Arts Aloud: 5 family-friendly highlights for January 2015

If the impending doom of Monday morning’s school-run is starting to ruin the precious few days that you have left with the family this Christmas, set yourself to planning mode!

January is packed with family-friendly exhibitions and events in London, and best of all, some of them are absolutely free. Perfect for those of you that had too many well-behaved children to reward this Christmas.

Here is what I’ll be up this month:

1. Adventures of the Black Square: Abstract Art and Society 1915 – 2015, Whitechapel Gallery 

Admission £13.50 (including Gift Aid donation) £11.95 (without Gift Aid)

From 15th January expect a whole lot of “mummy what’s that?” as the Whitechapel Gallery pays host to a major new exhibition tracing the history of Abstract art from 1915 to today. Promising over 100 works including paintings, sculptures, film and photographs by modern masters and contemporary artists such as Carl Andre and Aleksandr Rodchenko, the admission sounds well worth it, even if the little ones struggle to make it beyond Gallery 1.

Nearby: V&A Museum of Childhood provides the perfect space for kids to be kids, with usable rocking horses, an indoor sandpit, dolls’ houses and a life-size robot, plus a baby sensory area for the very young.

2. Variety Spectacular 2015, Hackney Children’s Theatre

Admission £5 or £16 for family of 4 (booking fee applies)

Every second month of the year, the eighteenth century St. John at Hackney Church is transformed into a family-friendly theatre by local theatre company Adrenalindance. This month’s must-see event is their annual Variety, which presents a crazy mix of circus, magic, mime and dance, plus lots of surprises. Suitable for all ages.

Nearby: Head to Victoria Park, one of London’s oldest parks, home to two playgrounds, two cafes, a skatepark and a superb splash park (summer only).

3. The Great Londoners, Hoxton Hotel, Holborn

Admission free

Last chance to see Nicholas Goodden’s street photography exhibition which captures the quirks and diversity of Londoners in all their glory, going about their daily life.

Nearby: Coram’s Fields is a unique Central London playground and park, including two large sandpits, an adventure play area with aerial slide and a paddling pool in the summer months.

4. Mapping The City, Somerset House (New Wing)

Admission free

Showcasing a range of work from established and emerging artists, Mapping The City represents the intimate and unique relationship that graffiti and street artists have with their home cities, through their own cartographic representations, ranging from literal to  the highly abstract.

Nearby: Head to Covent Garden Piazza to soak up the free entertainment, everything from street performers to free lunchtime opera.

5. Cirkus Spectakular, Half Moon Theatre

Admission £6

Completely unrelated to the Hackney event with a similar name, this one-off magical theatrical production by Angel Heart Puppet Theatre brings together the colours and sounds of Eastern Europe to tell the touching story of Pavlo and his quest to feel like he ‘belongs’.  Recommended age: 4+.

Nearby: Stepney City Farm gives children a chance to meet a range of farm animals  as well as hosting other events and activities from learning to grow food, to arts and crafts.

Don’t forget, if you’ve seen something interesting on in January and you aren’t brave enough to go it alone, get in touch. I’m happy to do a test run and report back for you.

Happy New Year!

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