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The Independent Culture
Chinese New Year

V&A, Cromwell Road, SW7 (020-7942 2000; today & tomorrow, 11am-5pm, free

If tomorrow's celebrations in Chinatown and Trafalgar Square (11am-5.30pm) sound a bit raucous, there are other places in the capital where you can welcome in the year of the Rooster (visit for details). At the V&A, there's everything from noodle-making and tea-tasting, to Chinese music and lion dancing.


Ballroom, Royal Festival Hall, South Bank SE1 (0870 401 8181; today (and to 27 Feb), 10.30am, free (but booking essential)

The Imaginarium is an art installation created by storytellers, artists and children from six Lambeth schools. This morning (plus, 18, 19 & 26 Feb), there are storytelling sessions for the under-fives and their families. From Tuesday, there is also the Imagine children's literature festival, with the chance to meet writers and illustrators such as Jacqueline Wilson and Michael Rosen.

Carl-Einar Hackner

Soho Theatre, 21 Dean Street, W1 (0870 429 6883; today, 4.30pm, adults pounds 15, children pounds 5

He is described as the "Mr Bean of Swedish magicians", and today, Hackner is doing a one-off performance for family audiences. It's a very silly show, combining physical comedy, clowning, magic and music, where things go wrong on a regular basis. Booking essential.

Teenage Kicks

Theatre Royal and various venues around Bath (01225 448844; today & tomorrow (and 27 Feb), times and prices vary

This month-long programme of workshops and events, specifically targeted at teenagers, features everything from DJs and dance, to film nights and performances. This weekend's highlights include The Gathering, an anarchic, street- theatre happening boasting more than 100 teenage performers, to be staged this afternoon in Bath town centre.

Children's Activities

Buckland Abbey, Yelverton, Devon (01822 853607) today & tomorrow, 2pm-5pm, free with entry (adults pounds 2.90, children pounds 1.40, under- fives and National Trust members free)

Games, puzzles and hands-on activities are on offer at this 700-year- old National Trust property on the edge of Dartmoor. For details of other family-friendly events and activities nationwide over half-term, call 0870 458 4000 or visit

Plague & Pox

Warwick Castle, Warwick (0870 442 2375; www.warwick-castle. today & tomorrow (and to 20 Feb), 10am-5pm, adults pounds 12.95, children pounds 7.95, family pounds 34

Discover how putrid medieval life could be in a light-hearted look at disease and death in the Middle Ages. This rather revolting half-term history lesson promises a cast of grave diggers, rat catchers and even singing plague victims. NS