The 15th Belfast Children’s Festival

20130131-144946.jpgFor 15 years, the Belfast Children’s Festival has been putting the magic into March and this year will be no different. At this mornings launch in the Cathedral Quarter, the full programme was revealed with lots of great things happening.

Young at Art presented the Belfast Children’s Festival which runs from 8–15 March 2013. The festival is a week-long dose of unforgettable fun and creative magical experiences for children aged 0–14, their families, schools and groups.

Jam-packed full of storytelling, arts activities, music, theatre and dance for children, planning your Festival experience is the perfect antidote to the long cold days of January and February. Parents will be pleased to learn that as well as an array of exciting and inspiring ticketed events from local, national and international companies, there are a variety of free experiences to be enjoyed by children of all ages. Organisers Young at Art are urging people to waste no time in going online to view the Festival programme and get tickets booked to avoid the disappointment factor.

Ali FitzGibbon, Director of Young at Art says:

“The 2013 festival is a really magical programme that offers something for all children from very young babies through to teenagers. We are thrilled to have performances and events taking place from some of the finest artists working in Northern Ireland today as well as an international line-up of top work from countries including The Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium and Finland.

We guarantee fun, laughter and magical thrills for all children who come along to the Festival. The great by-product to attending are the educational, social and personal benefits that kids will pick up along the way with their creativity being tapped in to as they watch amazing live children’s theatre performances or get stuck in to one of our many art workshops.”

This year’s Belfast Children’s Festival may be the first time some children step into a theatre, museum or gallery and that really excites us. Viewed by many as serious and sometimes somber places, these spaces are opening their doors to families to reveal some surprisingly exciting and entertaining experiences.”

Some of the 2013 Festival highlights include the gigantic inflatable Space Pups installation on the ceiling at the Ulster Museum and musician and composer Brian Irvine’s international hit Melonhead. The ever-popular Baby Rave returns, alongside a brand new musical adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Little Red Riding Hood. There are workshops on writing stories and illustration, plus plenty of free activities including games, balloon modelling, badge making and a magic show!

Other highlights include:

International Programme: In 1998, Belfast Children’s Festival was established as the first international arts festival for children and young people in Northern Ireland. Fifteen years on, it brings some of the best live events from around the world directly to children in Northern Ireland and 2013 sees dance and theatre productions being staged by European companies offering an excellent introduction to world culture and beautifully crafted performances made for children.

Northern Ireland Showcase: A special theatre programme delivered in association with Theatre for Young Audiences NI presents a wealth of original theatre and dance created for children throughout Ireland and Northern Ireland. Award-winning companies taking part include Replay, Cahoots NI, Assault Events and Branar.

Visual Arts programme: A special focus this year has been given to encouraging children to visit the city’s galleries with a range of existing exhibitions and special festival commissions. Participating galleries include Ulster Museum, Belfast Exposed, Catalyst Arts, Platform Arts, Digital Arts Studios, The MAC.

Open House: A free creative open space with drop-in art workshops and storytelling in both English and Irish located in University of Ulster Belfast Campus.

Carál Ni Chuilín, Culture Minister says: “Since 1998 Young at Art have pioneered the way in bringing high quality arts and entertainment to children and young people in the north. Arts performances and activities have always provided the key to unlocking untapped creativity and curiosity in children, breaking down barriers and providing an outlet for young imaginations.

“Throughout the year Young at Art are committed to providing access to the arts by delivering outstanding education and outreach programmes. This is a wonderful example of how arts events designed for children have multiple benefits including supporting education, cultural ownership and access, creativity and also promoting family activities and shared space.

Bob Collins, Chairman of Arts Council Northern Ireland says:

“The Belfast Children’s Festival continues to introduce a generation of children to the very best professional, local and international arts. For many children and families, the festival is their first experience of live arts. The Arts Council funds this fabulous event because we know the arts are a means of improving quality of life for children and young people, enhancing learning and the exploration of personal and social identity as they grow. This year’s festival includes arts for all tastes and budgets and I congratulate Young at Art for another captivating programme of events, a must-see for all families. ”

The full programme was launched today with tickets on sale at or by calling the Box Office on 028 9024 3042.

The Belfast Children’s Festival: Friday 8 March – Friday 16 March 2013. Many ticket prices are £6 or lower, with discounted tickets available for schools and groups. To find out more about festival events and to book tickets visit the website


Post Author: Belfast Times

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