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Families brace themselves for dance festival ; EGDAILYThe kids are all right in Nottingham for the next couple of weeks as Lakeside Arts Centre's...

May 23, 2013


Families brace themselves for dance festival ; EGDAILYThe kids are all right in Nottingham for the next couple of weeks as Lakeside Arts Centre's annual children's theatre and dance festival Wheee! returns. Oonagh Robinson finds out what's happening

IT'S become the big event children throughout Notts look forward to every year - and this year's Wheee! festival is set to be bigger and brighter than ever. The International Children's Theatre and Dance Festival is now in its ninth year at the University of Nottingham's Lakeside Arts Centre, with a host of brilliant new shows for even the tiniest youngsters and their families.

Visitors can look forward to world class performances in music, dance, puppetry and storytelling during the extravaganza, which runs from Saturday until June 2. Anticipation is certainly building for this year's festival, says Shona Powell, director at Lakeside. The event is becoming more and more popular as each year goes by and this year we have a fantastic range of performances to keep childre1n and their families entertained.

The true international flavour of the festival will continue as we welcome the Mass theatre and dance company from the Netherlands which will present Wanted: Rabbit.

This is a hilarious, slapstick comedy performance which tells the story of three police officers who are looking for a rabbit that has escaped from prison.

Another highlight is Cloud Man from the Allie Cohen Puppet Maker company. This is a magical, heart-warming tale told with puppets which youngsters are sure to enjoy.

Also returning this year will be Architects of Air with their latest incredible luminarium - made up of giant inflatable structures perfect for children to explore, adds Shona.

She says: The festival wouldn't be the same without their presence and I'm sure the latest creation will enchant and amaze everyone.

Performances at Wheee! include: A Right Load of Old Stuff and Nonsense May 25-July 7. An exhibition of puppets and machines built by Marc Parrett at the Warner Gallery which runs throughout the festival and beyond. Free Wanted: Rabbit May 27, 1.30pm, 3.30pm. May 28, 11am, 1.30pm, 3.30pm. Presented by Mass theatre and dance, this slapstick comedy features three police officers looking for a rabbit that's escaped from prison. Suitable for 2-5 years. Tickets Pounds 7 Paperbelle May 29, 11am, 1.30pm, 3.30pm. May 30, 11am. Presented by Frozen Charlotte in the Djanogly Theatre, this delightfully gentle performance explores colour in a magical world of paper. Ideal for toddlers.

Tickets Pounds 7 The Man Who Planted Trees May 31, 1.30pm. A touching tale by Puppet State Theatre about a shepherd who plants a forest, acorn by acorn, showing the difference one man (and his puppet dog) can make. Suitable for everyone aged 7+ years. Tickets Pounds 7 Family Fun in the Park June 1 and 2, noon-5pm. Head to Highfields Park for a fun-packed weekend with make and do activities, workshops and performances - all free of charge.

Architects of Air May 27-June 2, times vary. The latest, amazing luminarium at Highfields Park will take you to another world of wonderful colour and spectacle. Entrance Pounds 3 (15 minute visit at peak times) Cloud Man June 1, 3.30pm. June 2, 1.30pm and 3.30pm. Presented by Allie Cohen Puppet Maker, this magical tale told features a number of tricky clues, which will take you to the top of Cloud Mountain. Suitable for 4-7 years. Tickets Pounds 7 Slapdash Gallery July 2, 6pm. This Wheee! extra event presented by Bunk Puppets and Scamp Theatre tells the story of two brothers who must flee their war-torn planet and embark on an epic journey across the galaxy - featuring a 3D finale. Suitable for ages 7+ years.

For more information and tickets, call 0115 846 7777 or visit

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