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Children’s Theatre in the Midlands – February 2019

We’re lucky to have a wealth of cultural venues surrounding us here in the West Midlands. Whether you are looking to stay as close to home as possible, or are willing to travel a little further, you can almost guarantee there will be something to suit all ages, tastes and budgets.

I’ve had a look at some of my favourite venues to pick out the top theatre shows for children and families this February. The school half terms are always rich with cultural offerings, and this year is no different.

Sourpuss – Midlands Art Centre

Sunday 17 February
Performance Times: 11am, 2pm
For ages: 3 – 8 years old
Tickets from £8

There are a few puppetry shows on my list this year, and that’s for a very good reason – it works really well for young audiences. Puppetry can bring animals and magical creatures to life in a way that little ones find fascinating, even if that animal is a very grumpy, ginger cat like in Lori Hopkins’ Sourpuss.

When shut out of the house he feels lost and confused, but the beautiful garden soon intrigues him. Watch Sourpuss on his journey of discovery and enjoy learning the secrets of the great outdoors. From buzzing bees to a chirpy robin, stinky rubbish and vibrant flowers this visual show is a feast for little eyes.

Kite – Warwick Arts Centre

Monday 18 – Tuesday 19 February
Performance times: 2.30pm, 7pm.
For ages 7+
Tickets from £10

A recently orphaned girl discovers a kite which comes to life and takes her on a wild adventure. Little does she know that Grandma has her own brand of magic and the wind will bring them together in ways they never would have imagined.

Inspired by the world of indoor-kite flying Kite is a play without words, with original music, dance, puppetry and, of course, kites. I love the idea of a show without words for older children, and I hope this production delivers the visual excitement it promises.

Cirque Berserk! – Birmingham REP

Tuesday 19 – Saturday 24 February
Performance times: 7.30pm Tues – Sat, 5pm Wed – Sat, 2pm Thu – Sun.
For ages 5+
Tickets from £15 

A trip to the circus is very much in vogue at the moment with the likes of The Greatest Showman capturing the imagination of the nation, and Cirque Berserk! looks set to deliver a treat if you and your family are looking for a high-adrenaline adventure this month. With over thirty performers, including jugglers, acrobats, aerialists, dancers, drummers, and daredevil stuntmen, this sounds like a feast for the eyes and the ears, if your stomach can handle the danger tension!

WOW! It’s Night-time – Midlands Arts Centre

Wednesday 20 – Thursday 21 February
Performance Times: 11am, 2pm
For ages: 2 – 5 years
Tickets from £9

The curious little owl is back, and this time she’s ready to discover the wonders of night-time, from the big, bright moon to the bats in the sky and the foxes deep in the forest. But where are all the other owls? When the wind blows the leaves from her tree, you’ll soon see…

We’re big fans of Little Angel Theatre productions, so it’s always a special treat for me when they come to town. Their past shows at Midlands Art Centre of Me… and Sleepyhead have been real highlights in the last couple of years so I’d always recommend their productions highly. WOW! It’s Night-time looks like a great introduction to theatre for any families wanting to visit for the first time. You’ll be in great safe hands.

Mimi and the Mountain Dragon – Artrix

Thursday 21 February
Performance time: 2pm
For ages 3+
Tickets from £10

One snowy morning Mimi discovers something extraordinary- a baby dragon sleeping in her woodshed! The little creature is lost and frightened but how did he get there and what happens when his mother comes looking for him.

Michael Morpurgo is no stranger to the stage (in fact, I have a little anecdote about him using a white scarf of mine to wrap around a soldier’s helmet for a prop when I worked with him on an education project at the RSC), and his books have delighted audiences in their stage versions for many years now, with Mimi and the Mountain Dragon looking set to be no exception. It’s worth noting that this performance is a stage rather than studio show – which is worth bearing in mind if your little ones like mine are always a bit more engaged in an intimate studio space rather than in raked seating.

Little Gift – Birmingham REP

Press Image from Little Gift Theatre show for children a man standing in front of lots of suitcases
Credit: Lewis Wileman

Thursday 21 – Saturday 23 February
Performance times: 2pm Thu, 11.30am and 2pm Fri and Sat
For ages 3 – 7
Tickets from £10

I am particularly excited about Little Gift – it sounds like just my kind of theatre production, full of charm and personality. I’ve been hearing great things about the tour and would pick this out as my top choice for families this February.

Having seen first hand this performer at work (during a few National Youth Theatre projects I was involved with once upon a time), I just know this is going to be one of those shows that will feel like a big warm hug. Definitely not one to miss.

An old soul lives alone.  He likes it that way. It’s quieter and safer.  But one day, a surprise visitor plants a little seed of hope and turns this lonely life upside down.

The Cat in the Hat – Birmingham REP

Cat in the Hat production at the Birmingham REP

Tuesday 26 February – Sunday 3 March
Performance times: 6.30pm Tue, 1.30pm Weds, 10am Thu, 10am and 1.30pm Fri, 10am, 1.30pm and 5pm Sat, 3pm Sun. 
For ages 4+
Tickets from £15

All of Dr. Seuss’ books have a performative quality to them. The words trip off the tongue with electricity and fun which makes them wonderful challenges to stage. The Cat in the Hat looks like a riot of colour and vibrancy, and is sure to have little audience members enthralled. Co-produced by the Curve and Rose Kingston Theatre, in collaboration with the National Centre for Circus Arts, this sounds like an energetic and physically mesmerising performance.

Spoiled for Choice

What did I tell you? We are certainly spoiled for choice at this time of year. If you’ve got particularly little ones, and you don’t feel any of these particularly hit the nail on the head, there are always the Cinema Bambino events at Midlands Art Centre – this month its on 15 February and is Fantastic Beasts – Crimes of Grindelwald! I had great fun taking Pickle along to those whilst on maternity leave.

Baby outside mac birmingham Cannon Hill Park

If you’re a working parent this half term, Midlands Art Centre also have a brilliant range of children’s courses for those of school age, and offer an Extra Hours package to turn some of them into a full day of childcare at a pretty reasonable cost. Definitely worth looking into if you’re struggling for childcare arrangements this month, or even if you just need a well deserved day’s break.

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