Are we nearly there? Half-term drama events for kids

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The Independent Culture
Winchester Children's Festival, The Tower, Romsey Road, Winchester (01962 867 986), 8-14 February.

A creative and reasonably cheap way of entertaining children of three and upwards this half term. The week's activities kick off with fireworks, live rock 'n' roll from The Loudshirts, and a special karaoke for kids. Over the following days, special visiting theatre groups will perform shows daily as well as running workshops. The Tower itself will run a week-long Operation Star Turn workshop in which children not only create their own play but also make an alien to star in it. To round up there will be a Valentine's disco, free to any child who has participated in the week's activities. Children can visit the festival for as many days as they wish. Events are individually priced at between pounds 2.50 and pounds 4 and many are free.

'Little Red Riding Hood' at The Bull Theatre Gallery Studios, 68 High Street, Barnet, Hertfordshire (0181-449 0048), Sunday, 9 February, 3pm. The Krazy Kat Theatre Company presents a modern version of this familiar tale - ostensibly written for three-to-eight-year-olds, although adults may well find it just as appealing. The characters - hungry wolf, dizzy granny, dancing butterflies and the woodsman - are played by a cast of two who combine all the tradition of panto with puppets, juggling, singing, dancing and magical transformations. Tickets cost pounds 2.95 in advance, pounds 3.25 on the door.

Puppet theatre at Watermans Arts Centre, 40, High Street, Brentford (0181-568 1176), 8 February.

Pekko's Puppets present Molly Whuppie, a magical Scottish folk tale. The heroine, Molly, is given the task of saving her sisters from a giant, after which she must return three times to steal the giant's treasures for the King. Her last, possibly most testing, task is to get the King's three sons to marry her sisters. The show starts at 2.30pm. Tickets cost pounds 3 (pounds 2 for children of unwaged parents). For kids keen to be part of the action, the Saturday Theatre Club has workshops on theatre games, improvisation and story-telling. The cost is pounds 32/pounds 18 a season (half price for a half season). (No session on 22 February) On Wednesdays, under-fives can join Pandemonium, a lively music club (pounds 2.50/pounds 1.25 a session).

'Jack and the Bean Stalk', Norwich Puppet Theatre, St James, Whitefriars, Norwich, Norfolk (01603 629921), 8 February. This unusual theatre company has a reputation of being innovative and original, offering both their own productions and more hands-on activities for kids. Their puppet-making workshop at 10.30am will be followed by a production of Jack and the Beanstalk at 2.30pm, suitable for children aged from three to nine. This dramatic production combines acting, puppets and toys with live music. Workshops cost pounds 5; tickets for the show cost pounds 5 for adults and pounds 3.75 for children.

'Major Mustard's Magical Mustard Pot', Bristol Old Vic, King Street, Bristol (0117-987 7877), 8 February. Song, puppets, action: Major Mustard sets out to find his good freind Biscuit the mouse and purely by chance happens to stumble upon a magical mustard pot. After which, all manner of adventures are possible. The show starts at 11am. All seats cost pounds 2.

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