The first UK-wide arts festival for families will take place 18 October-3 November with a programme covering music, theatre, dance, circus and visual arts.
Family Arts Festival involves more than five hundred arts organisations and is part of a wider programme, the Family Arts Campaign, which aims to help arts organisations attract a greater audience, and encourage family participation and attendance at arts events. It also aims to ‘build on the momentum’ of the London 2012 Festival and Cultural Olympiad.
The campaign is the initiative of six arts trade organisations ‒ the Association of British Orchestras, the Theatrical Management Association, the Society of London Theatre, the Independent Theatre Council, the Visual Arts and Galleries Association and Dance UK, and is being funded by £1.1m of Arts Council England investment. Around 25% of events are free, with some costing less than £10, and others offering reduced price tickets for children and young people, and family tickets.
Classical music highlights include All Aboard! ‒ a musical celebration of transport ‒ hosted by the RLPO; the Hallé’s world premiere of There’s A Rumble in the Jungle, during which Hallé musicians will recite poetry, sing and dance as well as play their instruments; Witches, LSO’s family concert, which encourages children to bring their instruments and play along; and families can have the opportunity to conduct the Philharmonia performing the Planets at Festival Hall via ‘cutting edge’ technology.
Family Arts Campaign chair and managing director of the LSO Kathryn McDowell said: ‘We’re delighted to present such an extensive and diverse programme. We hope to engage families across the UK with the wealth of high quality programming which truly offers something for everyone. We’re counting on the families of the UK to recreate the Olympic spirit of participation and join in an event in their area.’
Mark Pemberton, director, Association of British Orchestras, said: ‘The Family Arts Festival will present a wealth of fantastic programming across the UK and celebrating all aspects of the arts. We are thrilled to have been so involved in this project, and our members, including the London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra, Hallé Orchestra and Royal Scottish National Orchestra, will host a diverse array of workshops, concerts and productions for all the family to enjoy.’
Alan Davey, chief executive of Arts Council England, commented: ‘We are very proud to support the Family Arts Festival and Family Arts Campaign. The festival has brought together a programme of events that are not only fun for the whole family, but also innovative, daring and really encourage participation in the arts.’