Things to do in February half-term at Imagine Children’s Festival

Friday, January 17, 2020 - 11:58

Yep, February half-term really is looming on the horizon. You’ve only just got through the Christmas holidays and now you have to find ways to entertain the little mites all over again. Thankfully we’ve plenty to do here at Southbank Centre, as our annual Imagine Children’s Festival takes over our venues for the week, with performances, workshops, storytelling, music and more.

multiple times daily | Royal Festival Hall exhibition space


Have you ever wondered what sound feels like? Or what music looks like? Di Mainstone’s interactive installation enables you to find out through creative play for all ages. Play in giant sandpits, illuminated by beautiful graphics, creating music with your own movements.

more info & tickets

The set of The Very Hungry Caterpillar
12-14 February | Purcell Room

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show

Eric Carle’s much loved story about a particularly peckish insect comes to life in a show featuring a menagerie of 75 loveable puppets. This critically acclaimed production faithfully adapts four of Carle’s stories: Brown Bear, 10 Little Rubber Ducks, The Very Lonely Firefly and of course, the star of the show, The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

more info & tickets

Zookeeper hodling a dinosaur
15-21 December | Queen Elizabeth Hall

Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo

Finally, child-friendly dinosaurs that aren’t bright purple and barraging us with catchy songs. Instead, Erth’s dinosaurs are live, in motion, and mostly pretty friendly. This spectacular show for your budding paleontologists uses the interactive creatures as a way to discover more about dinosaurs and the period in which they existed here on earth.

more info & tickets

15-18 February | Purcell Room


Critically acclaimed cabaret star Le Gateau Chocolat breaks out of his shell (much as he was ever in one) to deliver this, his first work for children. A glitzy and glamorous reimagining of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Ugly Duckling, Duckie takes you on a journey through the animal circus and asks questions about the happy ever after.

more info & tickets

Ron Weasley, Harry Potter and Hermione Granger
17 February | Queen Elizabeth Hall

Celebrating the Harry Potter Books

Broomsticks at the ready. It’s time for a family-friendly journey through JK Rowling’s much-loved Harry Potter series. Join Fleurble Laffalot for fun facts in this funny, silly event for anyone who would love to explore the magical world of Harry Potter beyond the books.

more info & tickets

Dermot O'Leary and Toto the Ninja Cat
20 February | Queen Elizabeth Hall

Dermot O'Leary & Nick East: Toto the Ninja Cat

Yep, that Dermot O’Leary. The one off X-Factor and BBC Radio 2. O’Leary joins us to read the third book in his animal escapade series, which sees Toto the Ninja Cat take a well-earned holiday from keeping London’s streets safe. But a ninja cat can never truly relax, and Toto is soon called on to save the day once again.

more info & tickets

Konnie Huq, presenter
22 February | Purcell Room

Science, Explosions and Scribbling with Konnie Huq

Author, broadcaster and everyone’s favourite Blue Peter presenter, Konnie Huq (sorry, Peter Purves fans) brings live draw-a-longs, quizzes and games galore as she introduces you to the world of Cookie. A funny, science-obsessed young woman, Cookie is inspired by Huq's own childhood, her love of science and her unashamed nerdiness.

more info & tickets

Sam and Mark, kids' TV presenters
22 February | Queen Elizabeth Hall

Sam and Marks’ On the Road Show

Good luck calming the kids down after this one. BAFTA-winning stars of children’s television Sam and Mark bring frenetic sketches, jokes, games and gags for the whole family in this fantastic live show.

more info & tickets

A collage of old photographs and envelopes
23 February | Queen Elizabeth Hall

Michael Rosen: The Missing

The beloved children’s author and poet, Michael Rosen, shares the true story of his search for his relatives who ‘went missing’ during the Second World War. In this personal story Rosen balances poems old and new for his extraordinary account, and in doing so opens up a powerful way of talking to children about the Holocaust.

more info & tickets

Magical music making

YolanDA's Band Jam

For lovers of all things musical we’ve a number of events to get you moving. YolanDa’s Band Jam (21 Feb) sees award-winning musician and CBeebies star YolanDa Brown and her Bandjamals perform their first ever live concert. And the Aurora Orchestra and award-winning poet Kate Wakeling join together for storytelling concert, Chopin and the Dragonfly Who Brought the Spring (19-20 Feb).

We also have children-centred concerts from renowned orchestras. In Musical Roots (22 Feb) the BBC Concert Orchestra take you on a musical adventure through the history of classical music, whilst Repeating Patterns (23 Feb) sees the London Sinfonietta introduce the world of minimalist music.

YolanDa’s Band Jam
Chopin and the Dragonfly Who Brought the Spring
Musical Roots
Repeating Patterns


It’s show-time


Everyone loves a show right? Well we’ve a further five for the kids to enjoy during Imagine Children's Festival. SLIME (15-16 Feb) is a hilarious, surreal show about a slug and a caterpillar and the sticky pursuit of a leaf. Whilst, the less slimy, but similarly playful family show Same Same… But Different (23 Feb) explores difference and belonging.

Same Same… But Different

In The Curious Scrapbook of Josephine Bean (17-19 Feb) a scrapbook slowly becomes a window into a secret world, and Stella (19-20 Feb) follows the woman in the moon as she tries to reclaim the night. Plus there’s the opportunity to enjoy a playful performance that celebrates the 75th birthday of 'the strongest girl in the world' as you Meet Astrid Lindgren's Pippi Longstocking (23 Feb).

The Curious Scrapbook of Josephine Bean
Meet Astrid Lindgren's Pippi Longstocking


Settle in for a story

Africa, Amazing Africa with Atinuke

Are you sitting comfortably? We’ve a host of live story readings here throughout Imagine Children’s Festival, starting with a terrific trio on Saturday 15 February. Hear about the hero who’s always there for you when the chips are down with Sue Hendrick & Paul Linnett: The Amazing Supertato. Meet hilarious, science-mad chatterbox and would-be space-traveller, Rocket at Nathan Bryon & Dapo Adeola: Look Up! And settle in for a fable for our times about coming together, and the power of friendship, tolerance and cooperation with Smriti Prasadam-Halls & Robert Starling: The Little Island.

Sue Hendrick & Paul Linnet: The Amazing Supertato
Nathan Bryon & Dapo Adeola: Look Up!
Smriti Prasadam-Halls & Robert Starling: The Little Island

And the stories don’t stop there; find out what makes a great detective with Robin Stevens: Top Marks for Murder (18 Feb), or become a pirate for the day with the aid of Jennie Poh: The Pirate Tree (19 Feb). Join Hannah Lee to go on an adventure through family and community via hairstyles at My Hair (20 Feb), or enjoy an epic adventure through the solar system with Dr Maggie’s Grand Tour of the Solar System (22 Feb). And Africa, Amazing Africa with Atinuke (21 Feb) enables you to enjoy stories from Africa full of colourful facts with wonderful storyteller Atinuke.

Robin Stevens: Top Marks for Murder
Jennie Poh: The Pirate Tree
Hannah Lee: My Hair
Dr Maggie’s Grand Tour of the Solar System
Africa, Amazing Africa with Atinuke 


Make something memorable

The Mighty Kids Comedy Beatbox Show

If your little ones are the type to want to be involved, we’ve plenty for them, including the opportunity to learn beatboxing tips at The Mighty Kids Beatbox Comedy Show (21 Feb). Author and suffragette descendant Kate Pankhurst leads, Fantastically Great Women Who Saved the Planet (17 Feb), an inspirational workshop of drawing and dress up. And Children’s Book Prize-winning author Sita Brahmachari invites children to create their own environmental pledge; Where the River Runs Gold (18 Feb).

The Mighty Kids Beatbox Comedy Show
Fantastically Great Women Who Saved the Planet
Sita Brahmachari: Where the River Runs Gold

Do your kids love creating stories? Get them inspired by successful children’s authors, including the Children’s Laureate at Creating Magical Ideas: Cressida Cowell & Friends (17 Feb) and Cerrie Burnell & Friends: A Story of Your Own (21 Feb). If art and illustration are what float your children’s respective boats then they’ve the opportunity to create recycled paper birds at Migrations Paper Birds with Jane Ray (21 Feb), or pen illustrations on a nautical theme with Anet Schaap at Sea the World of Illustration (18-19 Feb).

Creating Magical Ideas: Cressida Cowell & Friends
Cerrie Burnell & Friends: A Story of Your Own
Migrations Paper Birds with Jane Ray
Sea the World of Illustration


Pause for poetry

Poems from a Green and Blue Planet

On Monday 17 February, the National Poetry Library hosts a trio of events exploring poetry and the environment. Martin Kiszko asks if poetry can turn you green in Poetry for the Planet, before joining fellow poets Ed Boxall, Carole Bromley to share planet-friendly poems in Poems go Green. And Sabrina Mahfouz introduces her new anthology at Sabrina Mahfouz: Poems from a Green and Blue Planet, which features poems from the past and present that look closely at our extraordinary surroundings. The verse doesn’t end there however. On 18 and 19 February join Edward van de Vendel for Playground of Poems, as a reading of his playful poems is followed by a poetry workshop.

Poetry for the Planet
Poems go Green
Poems from a Green and Blue Planet
Playground of Poems



Imagine Children’s Festival takes place across Southbank Centre, 12 - 23 February with all these events plus many more including a great number of free activities.

see the full programme