Southbank Centre, London
In line with Southbank Centre’s year-long exploration of Nordic arts and culture, Nordic Matters, this year’s Imagine Children’s Festival has a strong Nordic focus when it takes over the Royal Festival Hall with a packed programme of creative and forward-thinking events this February. Explore what it’s like to grow up Nordic and enjoy some of the very best children’s theatre, dance, music and installations alongside readings and workshops with some of the top children’s authors from the UK and Nordic region.
The Norwegian highlight of the festival is the dance performance Safarium, aimed specifically at children with special needs. With six performances at the Imagine Children’s Festival, the piece is also a workshop, a laboratory and a safari where children are invited to explore space and movement, transforming a tactile landscape together with three performers.
The project is based on our experience of the world through bodily encounters; between different bodies or between the body and its surroundings. How is our experience of the world shaped by touching, smelling, trying, talking or by just being present?
Another exciting project well worth a visit is the free Nordic children’s library Room for Children, which will open on February 9 and run throughout 2017. In the library you can find children’s books from all the Nordic countries represented, both in English and in their original languages – a unique opportunity to discover some of the books best-loved by Nordic children. In the library you can find works by authors such as notorious Norwegian author-illustrator Thorbjørn Egner and beloved Swedish author Astrid Lindgren. There is also a range of games, puzzles and activites for the children. Applying a child perspective, Room for Children is designed for under 10s and pushes the boundaries of what a library can be.
Some of the other Nordic highlights at Imagine Children’s Festival are the Finnish dinosaur heavy metal band Hevisaurus, a Sami storytelling and Joiku Chanting workshop with Sami writer Ante Aikio and the Swedish Baby Rave. Some of the top artists and authors from the Nordic region will also appear at the festival including Icelandic author and illustrator Birgitta Sif, Greenlandic author Bolatta Silis-Høegh and award-winning writer Rakel Helmsdal from the Faroe Islands.