Greenwich launches second children’s theatre festival

Published January 29, 2009

Adaptations of popular books Private Peaceful, Rainbow Fish and Charlotte’s Web feature in the line-up for the second annual Greenwich Children’s Theatre Festival from 6 to 18 April.

The festival, presented by Greenwich theatre in association with its major sponsor, the Docklands Light Railway, promises to be bigger than last year’s inaugural event, with dance, puppetry, magic and juggling featuring alongside drama productions during the 12-day event. Young people are encouraged to participate through a series of free workshops.

James Haddrell, Executive Director of Greenwich theatre, commented: “I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to dedicate two weeks each year to fantastic children’s theatre. It’s important to encourage young people to see and enjoy the magic of live theatre and experience that participation. This year is even more ambitious than the last, with productions and events reaching across four locations in the borough and will be, I hope, the best Children’s Theatre Festival in London. My love of puppetry is reflected strongly in the festival featuring in at least five of the shows and, I think, is a powerful, visual way of telling a story. It’s a packed festival with over 12 shows and with workshops for all ages, so something for every family to do over the Easter Holidays.” 

The festival kicks off on 6 April with Bristol Old Vic and Scamp Theatre’s production of Private Peaceful, adapted by Simon Reade from the novel by former Children’s Laureate Michael Morpurgo. Private Peaceful tells the story of a young soldier in the First World War who reflects on his life while awaiting the firing squad at dawn. Morpurgo is the award-winning author of Butterfly Lion, Kensuke’s Kingdom and War Horse, which was adapted for the National Theatre, where it is currently playing.

The festival line-up also includes Blunderbus Theatre Company’s adaptation of Marcus Pfister’s Rainbow Fish (11 April), TheatreWorks’s puppetry-based adaptation of E B White’s classic story Charlotte’s Web (14 April), plus visiting productions of much-loved stories Pinocchio (15 April), The Little Matchstick Girl (17 April) and Little Red Riding Hood (18 April). Greenwich Dance Agency gets in on the action with The Tell Woman (11 April), a fantastic fairytale told through dance, theatre and puppetry, and international juggling artists Gandini will be hoping to wow crowds at two outdoor locations in Greenwich on 12 April. The festival ends on 18 April with Krazy Kat Theatre Company’s Petrushka And The Mysterious Magician.

Young drama enthusiasts aged 9-12 can sign up for the festival’s Utopia Workshops, challenging them to create a new show with puppetry, music and costume in three days; while teens aged 16-19 can take part in the Ten Minute Musical Youth Challenge, an intensive workshop to create a brand new ten-minute musical. Both workshops take place on 6 to 8 April and are free to attend.

For a full programme of events and to book, visit www.greenwichtheatre.org.uk