War Horse author Michael Morpurgo has been announced as patron for the 2014 Family Arts Festival as it returns for a second year of family friendly entertainment this autumn.
This year’s festival will see 500 organisations host more than 2,000 events across the UK, including an exciting selection of activities here in the capital.
There will be a rabbit on the loose at the Barbican Centre from 28 October to 4 November, when audience members aged two and older are invited to join the tissue paper creature on his stair-climbing, tightrope-walking adventures. From 29 October to 15 November, dads will be having a boogie at Battersea Arts Centre thanks to a dance project exploring the relationship between fathers and their children. Even pigeons play a part in this year’s festival as they try to take control of London transport in Don’t Let The Pigeons Drive The Bus, a show for children up to 11-years-old playing at the Half Moon Theatre on 25 October.
Other highlights in the 2014 Family Arts Festival include the return of Shakespeare’s Globe’s award-winning promenade show Muse Of Fire (25 to 31 October), Stewart Melton’s exploration of friendship Seesaw at the Unicorn Theatre (18 October to 2 November) and Three Wise Monkeys (28 October to 1 November), Mike Kenny’s take on the classic Japanese proverb, which brings live music, puppetry and mischievous storytelling to the Lyric Hammersmith.
Former Children’s Laureate Morpurgo, whose enchanting tale I Believe In Unicorns joins his long-running hit War Horse on the capital’s stage this summer, said he was “delighted” to be supporting the event. Talking of how much the festival meant to him as an author, Morpurgo said: “Many of my books have become plays, opera and ballet and so I have been able to see first-hand how live cultural experiences can transform, transport and delight, opening up the imagination to a lifelong interest in the arts. I encourage families to make a day – or a week – of exploring the fun, interesting and entertaining events in your area this autumn half term.”
The Family Arts Festival, which aims to introduce families to the wealth of stellar entertainment and culture on offer in the UK, enjoyed huge success in 2013 with hundreds of organisations providing an array of music, theatre, dance, circus and visual arts for family audiences.
Talking about its achievements to date, Family Arts Campaign Director David Brownlee said: “So far the campaign has done a great job in helping arts organisations focus on the practical needs of families and we are delighted to see so many organisations signing up to the Family Arts Standards. I hope that the quality and diversity of the artistic offer in this year’s festival will inspire organisations to devise more innovative and creative programming for adults and children to enjoy together throughout the year.”
For a full list of events taking place in this year’s festival, head to www.familyartsfestival.com where you can search by area, age and genre.