Southbank Centre’s Imagine Festival returns

Published December 11, 2015

The Southbank Centre’s Imagine Children’s Festival will return in 2016 with a host of events – including performances of I Believe In Unicorns, Little Red Riding Hood and The Three Little Pigs – set to entertain families over the February half-term.

Now in its 15th year, the annual festival will offer a packed programme spanning theatre, dance, music, installations, readings and workshops from 10 to 21 February.

As part of the 12-day event, Wizard Presents’ much-loved production of Michael Morpurgo’s I Believe In Unicorns (19 February ) will be back delighting audiences aged six and older with its tale of a young boy who would rather play in the mountains than flick through the pages of a book.

Also for children aged six and older, Dutch theatre company Theater Gnaffel will make its London debut with Roald Dahl double bill Little Red Riding Hood and The Three Little Pigs (20 February), bringing the classic tales to life with music and life-sized puppets.

The trio of children’s classics will be joined by a musical adaptation of Peter Brown’s bestselling picture book Mr Tiger Goes Wild (13 to 17 February) for ages three and older, which charts the story of a city-dwelling big cat with a wonderfully wild idea. Making 13 February something of a feline-themed day, there will also be an in conversation event with The Tiger Who Came To Tea author Judith Kerr, in which she discusses her first illustrated novel in 37 years, Mister Cleghorn’s Seal.

Following their recent West End run, the makers of Showstopper! The Improvised Musical will create an interactive adventure for kids on 16 February when every insane suggestion, inspired idea and joyful noise is incorporated into an ever-changing performance.

Other theatrical highlights include The Greatest Comic-Making Show On Earth (21 February), which sees a world of epic stories, awesome plots and the odd zombie conjured by comic creators the Etherington Brothers, and The Secret Life Of Suitcases (18 to 21 February), an enchanting puppet show from Scottish puppeteer Ailie Cohen.

In addition to Theater Gnaffel’s offerings, a live animated version of The Minpins performed by the London School’s Symphony Orchestra and a special reading of Matilda combining dance, illustration and music, the festival will also help celebrate the Dahl centenary with The Wondercrump World Of Roald Dahl. Commissioned by the Southbank Centre in partnership with Wales Millennium Centre, the interactive experience will take visitors on a magical journey through seven different immersive worlds that explore Roald Dahl’s life and the world of his iconic books from 10 February to 3 July.

For a full list of the festival’s free and ticketed events, visit the Southbank Centre’s website.