Still to come in May for art-loving families…

May is awash with family-friendly arts festivals; from Udderbelly and London Wonderground, to Brighton Fringe and Dulwich Festival. There’s even another instalment of street art in my local manor of Brockley. Beyond all that’s on offer, however, I bet you had’t even realised that 3 big-hitting treats for art-loving families are due to land before May is out:

1. Brand new Yayoi Kusama at Victoria Miro
The idea for Arts Aloud was born in Kusama’s Obliteration Room at Tate Modern in 2012, meaning this lady’s work will forever hold a very special place in my heart. Promising new paintings with multiplying dots, new infinity mirror rooms and even new pumpkin sculptures, this summer showcase is set to be the artist’s most extensive exhibition at this venue.
Yayoi Kusama at Victoria Miro, 25th May to 30th July
16 Wharf Road, London N1 7RW and 14 St George Street, London W1S 1FE
Admission £TBC

2. The arrival of Goosebumps Kids
Last month Goosebumps Alive arrived at The Vaults in Waterloo, bringing with it live burials, ghost stories and monsters galore. Having been granted permission to create this immersive theatrical world from the book series by R.L Stine, it made sense for the organisers to produce a watered down version in order to scare our kids (and their parents) half witless. The show is designed to be much more lighthearted fun, but is still pitched at 5-11 year olds, requires parental supervision and will not be admitting any younger siblings. It might be an idea to take more than one spare pair of pants 😎
Goosebumps Kids at The Vaults, 15th May to 5th June
Launcelot Street, SE1 7AD
Admission £15 for both children and adults

3. Elytra Filament Pavilion launches V&A’s Engineering Season
Slightly stealing the Serpentine Pavilion’s thunder this summer, is a newly commissioned garden installation by experimental architect Achim Menges, working with Moritz Dörstelmann, structural engineer Jan Knippers and climate engineer Thomas Auer. The Elytra Filament Pavilion marks the start of the first ever Engineering Season at the V&A and will explore the impact of robotic technology on architectural design and engineering. The result should represent a canopy-like structure for visitors to walk beneath and is expected to grow and change according to the patterns of behaviour picked up in the garden by its real-time sensors (so ensure the kids are on their best). There will also be some rare opportunities to witness live construction.
Elytra Filament Pavilion at the V&A, 18th May to 6th November
John Madejski Garden, V&A, Cromwell Rd, London SW7 2RL
Admission Free


6 Puppetry picks from Brighton Fringe

Brighton Fringe kicks off this Friday, a month-long multi-art form festival promising 60 shows for families, from family cabaret and circus, to immersive theatre and improvised comedy, all perfectly placed to entertain grown ups and kids of all ages.

Having made a recent return visit to the Little Angel Theatre to review a fabulous adaptation of Michael Rosen’s We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, I was reminded how enchanting puppetry could be. For those with younger children, the pull of this magical world is so strong that the rods, the wires, even the puppeteers themselves remain invisible to a child’s imaginative eye.

This year’s Brighton Fringe has a plethora of puppetry productions for those keen to explore the art, here’s my picks:

The Biggest Marionette Circus in the World Part II
Pioneering circus without violence, Polish circus theatre company Teatr Klinika Lalek (or the Puppet Clinic Theatre) return to Brighton Fringe to amaze audiences with their giant life-sized elephant, giraffe and lion marionettes. These puppets are likely to be as much traffic-stoppers as show-stoppers as they promise to greet visitors outside the venue.
11th to 13th May, 16th to 20th May 4pm, 14th and 15th May 1pm, 2.30pm, 21st and 22nd May 10am, 12pm
The Warren: Main House, St Peter’s Church North, York Place, Brighton, BN1 4GU
£8, Family ticket £28, All ages

Flyaway Katie
No puppetry line-up would be complete without the ever-popular Long Nose Puppets. If you loved Shoe Baby, Penguin and Arthur’s Dream Boat, you’re sure to enjoy new show Flyaway Katie, a story of how far and high your own imagination can take you. Be prepared to add another catchy CD to your child’s collection, with songs penned once again by Gomez star and Brighton resident, Tom Gray.
14th and 15th May, 10am, 11.30am
The Warren: Main House, St Peter’s Church North, York Place, Brighton, BN1 4GU
£8, Age 3-7

Telling stories with a greater purpose using handcrafted puppets made from organic materials, independent theatre company Old Saw introduce a brand new puppetry show for children and adults, bringing to life a meadow in a post-human future, where only the grass remembers everything that used to live around and within it.
20th May 4pm, 21st and 22nd May, 30th and 31st May, 1 Jun 10.30am
The Warren: Theatre Box, St Peter’s Church North, York Place, Brighton, BN1 4GU
£8, Family ticket £28, Age 3-7

Boipuso and the Grumpy Green Giant
Dedicated to supporting young people find their way into arts careers, East London based Ladders Young Performers and Writers Club will be using puppets, percussion and participation to share the Botswana folk tale of Boipuso and the Grumpy Green Giant, amongst other stories. Visiting families can their try their hand at puppet making and animation with the help of workshops hosted by Touched Theatre.
28th May, 12:30pm 1.30pm
Friends’ Meeting House, Ship Street, BN1 1AF
Free, Age 3-7

Snooper Dog: A Hero is Born
Expect loads of audience interaction from this extravaganza of songs, music and magic as well as puppets! British puppet theatre company The Purple Teapot Company have devised a hilarious new adventure about what it takes to be a superhero, following Snoop’s sell-out run at last year’s Fringe.
30th May and 4th June, 12pm and 3pm
The Brunswick, 3 Holland Road, Hove, BN3 1JF
£7, Family ticket £22, All ages

Just Right
Inviting audience members to dress up as their favourite animals and get up-close to the characters, this musical puppet show by Go Kid Music provides a fresh take on the classic tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears; featuring one mean girl, three excellent bears and lashings of porridge!
2nd June, 11.45am, 1.30pn, 3pm
The Old Market, 11a Upper Market Street, Hove, BN3 1AS
£7, Age 3-10

Whilst you’re there: Yeah, right, you shouldn’t even need extra help, but if it happens to be rainy and cold Hove Museum and Art Gallery provides the perfect arts-inspired escape from the beach.

Brighton Fringe runs at various venues across Brighton and Hove from 6th May to 5th June.
See website for full programme of events and activities.