A festival of theatre for all the family

The Cat in the Hat leaps intol action later this monthThe Cat in the Hat leaps into action later this month
The Cat in the Hat leaps intol action later this monthThe Cat in the Hat leaps into action later this month

The Belgrade Theatre will be showcasing some of the best new work for young people as part of the October Festival of Theatre for Children and Young People.

Running from Monday until the end of the month, this two week festival has been established to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Theatre in Education (which began at the Belgrade Theatre in 1965 and comprises of some of the best professional theatre for children and young people, made by companies across the UK.

Opening the festival, all-male theatre company Propeller return to the Belgrade on Monday with Pocket Merchant, a condensed version of their critically acclaimed 2009 production, bringing one of Shakespeare’s darkest plays to life.

This will be followed by a visit from Theatre Centre from Monday until Wednesday with Rise Up, a powerful and provocative new play by Lisa Evans telling the story of America’s ‘Freedom Riders’ who set about peacefully challenging the racism of America’s deep south during the 1960s.

Developed in partnership with Essex police, The Hate Play is an interactive performance portraying the devastating impact of victimisation and hate crime on a group of young friends. Running in B2 from October 22 to 24, the drama is produced by Box Clever Theatre - an award-winning, writer-led theatre company dedicated to the creation of contemporary theatre for young people.

Storytelling, comedy and songs combine to create a magical and mystical story for audiences of all ages on October 23 and 24 in The Snow Dragon, an all-new adventure from esteemed children’s theatre company Tall Stories, whose previous credits include The Gruffalo and Room on the Broom.

This will be followed by a visit from Marty MacDonald’s Farm from October 26 to 28. Directed by Tweenies creator Iain Lauchlan, this all new interactive adventure presented by Martin Parsons (Playdays Live, Sooty’s Magic Castle) and Kate Ashmead (Tweenies, Thomas & Friends Live) features children’s TV favourites Justin Fletcher MBE (Mr Tumble, Justin’s House, Something Special) as the Voice of Pongo the Pig, and Nicole Davis (Topsy & Tim, Chuggington) as the Voice of Molly-Moo the Cow.

Specially adapted for children on the autistic spectrum and with additional learning needs, Light Show is a fully immersive experience in which participants are taken on a multi-sensory journey of textures, smells and tactile experiences, all accompanied by enchanting live music from a virtuoso double bass player. Running in B2 for four performances on October 27 and 28, this magical new theatre show for ages three to 11 comes in two versions: for children with profound learning disabilities on Tuesday and for those on the autism spectrum on Wednesday.

Mischief and mayhem combine in a brand new stage adaptation of The Cat In The Hat from October 29 to 31 on the Belgrade Main Stage. Based on the much-loved book by Dr Seuss, this lively and inventive new stage show is the perfect first theatre experience for children aged three and over.

Completing the programme, I Wish I Had A Moustache will visit B2 on October 30 and 31. Written and performed by Young Identity’s Keisha Thompson, this comedic and, at times disturbing exploration of beauty, gender anxieties and the taboo of body hair asks some important questions of how we define and value ourselves and is suitable for ages 12+

For tickets, call the Belgrade on 024 7655 3055 or see www.belgrade.co.uk