Things to do in February half-term at Southbank Centre

Tuesday, February 12, 2019 - 10:00

It’s February half-term. Yes, already. You’ve only just got over the Christmas holidays and now you have to find a way to entertain the little mites for another week. But fear not, help is at hand. Thankfully, we’ve plenty of things to do this February half-term here at Southbank Centre including a host of free events and activities.

Chief amongst these is our annual Imagine Children’s Festival which this year celebrates it’s 18th year. Running from Wednesday 13 February right through to Sunday 24 February, the festival brings all the best in children’s theatre, comedy, DJs, dance and hands-on fun to our venues here in the heart of London.

Child enjoying Soundpit at Southbank Centre
Daily from 13 February / Exhibition Space, Royal Festival Hall


Ever wondered what sound feels like? Di Mainstone’s interactive installation allows you to find out as you run your hands through the sand, or even walk across it to create music with your own movements

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Performer and Children on stage
FREE / Daily from 16 - 24 February, 10.30am / The Clore Ballroom, Royal Festival Hall

Morning Music Time

Get your little ones up and running with some interactive music; take in a free performance and have a sing, or try your hand at the trumpet with Rebecca Baxter and Andrew McCaldon respectively.

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Cover of The Way Past Winter by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
Saturday 16 February, 11am / Level 5 Function Room, Royal Festival Hall

Kiran Millwood Hargrave: The Way Past Winter

Cross frozen wild-lands with Mila and her sisters as children’s author Kiran Millwood Hargrave weaves an enchanting story to read from her latest book, The Way Past Winter, and tell of her own journey to becoming a children’s author.

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Jacqueline Wilson - July 2012 . ©James Jordan
Saturday 16 February, 11am / Royal Festival Hall

Jacqueline Wilson, Malorie Blackman, Chris Riddell

Hear the stories behind the incredible authors who have ignited children's imaginations for over 20 years of Waterstones Children’s Laureates. Join Jacqueline Wilson, Malorie Blackman and Chris Riddell for a journey into some of their most loved stories and characters.

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Saturday 16 February, 11am & 1.30pm / Foyle Pavilion, Royal Festival Hall

Nadine Kaadan: Stories of Syria

Hear about a courageous little boy growing up in a time of conflict in a storytelling and art workshop with children’s author and illustrator Nadine Kaadan, as she introduces her uplifting story, Tomorrow.

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FREE / Saturday 16 February, 11.15am / The Clore Ballroom, Royal Festival Hall

Big Moves for Little Groovers

Calling all budding b-girls and b-boys: throw down some shapes and perfect your best moves in a hip-hop dance workshop led by The Movement Factory, an award-winning community dance empire.

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The Skies Above My Eyes
Saturday 16 February, 2pm / Level 5 Function Room, Royal Festival Hall

The Skies Above My Eyes

Charlotte Guillain and Yuval Zomme, the author and illustrator of children’s book The Skies Above My Eyes, encourage children to voyage to the skies to see what they can see at this out of this world event featuring fun facts and intergalactic drawing.

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The characters from Peppa Pig on the Royal Festival Hall stage
15 -17 June, various times / Queen Elizabeth Hall

Peppa Pig: My First Concert

Give your children an interactive introduction to a live orchestra courtesy of some of their favourite cartoon characters. Mummy Pig and Daddy Pig wield the baton, whilst Peppa and George learn all about the instruments.

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16 - 20 February, various times / Purcell Room

The Singing Mermaid

Escape to the seaside with a musical story based on the hugely children’s book The Singing Mermaid, told through puppetry and performance, and featuring music by Barb Jungr.

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THE GIANT STORYTELLING BED at Imagine Children's Festival Credit Victor Frankowski 2016
FREE / daily from 16 - 24 February, 3.45pm / The Clore Ballroom, Royal Festival Hall

Bedtime Stories

Are you sitting comfortably? Bring the whole family to unwind with a free story every afternoon of Imagine Children's Festival as special guests choose their own favourite children’s stories to read.

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FREE / Sunday 17 February, 11am / The Clore Ballroom, Royal Festival Hall

Chineke! Juniors

Create your own music and reinterpret the sounds of the orchestra through dance, art and storytelling at a day of music-making with Chineke! Juniors, a youth orchestra of black and minority ethnic (BME) musicians, aged 11 – 18.

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Speak into Your Power book illustration
Sunday 17 February, 1pm / Purcell Room

Andrea Pippins: Step into Your Power

Illustrator of Step into Your Power Andrea Pippins and former deputy young mayor of Lewisham and grime MC Novelist share their own journeys as they show your children how to harness their power and use it to emulate their heroes and live their best life.

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Elmer, the patchwork elephant
Monday 18 February, 11am / Queen Elizabeth Hall

David McKee: Elmer, Mr Benn and Other Colourful Stories

In a special event celebrating the 30th birthday year of his character Elmer the Patchwork Elephant, Dave McKee, creator of Elmer and Mr Benn, joins us to reflect on his career in writing, illustration and animation.

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FREE / Monday 18 February, from 11am / The Clore Ballroom, Royal Festival Hall

A Monday at the Musicals

Got a budding Jersey Boy or Dreamgirl in your offspring, well the Monday of half-term is made for them, with a day of free workshops and performances to help them hone their skills, led by real West End performers.

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Illustration of a dog for the Woof Woof Wag Wag Puppy Poems event at Southbank Centre's Imagine festival
Monday 18 February, 1.30pm / National Poetry Library

Woof Woof Wag Wag Puppy Poems

Perfect for dog loving children aged 5 – 7. Come and paws for a while as poets Brian Moses and Roger Stevens read from their joint collection The Waggiest Tails: Poems Written by Dogs, and Victoria Adukwei Bulley reads from Thinker: My Puppy Poet and Me by Eloise Greenfield.

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Monday 18 February, 2pm / Royal Festival Hall

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt: Film Live in Concert

Go on an intrepid adventure at this screening of the animated film adaptation of the popular children’s book, accompanied live by the City of London Sinfonia. The event includes a lively introduction to the musical world of the film and fun sing-alongs of the closing credits song, Me & You by George Ezra.

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Cosmic Currents with Figs in Wigs and Friends
FREE / Tuesday 19 February, from 11.30am / The Clore Ballroom, Royal Festival Hall

Cosmic Currents with Figs in Wigs and Friends

Put on your space suit and join dancing troupe Figs in Wigs and their friends Steve Nice and ShayShay for a day of intergalactic workshops, performance and storytelling for all the family.

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Jeremy Strong, writer
Tuesday 19 February, 1pm / Purcell Room

Jeremy Strong: Laugh Your Socks Off

Laugh your socks off with King of Comedy and author of the My Brother’s Famous Bottom and The Hundred-Mile-an-Hour Dog series, Jeremy Strong as he shares the giggles and fun from his latest children's story.

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Captain Flinn:The Magic Cutlass
19 - 23 February, various times / Queen Elizabeth Hall

Captain Flinn & The Pirate Dinosaurs: The Magic Cutlass

All aboard, me hearties, for this non-stop, action-packed theatrical pirate adventure, with live music, puppetry and dastardly dinosaurs. Catch morning or afternoon performances of this children’s favourite.

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20 - 23 February, various times / Blue Room, Royal Festival Hall

The Day I Fell Into a Book

Find yourself in a magical world of imagination as The Day I Fell Into a Book uses binaural sound recordings, intricate lighting technology and projection to take the audience into a lost world of classic myths and legends.

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FREE / Thursday 21 February, from 11.30am / The Clore Ballroom, Royal Festival Hall

Strictly Kids

If you’re little ones are fans of Strictly Come Dancing, then this is perfect for them. Get them up on their feet with a fun day of dancing, including the chance to learn their favourite dance styles from leading child ballroom dancers.

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Under embargo until 13:45 7th June...Pictured at Hull City Hall is the presentation of the new Tenth Waterstones Children's Laureate. Shown is Lauren Child, the new laureate and the medal she has been awarded. Pictures copyright Darren Casey / DCimaging
Thursday 21 February, 1pm / Purcell Room

Lauren Child in Conversation

The current Waterstones Children’s Laureate Lauren Child, the writer behind beloved children’s book characters Clarice Bean, Ruby Redfort and Charlie and Lola, talks about her best-loved characters and inspirations.

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Photo of beatboxer Shlomo in action. He brings his Beatbox Adventure for Kids to Southbank Centre's Imagine festival in 2019
Thursday 21 February, 11am & 3.30pm / Purcell Room

Shlomo’s Beatbox Adventure for Kids

The remarkable and world-record-breaking beatboxer Shlomo is back in town, using his mouth and a mic to make all kinds of remarkable music. Will your little ones become one of his superhero sidekicks in a world of funny sounds and cool music?

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A boy playing a piano
22 - 23 February, various times / Purcell Room

 I Wish I Was a Mountain

Do we really need the things that we need? What do mountains feel? How did time begin? Join Glastonbury Poetry Slam Champion Toby Thompson for this special retelling of a fairy tale with live music and rhyme.

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How to Train Your Dragon illustration
FREE / Saturday 23 February, 11am / The Clore Ballroom, Royal Festival Hall

Book in a Day: How to Train Your Dragon

Join is for a dangerous jaunt on the Isle of Berk as special guests and live performances bring to life Cressida Cowell’s How to Train Your Dragon for one whole heroic day.

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Ade Adepitan
Saturday 23 February, 2pm / Level 5 Function Room, Royal Festival Hall

Ade Adepitan: Battle of the Cyborg Cat

Join Paralympian and TV presenter Ade Adepitan as he brings us the story of the ups and downs of Ade, a young boy adjusting to life in east London, in his first book for children, Ade's Amazing Ade-ventures: Battle of the Cyborg Cat.

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Fold Out City with instructions
FREE / Sunday 24 February, from 11am / The Clore Ballroom, Royal Festival Hall

Fold Your City

Come and join us for a day of creative and interactive crafting as we build a model city inspired by the ever-evolving London skyline that surrounds the River Thames. Draw, colour, decorate and be part of this origami installation.

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Noisy Notes - Sue Perkins
Sunday 24 February, 2pm / Queen Elizabeth Hall

Noisy notes

Give your little ones a unique interactive introduction to the orchestra as presenter Sue Perkins leads the Orion Orchestra in a concert of old favourites and familiar tunes for all ages.

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Incredibly, this isn’t everything we’ve got going on at half-term. There are a whole host of other fun, interactive events for children of all ages – including many free activities – taking place every day across our Thames-side venues.

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