Sheringham Little Theatre take part in Family Arts Festival

Just Regional
Oct 13, 2014 4 mins read

Venues in Norfolk are to take part in the 2014 Family Arts Festival this autumn half-term.

Sheringham Little Theatre, Theatre Royal, Norwich Puppet Theatre and Playhouse, in Norwich, all have an exciting programme of music, theatre, dance, visual arts and workshops for children and their parents.

The UK-wide Family Arts Festival, which runs from Friday 17 October to Sunday 2 November, is in its second year, with award-winning writer and former children’s laureate Michael Morpurgo as the 2014 patron and a major partnership with Center Parcs.

“I am delighted to be patron of the 2014 Family Arts Festival,” he says. “The enormous range of events presented across the UK means there will be something to delight, and share with, all members of the family across the generations. I encourage you to make a day – or a week – of exploring the fun, interesting and entertaining events in your area this autumn half-term.”

The festival was launched in 2013 as part of the Family Arts Campaign, an initiative of six national arts membership bodies and supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England; in 2014 the Family Arts Campaign and Festival are being supported in Wales through additional funding from Arts Council Wales.

Joseph Burnham, marketing manager at the Sheringham Little Theatre, which is co-ordinating the regional marketing of the event in this area, and staging an adaptation of Hansel and Gretel and two workshops as part of the festival, says the aim is to encourage families to engage in the arts together.

“This is the first time we have come together to take part – and between us we have some very lively and interesting productions and workshops for families here. I think people underestimate just how much the arts can bring people of all ages together and how much families can learn from sharing these kinds of experiences.”

The Garage, in Norwich, has scheduled events including theatre productions The Muddy Choir, Free, Gatecrash, a dance theatre piece Once in a Blue Moon and a Slam Night. There is also a Family Fun Day where families can try out workshops for free including mini street pop, junk samba, lullaby sing-along, circus skills and more.

Mark Hazell, marketing director at the Theatre Royal, where hit stage musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat forms part of the Family Arts Festival, says he believes family theatre has come a long way in recent years: “Families now have much higher expectations and as a result much better productions are being staged and there is so much more choice,” he adds.

Caz Slota, of Norwich Playhouse, where Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs is being staged and a free interactive workshop is being held, agrees: “People are realising how hugely important theatre can be in bringing families together and children are becoming more aware that theatre is not just for grown-ups but is for everyone.”

Also in Norwich, the Puppet Theatre has an exciting line-up. This includes a creative play session and an Arts Award Explore Day, as well as productions of Thumbelina, Shoe Kangaroo and the Big Bad Boot, Pinocchio and The Magic Porridge Pot and Other Tasty Tales.

Kerry Leathley, marketing officer at the Puppet Theatre, says: “Children’s and family entertainment is what we specialise in so we are very excited to be involved in a festival like this – and we are very pleased to see an increasing number of shows and workshops being programmed for families across the region.”

For full listings information on all Family Arts Festival events in Norfolk and Suffolk visit

Family Arts Festival picture by Andy Sapey

Family Arts Festival picture by Andy Sapey

More of what's happening in Sheringham