Thursday, February 06, 2014

Music, stories, art ... and most of all, imagination ... Belfast Children’s Festival 7-14 March #BCF14

This time next month the 16th annual Belfast Children’s Festival will be starting. This year Young At Art’s festival base in a vacant unit just inside the front door of Castle Court shopping centre. (There can be no allegations that the festival is elitist!)

Branded as The Office of Important Art, the unit will host storytelling, creative play, and some festival events. Open 11am-5pm daily; 2pm-5pm on Sunday and 11am-8pm on Thursday. You may also find it open intermittently in the weeks before and the months after the festival.

Last week’s festival launch gave a taste of things to come with festival staff and even the Lord Mayor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir sporting outlandish and colourful hairdos and accessories. The Catalan beauty salon Sienta La Cabeza will be back on Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 March in Castle Court offering children a once-in-a-lifetime hairstyle. (While he kept his eccentric barnet for the rest of the day, the Lord Mayor can vouch for the fact it comes out with a single wash.)

Some highlights from the programme

A Boy and His Box in The Lyric on Sunday 9, Monday 10 and Tuesday 11 March. The story of a boy, his box and his vivid imagination. Live drawing, projection, quirky tunes and imagination triggered by the stroke of a pen. Age 4-8. Tickets £6, or £20 family. After the festival, Replay Theatre Company will be touring the show through Armagh, Limavady, Dun Laoghaire, Sligo, Newbridge, Downpatrick and Strabane.

A Mano (By Hand) in the MAC Upstairs on Friday 7, Saturday 8, Sunday 9 and Monday 10 March. A story told with clay through a small character who wants to escape from a shop window and its inhabitants. Four hands, two people, and a love story. Age 6+. Tickets £6, or £20 family.

Bang! in the Baby Grand on Saturday 8, Sunday 9 and Monday 10 March. Compagnie Volpinex produce a Western film in front of the audience with Mexican bank robber El Bandido being pursued across the desert by Sheriff Jacques Daniel, projecting it out live and creating all the sound effects. Age 8+. Tickets £6, £20 family.

The Ice Child in The Lyric on Wednesday 12 March. The fairies stole the baby and left the Ice Child in its place, lost in a world that doesn’t understand and doesn’t welcome him. You can’t hug or cuddle him or he’ll melt. A tale about growing up different. Aged 8+. Tickets £6, or £20 family.

Cracked in Baby Grand on Wesnesday 12 March. A whodunit live art installation. Examine the evidence. Form your conclusion. And cast your vote. Age 8+. Tickets £3.

Two free theatrical previews in the Baby Grand on Wednesday 12 March at 2pm, with extracts from Liz Cullinane’s Playing Adults exploring how adults hold onto childhood, and Rubbish by Jude Quinn combining imagination with the truism that one man’s trash is another’s treasure. Free, but booking required.

Instant Orchestra in The Lyric on Friday 14 March. Quickly master the art of playing the Indonesiam tuned bamboo – the angklung – and join the orchestra. All ages. Tickets £6, or £20 family.

Big Ears: Sonic Art for Public Ears in the QUB Sonic Arts Research Centre (SARC) on Sunday 9 March. An all day exploration of music, sound and technology with industry facilitators in an amazing sound design space. Age 11-14. Tickets £10.

And the Baby Rave’s back Bollywood style in the Waterfront on Sunday 9 March. Tiny tots and their parents grooving to the beat along with sensory toys, parachutes and projections. Age 0-4. Tickets £5.

And lots, lots more … see their online programme for more details.

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