Your step-by-step guide on events for children in Norfolk and Suffolk this half-term
16:49 16 February 2014
What is it really half-term already? Yes, it seems like only yesterday they went back after Christmas, but schools are out again.
Fear not though as SIMON PARKIN has plenty of ideas for events and activities to keep the kids happy.
The Frog and the Princess
Norwich Puppet Theatre, February 15-17, 11am/2.30pm, £8.50 (£7 cons), , £6.50 children, £24 family, 01603 629921, www.puppettheatre.co.uk/Memorial Hall, Dereham, February 19, 11.30am/2pm, £8, £6 children, 01362 696995, www.derehammemorialhall.co.uk
A poignant re-telling of the Brothers Grimm featuring humorous puppetry exploring the meeting of cultures and what happens when a Princess deems a Frog unworthy of being her friend, just because of what he is. Dereham Memorial Hall also hosts this special half-term staging of the well loved Norwich Puppet Theatre production full of warmth and humour. It’s suitable for ages 4+.
Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo
Cambridge Corn Exchange, February 16-18, 11am/12.30pm, £15-£12.50, 01223 357851, www.cornex.co.uk
Dinosaur Zoo brings these prehistoric creatures to the stage as you’ve never seen before. Observe and interact with extraordinary life-like dinosaurs in this entertaining and highly imaginative live interactive show. From cute baby dinos to teeth-gnashing giants, meet the most recent addition to the Dinosaur Zoo, a carnivorous theropod known as the Australovenator, the most complete meat-eating dinosaur skeleton yet found in Australia. Watch wide-eyed from a safe distance or dare to get right up close.
Little Red Hen
New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich, February 17-18, 11am/2.30pm, £8.50 (£5 cons), £5 children, 01473 295900, www.wolseytheatre.co.uk
Making bread is hard work, but it would be a lot easier if the lazy farm yard animals lent a hand. An adaptation of the nursery favourite featuring a host of animal puppets, sing-along songs and madcap comic routines. From Stuff and Nonsense the company who charmed us with The Hare and the Tortoise, The Elves and the Shoemaker and The Enormous Turnip. It promises to be an enchanting twist on the early learning classic for everyone aged 3+ and their families.
Princess Theatre, Hunstanton, February 18, 2pm, £12.50, £8.50 children, 01485 532252, www.princesshunstanton.co.uk/Marina Theatre, Lowestoft, February 19, 2pm, £12, £10 children, £40 family, 01502 533200, www.marinatheatre.co.uk
Cbeebies favourite Sid will be live on stage in both Hunstanton and Lowestoft with his fantastic fun-filled live adventure. Sid will be setting out on a heroic quest to find out where in the world his favourite socks and shoes have go to - share in the adventure at the bottom of the sea, deep in the jungle or floating in outer space you’ll meet some funny characters and discover plenty of surprises along the way. It’s an interactive show crammed with games, songs, poems and magic. Perfect for families with children aged 3-7
Town Mouse, Country Mouse
Norwich Puppet Theatre, February 19, 11am/2.30pm, £8.50 (£7 cons), , £6.50 children, £24 family, 01603 629921, www.puppettheatre.co.uk
A tale of bravery and mousey derring-do as Hickory goes into the Big Wide World and meets Dickory the Town Mouse. With the help of the audience they subdue Doc, the predatory cat. This is a retelling of two Æsop’s Fables, Town Mouse and Country Mouse and Belling the Cat in one funny, musical and dramatic puppet play. Expect musical chickens and a guest appearance from The Man in the Moon!
Helen Keen’s Space Race!
Norwich Arts Centre, February 19, 2.30pm, £8 (£6 cons), £24 family, 01603 660352, www.norwichartscentre.co.uk
Award-winning comedian Helen Keen hosts a fun-packed, space-themed afternoon with drop-in activities and comedy theatre perfect for younger space fans (for ages 7–11). Featuring Helen’s trademark unique mix of fascinating facts and space-based silliness along with plenty of audience participation, come and join her for a joyful exploration of stargazing, space-racing and the boundless opportunities of an infinite universe – with shadow puppets. There will also be free space-themed drop-in activities, including making jam jar lava lamps and tin foil space outfits, from 1pm–4pm.
The Tim Bat Trick Show
Dickleburgh and Rushall Village Hall, February 19, 7pm, £5, £3 children, www.creativeartseast.co.uk/St Georges Theatre, Great Yarmouth, February 21, 2pm, £7, £25 family, 01493 331484, www.stgeorgestheatre.com
Tim Bat is a gentleman juggler and unwitting clown with an impressive repertoire with aplomb who never fails to thrill audiences. Now in its 15th year after being devised at the invitation of London’s South Bank Centre, this is a show full of top spinning, yo-yo taming, brolly twirling, food juggling, rope spinning, puppetry, music and audience participation. Egg Tim on to ever greater heights of silliness, but when the props get the upper hand, frantic hilarity ensues.
The Sooty Show
The Apex, Bury St Edmunds, February 19, 11am/2.30pm, £12 (£10 cons), £10 children, £38 family, 01284 758000, www.theapex.co.uk
Izzy Wizzy look who is back for half-term. Long-standing furry favourite Sooty returns in another fabulous new show. As ever he will be joined by Sweep, Soo and Richard Cadell who will be attempting to keep Sooty from getting up to mischief. Good luck with that. It’s Sooty’s Birthday party and things aren’t going to plan. Sooty and Sweep get messy baking the Birthday cake and will Soo ever decide which dress to wear? Special party guests include legendary Sooty favourites Butch the bulldog and Ramsbottom the snake. Join in the fun and games and there’s also a chance to meet Richard and Sooty after the show.
Dotty the Dragon
Norwich Playhouse, February 20-22, 11am/1.30pm, £10, 01603 598598, www.norwichplayhouse.co.uk
Aimed at families with smaller children, Blunderbus Theatre Company again stage their magical fairy tale adventure Dotty the Dragon, about a brave little dragon in a big scary world, to coincide with Norwich Dragon Festival. Dotty is a baby fire dragon. She lives at the top of a mountain with her grumpy dad, Mr Dragon. In the village below, everyone fears for their lives, for dragons eat children. Adapted for the stage by Bill Davies, with music and lyrics by Frank Goodhind, the Blunderbus style suits, with a blend of music, puppets and participation.
Sheringham, February 14-23, various times and venues, more details on 01263 823261
The Vikings invade Sheringham for this special festival that aims is to try and establish Sheringham as a centre of Viking history. It starts on February 15 with children’s workshops at The Lobster Pub including sword making, shield making, costume making, and other interesting events. The main festival is being held on February 22-23 with re-enactments, craft fares, street performances and more. It will finish with a torchlight procession on Feb 23 (5.30pm) followed by burning of a Viking long boat on the beach.
Sweyn Forkbeard Was Ere!/ Heroes of
Ancient House, Museum of Thetford Life, February 15-20, 10am-4pm, 01842 752599, www.museums.norfolk.gov.uk
Seek out Sweyn and his Viking horde and win a small prize on a family trail (£3 for 11 trails including admission or 50p per trail plus admission). Then on February 19 (10.30am-12.30pm) there will be a range of craft activities inspired by the Coats of Arms and heraldry of the Howard family tombs (£1, Museums Pass 50p).
Westacre Theatre, River Road, Westacre, February 17-19, 10am-3pm, £50 for three adys, 01760 755800, www.westacretheatre.com
Through storytelling, character creation and improvisation, these half-term drama sessions aimed at ages 9-11 will see participants making up plays and scenes featuring wild and wacky themes and locations. Using text, mime, music and much more these classes encourage imagination and aim to build self-confidence and theatre skills.
The Insect Circus
New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich, February 19-21, 7pm, 2pm Feb 21, £15-£5, 01473 295900, www.wolseytheatre.co.uk
Stroll Up! Stroll Up! The Insect Circus returns to the to present the epitome of entomological entertainments! Astounding arthropodic aerialists, balancing beetles and weird worms. They have a strongman, six-legged conjurers and even have a worm charmer.
The Mystery of the Missing Brooch
Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse, February 17-21, 10am-4pm, normal admission £9.30 (£8.30 cons), £6.30 children, under-4s free, 01362 860563, www.museums.norfolk.gov.uk
Gressenhall reopens with this special half-term event. Lady Hermione was visiting Gressenhall Workhouse to meet some deserving inmates when she lost her favourite brooch. Follow the clues, crack the code and search the workhouse. Can you work out the location of the missing item? Discover what other accessories a fashionable Victorian like Lady Hermione might wear and make your own badge to take home.
Norwich Castle Museum, February 17-22, 11am-12.30pm/1.30pm-2.30pm, normal admission £7 (£6 cons), £5.40 (17-25), £4.90 children, 01603 493625, www.museums.norfolk.gov.uk
Join artist Emma Jarvis to create and decorate a giant Roman maze in the Castle Keep. Then see if you can find your way round it!
Family Fun Day
The Garage, Chapelfield North, Norwich, February 17, 10.30am-3pm, details and booking on 01603 598646, www.thegarage.org.uk
The Garage throws open its doors for another fun filled family day packed with activities, performances and workshops for children and families. Pocket money competitions, free face painting free balloon modelling and rock’n’roll space adventure Blast Off! There will also be free 45 minute taster classes throughout the day in break dance, ballet, contemporary and more.
Aboriginal Big Draw
The Bank, Eye, Suffolk, February 17-21, free admission, 01379 873495, www.thebankeye.org
Throughout half-term week, Eye’s new arts centre is inviting adults and kids of all ages to contribute to a large scale collaborative drawing piece taking place in the upstairs gallery space, where the floor will be covered from wall to wall with paper. Take inspiration from the Aboriginal themes in the Australian artworks within the current Dreams & Imagination exhibition.
Monster Mammoths and Deadly Dinosaurs
Lynn Museum, King’s Lynn, February 18, 11am-2pm, £1.50, 01553 775001, www.museums.norfolk.gov.uk
Find out about the deadly creatures which roamed the earth millions of years ago. Handle real fossils and see a real mammoth’s tooth. Create your own mini mammoth and dinosaur to take home with you. No need to book.
Norwich Castle Museum, February 19, 1pm/2pm/3pm, normal admission £7 (£6 cons), £5.40 (17-25), £4.90 children, 01603 493625, www.museums.norfolk.gov.uk
The Common Lot Presents a truncated version of their recent hugely successful panto inspired by local history, Boudica: The Mini-Pantomime. Small but perfectly formed version that offer another chance to learn about Iceni’s stirring story. Suitable for all ages.
Family Clay Modelling
Blickling Hall, February 19-20, 1pm-2.30pm/3pm-4.30pm, £4 per child, 01263 738030, www.nationaltrust.org.uk
Last year Blickling made an interesting discovery - a shoe under the floorboards in one of the attic rooms. Put there many years ago to possibly keep away evil spirits. Here they offer the chance to create your own shoe from clay to take home and keep in your own house safe.
Thetford Library, Raymond Street, Thetford, February 20, free admission, 01842 753732, www.rspb.org.uk
Join the RSPB to find out more about the wildlife found in the Brecks. Ever wondered where you can see Kingfishers in Thetford or what a Wailing Heath Chicken is? Then pop along and find out. There will be free activities such as mask and dragonfly making.
Lighthouse, Cromer Road, Sheringham, February 21, 07919415554, www.sheringhambeachlife.co.uk
BeachLife, run by Sheringham churches, will be hosting a kids and young people’s beach party at February half term, but you will be glad to hear, it will all be indoors! Activities will include beach sports, games, competitions, craft activities and giant inflatables. Everyone is encouraged to wear beach gear! For primary age children (up to age 11) the party is from 2pm to 4.30pm. In the evening young people aged 11 to 18 will their own beach party from 7pm-9pm.
Wroxham Barns, Hoveton, from February 16, open daily 10am-5pm, admission to Junior Farm £5.75, under-2s free, 01603 783911, www.worxhambarns.co.uk
The spring lambs have arrived at Junior Farm at Wroxham Barns and there are daily indoor bottle-feeding sessions. The lambs will consume more than 5,000 litres of milk during the bottle-feeding season, so there is plenty of feeding to be done. There are lots of other activities too, from feeding guinea pigs, rabbits and pygmy goats, to taking part in pony grooming and collecting eggs at the hen house. The Piggy’s Play Sty playground, fun fair and mini-gold will also be open.
Family Wildlife Trial
RSPB Strumpshaw Fen, Low Road, Strumpshaw, February 15-23, 10.30am-3pm, normal reserve entry charges, 01603 715191, www.rspb.org.uk
Family free drop-in event to take part in a winter wildlife quiz trail. Follow the clues through the woods and look out for wildlife along the way.
Oxburgh Hall, Oxborough, February 15-17, 11am-12pm/2pm-3pm, free event normal admission prices, 01366 328258, www.nationaltrust.org.uk
Join the guided walks around the Oxburgh’s woodlands and take in the carpets of snowdrops, aconites and other Spring flowers. Depending on the weather, there may be a few snowdrops or many, but there is always plenty to see. The estate will be open to roam freely and trails are available for families.
Teddy Bear Express
Bure Valley Railway, Aylsham Station, Febrary 15-23, £12.50, children free (max two per adult), 01263 733858, www.bvrw.co.uk
Bure Valley Railway’s Mascot Bear will be stepping aboard for another week of fun. Trains operate from both Aylsham and Wroxham stations three times per day. A children’s competition to see how many teddy bears can be spotted on the train journey, a colouring corner and a decorated Whilstlestop Café add to this teddy bear themed event. No booking required. Don’t forget to take along your Teddy!
West Stow Anglo-Stow Village, West Stow, Bury St Edmunds, February 15-23, 10am-5pm (last entry 3.30pm), ticket details on 01284 728718, www.weststow.org
Explore the Anglo-Saxon Village and the Country Park in this JRR Tolkien themed family adventure trail. Find the clues, solve the riddles and help hold back the forces of evil from the lands of Mordor. Hobbits welcome!
Pensthorpe Wildlife & Gardens, February 15-23, 10am-4pm, normal admission prices, 01328 851465, www.pensthorpe.com
Learn about some of the species that share the natural world at Pensthorpe this half-term as the nature reserve plays host to this family event. It’s free, but normal admission prices apply.
Signs of Spring Week
Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden, February 15-13, 10am-5pm, £6.10 (£5.60 cons), £3.60 children, under-5s free, 01603 270449, www.fairhavengarden.co.uk
Explore the Fairhaven garden, look out for signs of spring and win a prize. Then on February 19 (11am-3pm) help create a giant woodland collage with materials found in the garden. Look out for photographs of the finished result on their website.
Animal Tracks and Signs
Sheringham Park, February 15-23, 10am-4.15pm, £2 per child, 01263 820550, www.nationaltrust.org.uk
Look for the clues to learn how to track wild animals by following the signs they leave behind. Fun self-guided quiz trail to solve and win a prize.
Raveningham Hall, until February 23, Mon-Fri 11am-4pm, Sun 2pm-4pm, £4 (£3.50 cons), under-16s free, 01508 548152, www.raveningham.com
Sir Nicholas and Lady Bacon invite visitors to see glorious displays of snowdrops first planted by Sir Nicholas’ mother, Lady Priscilla Bacon. She was both an expert gardener and president of the appeal to raise money for specialist palliative care and proceeds go to Priscilla Bacon Lodge in Norwich.
Holt Country Park, February 18-20, 10.30am-1pm, 07920 576634, www.northnorfolk.org
Holt Country Park has three days of half-term fun. Help wildlife survive the winter by building wildlife homes for your garden (Feb 18). Prices range from £2 to £4 to build a wildlife home. Help the Rangers plant native trees in the park (Feb 19, 1-3pm). Then explore the wood for winter wildlife on a guided walk with the rangers (Feb 20, 10am-12pm, £1 per person, under-3s free).
The Bad, the Wise,
and the Ugly
Norwich Cathedral, February 18, 12.30pm-1.30pm, free admission, 01603 599570
The stories and poetry of the medieval North present an imaginative landscape crawling with enormous, scaly, reptilian beasts of various kinds. This talk will seek to explore a little further the hoard of dragons that appear in the Old Norse eddas and sagas, many of which have had a long-lasting influence on our own modern conceptions (via the writings of Tolkien, Lewis, and others) of exactly what it means to be a dragon. Limited places available - first come first served.
Snap The Dragon
Bridewell Museum, Bridewell Alley, Norwich, February 18, 10am-4.30pm, free with normal admission £4.40 (3.80 cons), £2.70 children, 01603 495897
Find out more about Norwich Castle’s snapdragon and our city’s civic traditions. Plus make George and the Dragon finger puppets to take home and put on your own thrilling shows. Ages 5+.
Assembly House, Norwich, February 18, 7pm, free admission, pre-book at www.writerscentrenorwich.co.uk
George Szirtes, winner of the T S Eliot Prize for Reel and shortlisted again in 2013 for Bad Machine, will launch The Dragon’s Spell with this reading from his work. This enchanted evening of poetry and music, curated by one of George’s former students, the singer-songwriter Robyn-Astrid, will also feature readings.
Sainsbury’s Centre for Visual Arts, February 18, 10.30am-12.30pm/1.30pm-3.30pm, free
admission, 01603 593199, www.scva.ac.uk
Join artist Caspar James from Culture Cross Roads and Pat Howe from Spirit of Carnival for music, stories and making inspired by the mythical beasts from the Sainsbury Collection.
Great Hospital, Bishopgate, Norwich, February 18, 3pm-5pm, free admission,
Listen to fiery tales around a roaring fire, dress up for the princess and knight fancy dress contest, get creative at the dragon crafts table, and sample some of the dragon refreshments for sale.
The Dragon Brood
NORCA, Colegate, Norwich, February 18-19, 9.30am-4pm, two day £8 (£5 cons), £5 children/one day £5 (£3 cons), £3 children,
pre-book 01603 760529
Creative workshops to create a dragon puppet or mask, working with artists from Tin House, aimed at anyone aged 10 and over. You will also have the opportunity to become one of the fearsome dragon’s brood and take part in a ‘carnivalesque’ performance as part of a celebration of Mardi Gras on March 4.
Dragon Arts and Crafts
The Forum, Norwich, February 19-20, 11am-3.30pm, free admission, www.theforumnorwich.co.uk
Make your own dragon at the Dragon workshop. It’s free and the kids love it. Or grab a felt pen, stand on tiptoe and help colour in the dragon designs on the walls of our giant colouring-in cube.
Dragon Family Friday
Norwich Assembly House, February 21,
10am-4pm, 01603 626403
Craft activities such as mask, badge and card-making as well as a host of dragon-related games. Wild Chain Carvers will be creating a fabulous giant wooden dragon using chainsaws.