from the UK and Nordic region.

2017 Highlights include:

Comedian and author Julian Clary and award-winning illustrator David Roberts introduce their new book The Bolds on Holidayfeaturing readings and live drawing (17 February)

A free pedal-powered film screening of Walt Disney’s classic film The Little Mermaid (16 February)

Finnish dinosaur heavy metal band Hevisaurus make their London premiere (15 February)

An afternoon of reading and live illustration from Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell and friends (15 February)

Team GB Olympic cyclist Chris Hoy presents a new range of books for young readers Flying Fergus and On Your Bike (17 February)

Dancing for babies with Groove Baby (10 February) and Rave-a-Roo, a brand new clubbing experience for the whole family (11 February)

The LEGO® team offers the opportunities for festival-goers to help build their vision of the city of the future (12-19 February) and hear the stories of the LEGO Master Builders, who have turned their love for building into a career (11 February)

Terry Davies conducts the Aurora Orchestra in René Aubry’s scores for a double-bill of The Gruffalo and Room on the Broom (13 February)

Multi-award-winning performer and storyteller Danyah Miller brings to life Michael Morpurgo’s Why the Whales Came, with a live Q&A with Michael Morpurgo (17 February)   

Adventures in Moominland – a major new immersive, interactive exhibition from the world of acclaimed Finnish author Tove Jansson, with theatrical sets and rare archive objects and illustrations (until 23 April)

Breakfast radio star Christian O’Connell introduces Radio Boy: Adrian Mole for the internet generation (13 February)

Neverlandan immersive new show for children that uses 360 degree video projections and original music and performance to tell the story of a child’s imagination (7-9 February)

Acclaimed children’s authors including Michael De Souza, Joseph Coelho, Horatio Clare, Francesca Simon, Pernilla Lindroos, and Birgitta Sif talk about their latest works

Wow Hoop, circus performances for all the family from Finnish baby circus director Mette Ylikorva (10 – 17 February)

Stories Through Sound experimental sound design workshops with the School of Noise (13 February)

Children’s Story Centre presenting Dr. Seuss’ beloved story The Cat in the Hat (12 February)

Leaps and Bounds – an afternoon of inclusive dance workshops with the acclaimed Candoco Dance Company (19 February)

Kangaroo Kisses – an interactive Storytelling Session with award-winning actor and writer Nandana Dev Sen (19 February)

This year’s Imagine Children’s Festival has a strong Nordic focus, in line with Southbank Centre’s year-long exploration of Nordic arts and culture, Nordic Matters. Some of the top artists and authors from the Nordic region appear at the festival including Icelandic author and illustrator Birgitta Sif, Swedish author Pernilla Lindroos, Greenlandic author Bolatta Silis-Høegh, award-winning writer Rakel Helmsdal from the Faroe Islands, Icelandic author Þórarinn Eldjárn and Finnish illustrator Linda Bondestram. The festival also sees the London premiere of Finnish band Hevisaurus, who bring their unique brand of power metal for children to the Royal Festival Hall. The band – who consist of four dinosaurs and a dragon – have become a Finnish institution, selling over 170,000 albums in their home country, and spawning tribute versions in countries around the world. Children can also learn about characters of Sami mythology with Sami writer Ante Aikio from Finnish Lapland and rock out at the Swedish Baby Rave. Swedish illustrator Maja Asten also worked with pupils from the Evelina London Children’s Hospital to create illustrations inspired by imaginary friends which will be used as lead imagery for the festival. Oddjob, one of Sweden’s foremost jazz groups presents Jazzoo, their Swedish Grammy-Award nominated album for children, accompanied by animations from Helene Berg. Francesca Simon also discusses her new book, The Monstrous Child based on the mythical Norse goddess of the underworld, ‘Hel’.

A range of enchanting theatre for all ages takes place at Imagine this year, including a performance of Michael Morpurgo’s beloved tale Why The Whales Came by multi-award-winning performer and storyteller Danyah Miller and a storytelling workshop inspired by Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat. Ready Steady GO! is an interactive theatre show for 3-9 year olds which allows the audience to create, decorate and race cardboard cars; and Neverland, a new immersive show for 1-3 year olds and their parents uses 360 video projections, music and performance to tell the story of a child’s imagination. Acclaimed Swedish Theatre Company Pero Theatre also presents Aston’s Stones, a touching story for 3-6 year olds exploring empathy and world-renowned Danish theatre company Gruppe 38 brings an interactive theatre piece Hans Christian, You Must Be an Angel  to Imagine for ages 8 and up.

More than half of the Imagine programme is free, with a range of free activities for the whole family to enjoy on each day of the festival. Visitors can join in a free pedal-powered screening of The Little Mermaid with prizes for the best underwater-themed costumes, an inclusive dance workshop led by acclaimed Candoco Dance Company, an afternoon of family fun at the PJ Party, as well as free poetry readings in the Poetry Library and a bedtime story in the Clore Ballroom to close each day of the festival.

Tamsin Ace, Imagine Children Festival’s Lead Programmer said “Alongside our stellar line-up of authors and illustrators, I’m really excited to have a strong Nordic theme running through the festival this year. The region has influenced the festival from the ground up, from our core visuals – designed by children from Evelina Children’s Hospital and Swedish designer Maja Stern – through to our extensive theatre and music programming, including the dinosaur heavy metal band Hevisaurus. Every country in the Nordic region is represented at Imagine this year and I’m particularly looking forward to seeing how the Nordic view on childhood, based around ‘playfulness’, manifests itself in the festival.”

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