Get Creative Family Arts Festival returns this October
Family-friendly dance, theatre and art events all over the UK
The Get Creative Family Arts Festival returns for its fourth year in October, with thousands of events for kids aged between zero and 16 in venues up and down the land. For the first time, the festival is on for a whole month, although half-term dates (in England, between Mon 17–Fri 28 Oct, depending on your location) mean that most of the activity will be in the last two weeks, so book early with that in mind.
The festival website includes a useful feature whereby harassed parents (are there any other kind?) can select events by age range. Note, however, that it only works if you also select a location, and it's somewhat liberal in its notion of the lower end of 'age range', meaning that you might get search results a little too childish for sarcastic tweens with Instagram accounts.
There's a wide variety of stuff on the programme, from art workshops to international dance, and a major art exhibition at Tate Modern. Below are just a few highlights.
Family Barn Dance
Who doesn't like a barn dance? Uptight city folk with their swanky ways, that's who, at least until the final reel when their financial acumen turns out to be essential to savin' Grandpappy's farm from Old Man Potter. Then they let their hair down with the rest of us. This family-friendly barn dance features dances from all over the British Isles, with experienced callers.
Family Farm Barn Dance, Cecil Sharp House, London, Sun 9 Oct, 3pm, £7 (£5) All ages, but kids under 5 must be partnered with an adult.
If you don't fancy high-stepping it to the sound of English folk music, there's always disco. This one has games and competitions and refreshments are included in the price.
Family Disco, Electric Theatre, Guildford, Thu 20 Oct, 3.30pm, £6. All ages.
Northern Ballet: The Tortoise and the Hare
The fable of the tortoise and the hare is often to taken to teach the lesson that 'slow and steady wins the race'; however, it might be more usefully taken as meaning 'slow and steady wins the race, but only if your opponent is such an overconfident fool that he takes a nap half way through'. Northern Ballet bring this charming fable to life.
The Tortoise and the Hare, New Victoria Theatre, Woking, Fri 7 Oct, noon and 2pm, £9 and Alhambra Theatre, Bradford, Fri 14 Oct, £9.
A participatory dance show for very young kids, exploring squashy textures and with a 70s-inspired score (because the 70s were the squashiest decade of the 20th century.)
Sponge, National tour, October. Ages 3 months–4 years.
A dance show inspired by the game that was to the 1990s as Candy Crush Saga was to 2013. Arch 8 Dance Group from the Netherlands twist themselves into various positions.
Tetris, National tour, October. Ages 6+.
Bear Hunt, Chocolate Cake and Bad Things
The former Children's Laureate Michael Rosen has written some of the most beloved kids' books of our time, and anyone who happens to be in Manchester in October can find out more about them, the man himself and the things that have inspired him.
Bear Hunt, Z-Arts, Manchester, Saturdays between 17 Sep–17 Dec, times vary. Ages 0–11.
The tale of a girl in search of nature's biggest light show (we assume this is the aurora borealis but don't take our word for it), armed only with a mop bucket, a hedgehog, a cup of tea and unquenchable pluck.
Mavis Sparkle, National tour, Oct–Nov 2016 and Mar 2017. Ages 4+.
Georgia O'Keeffe was one of the greatest American painters, whose unique take and flowers and landscapes will blow the minds of kids interested in art, gathering together 100 paintings made over six decades.
Georgia O'Keeffe, Tate Modern, London, 29 Jul–30 Oct, £19. All ages.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre
Alvin Ailey was one of America's finest choreographers and the company he created, now led by Robert Battle, is noted for its exciting and athletic performances. Potential Billy Elliots should find it inspiring.
Alvin Ailey, National tour, Sep–Oct, prices vary.
Various venues around the country for the whole month of October. See www.familyartsfestival.com for more details.