Theatre Royal invites kids to host of summer events

Barmy Britain – Credit Mark Douet

The Theatre Royal has announced an exciting programme of performances and activities for children and teenagers to get involved with over the summer months.

Fans of the gruesome and gory will revel in the nasty bits of British history when a stage adaptation of Terry Deary’s internationally best-selling children’s book series, Horrible Histories takes to the stage from Saturday 1 – Sunday 2 June. Two actors perform every role in this production, A Brand New Barmy Britain – including wicked kings and queens. On Tuesday 25 June, Shakespearean classic, A Midsummer Night’s Dream is given a modern makeover when theatre company, Oddsocks Productions, performs this well-known play about four young lovers who escape to the woods to be played tricks on by mischievous fairies. Bold sets, circus skills, an easy-to-follow story, fun characters and participation make this perfect for families. While, from Friday 28 – Saturday 29 June, younger audiences will learn a lesson in loving yourself when Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fable, The Ugly Duckling, is re-imagined in the heart-warming Honk! A Family Musical. Winner of Best New Musical, imaginative puppets, magic and water-guns help tell the enchanting story.

On Thursday 27 and Saturday 29 June, from 10am – 12noon, under 5s and their grown-ups can visit the theatre to make wands and crowns to bring with them to the Hat Fair Carnival, at 12noon on Friday 5 July. This year Hat Fair – the longest running festival of Outdoor Arts and completely free – runs from Friday 5 – Sunday 7 July. Three packed days of theatre, dance and circus-inspired acts in Winchester, it’s perfect for audiences of all ages.

Then from Monday 29 July – Saturday 3 August, budding young performers, aged 8 – 16 years – who think they’re as mad as a Hatter or mysterious as The Cheshire Cat – can take part in the Summer Youth Theatre Musical. Rehearsing across the week, they will learn new skills to prepare them to perform in their very own production of Alice in Wonderland, which they will perform to friends and family on Theatre Royal Winchester’s stage on the Saturday afternoon. While 12 – 18 year olds interested in what goes on behind-the-scenes – including theatre lighting, sound or stage management – can spend a week with the theatre’s technical team to learn how to rig, use a lighting desk and create a set for the show. For information contact participation@theatreroyalwinchester.co.uk

Winchester teenager, Mollie Shaw-Downie, is set to impress with a world-renowned touring ballet company when Ballet Central heads to the theatre on Tuesday 4 June; while pupils of local city theatre school, Stagecoach Winchester, have announced they will perform alongside the stars of the legendary musical, Les Miserables, when The Barricade Boys take to the stage on Friday 7 June.

Finally, families wanting to learn more about the theatre can go backstage – to see the dressing rooms, explore the stage and technical areas – by booking on a tour on Saturday 15 June.

For more information, or to book tickets for shows and activities, visit www.theatreroyalwinchester.co.uk, or www.hatfair.co.uk, or call the Box Office on 01962 840 440.