Cov & Warks arts venues take part in Family Arts Festival

Posted on 17 October 2013

This half term, we’re teaming up with Warwick Arts Centre, Compton Verney, Royal Shakespeare Company, Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum and The Coventry Transport Museum, for the first ever Family Arts Festival, which will see over 1,500 family friendly events taking place at 800 venues across the UK.

Running from 18 October to 3 November, the Family Arts Festival aims to build on the momentum of the London 2012 Festival and Cultural Olympiad, with a mix of music, theatre, dance and visual arts events to attract families to participate in the arts this autumn.

Families can take advantage of more than 24 events across Coventry and Warwickshire, ranging from Madness musical Our House and Nikki the Storyteller at the Belgrade Theatre, NoFit State circus and Dinosaur Zoo at Warwick Arts Centre, The Big Draw and spooky storytelling atCompton Verney, Coventry Transport Museum’s War Effort exhibition and craft workshops as well as drawing activities inspired by Quentin Blake’s book, Angelica Sprocket’s Pockets at the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum.

Events at the Royal Shakespeare Company include stage fighting workshops and new show Blown Away. Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust is hosting ghost walks, pumpkin carving and a family friendly performance of Macbeth, amongst other events.

Kathryn McDowell CBE, Family Arts Campaign Chair and Managing Director of the London Symphony Orchestra, said: “We’re delighted to present such an extensive and diverse programme at the first Family Arts Festival. We hope to engage families across the UK with the wealth of high quality programming which truly offers something for everyone. From the music lover, to the aspiring artist, the dancing queen or the budding thespian, people of all ages, backgrounds and interests will be able to find inspiring arts events near them. We’re counting on the families of the UK to recreate the Olympic spirit of participation and join in an event in their area.”

The Family Arts Festival is part of a wider programme, The Family Arts Campaign, which is working to help arts organisations attract more and a wider range of families. Devised in consultation with over 1,000 arts professionals and 2,000 families, the Family Arts Campaign and Festival are initiatives of The Association of British Orchestras, The Theatrical Management Association, The Society of London Theatre, the Independent Theatre Council, the Visual Arts & Galleries Association and Dance UK, and are funded by Arts Council England.

Please see below for a run down of all of the events taking place at each of the venues

Belgrade Theatre, Coventry

Being Human, 18 & 19 Oct: poetry in performance featuring 35 extraordinary poems about love, loss, fear, longing, hurt and wonder.

Kindertransport, 23 –26 Oct: a play which recounts a daughter’s experience of being separated from her mother during the Second World War. Recommended 11+.

Our House, 28 Oct –2 Nov: A tale of life and love inspired by the music of Madness, featuring hits like Our House, Baggy Trousers, Driving in My Car and It Must Be Love. Recommended 12+.

Nikky the Storyteller, 1 Nov: entertains younger children with original rhyming tales and puppet characters. Entirely free to attend.

Bookings and further details: 024 7655 3055 or

Warwick Arts Centre

Bank on It, 19 Oct – 2 Nov: An interactive search for an elusive bank manager set in a mystery location in Coventry. Recommended 5+

Noodles, 24 –26 Oct: NoFit State present a circus sea of irreverent chaos – a world of knots, wires and spaghetti for all ages.

Centrally Heated Knickers, 28 Oct children’s poet Michael Rosen performs, a vibrant show for all ages with songs, poetry, grooves and flights of fancy from The Homemade Orchestra.

Dinosaur Zoo, 1 Nov: Get up close and personal with cute baby dinos and teeth-gnashing giants.

The Big Draw – Future Cities, 26 –28 Oct: Be part of the design and build of a massive 3D sculpture

Bookings and further details: 024 765 24524 or

Compton Verney

The Big Draw, 29 Oct – 3 Nov: Draw your vision of tomorrow at this year’s Big Draw and create the animals of the future in the foam printing activity.

Frightful plots and fearful tales, 27 Oct & 29 Oct: Storyteller Nigel Sewell tells spookily gruesome tales in the atmospheric Morning Room.

Connie and Verne mystery, 30 Oct – 1 Nov: Connie and Verne solve the mystery of missing objects in this storytelling session for under-5s.

Outside resource room, 18 Oct – 3 Nov: Meet Curious Beasts and Fantastic Animals in the autumn exhibitions and then create your own animal collage to complete the animal alphabet.

All events included in exhibition, collections and grounds admission. Just £2.50 per child, adults £13.00.

Bookings and further details: 01926 645500 or

Royal Shakespeare Company

Blown Away, 29 Oct – 3 Nov: new show presented by Birdsnest Theatre for ages 3 – 6

Various workshops, 18 Oct – 3 Nov: Join the Wendy & Peter or Macbeth Active Storytelling (ages 4 – 8), Richard II Family Workshop (ages 8+), Singing Workshop (ages 7+), Stage Fighting Workshop (ages 10+) and create bruises and scars in Blood, Guts and Gore. Kids go free up the Viewing Tower and learn theatrical secrets on a Family Tour (ages 6 – 11). Free activities throughout the building include a Halloween Trail, adventure bags, play carts and drop in craft classes.

Bookings and further details: 0844 800 1110

Coventry Transport Museum

War Effort, 12 July 2013 – 5 Jan 2014: Exhibition on British motor industry’s contribution to the wartime production, during World War II.

Various craft activities and workshops, 26 Oct – 3 Nov: Fashion recycling workshop, 1940s hair workshop, Rag Rugging workshop, War Effort family activity trails, craft activities including decorate a recipe book, make a spoon doll, decorate a seed box and make an ARP toolbox.

Sun 3rd Nov, Wartime Family Day: A full day of wartime-themed activities for all the family

Bookings and further details: 024 7623 4270

The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum

The Big Draw: Pockets of Plenty, 26 Oct – 3 Nov: Drawing sessions inspired by the Big Draw theme of Draw Tomorrow and Quentin Blake’s imaginative book, Angelica Sprocket’s Pockets.

Bookings and further details: 024 7683 2386

Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

26 Oct – 3 Nov

Mary Arden’s Farm – Pumpkin-carving, haunted trail, plague charm and soul cake making (make and take activities). Friday Fright Night, 1 Nov: A tour through the candle lit farm and house featuring stories, myths and legends from Shakespeare’s time. £5 (suitable for children aged over 10).

Anne Hathaway’s Cottage & Gardens – Haunted Macbeth Trail. Plus scary story-telling in the woods, 31 Oct, 11.30am & 2.30pm.

The Shakespeare Centre – a unique performance of Macbeth by Shakespeare Aloud! 6pm, £5-7.

Hall’s Croft – Evening ghost walks around Stratford ending with wine and hot drinks at Hall’s Croft.

Bookings and further details: 01789 204016

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