Just in time for the February half term, Southbank Centre’s Imagine Children’s Festival returns from 7 – 18 February 2018, with twelve days of jam-packed fun for children and their families.

This year’s programme has storytelling at its heart and includes a specially curated Royal Festival Hall event celebrating the world’s leaders and pioneers who have changed the world, in an effort to inspire the next generation of young changemakers.

The twelve day festival includes inspiring and playful events and activities from Super Hero parties, magical immersive adventures and snail friendships to dancing scientists with flatulence.

With over fifty per cent of the programme free, Imagine Children’s Festival has something for all ages, with leaders from the world of theatre, literature, music, dance and visual arts, including Caroline Bowditch, CBBC’s Ben Shires and Cerrie Burnell, Charlotte Cotterill, Radio 1’s Chris Smith and Greg James, Francesca Simon, Harry Hill, Jacqueline Wilson, James Campbell, Jess Thom, Joseph Coelho, Mitch Johnson, Patrick Monahan, Robin Stevens, Yuval Zommer and many more.

The Kids Takeover also returns for another year, giving children the chance to take the reins, managing the day-to-day of the festival, from selling programmes, checking tickets to making intercom announcements. This year the Kids Takeover will be partnering with local young carers groups, offering activities to children who look after a sick or disabled relative.

Our favourite bits from the 2018 programme include:

Snigel and Friends - the story of an inquisitive snail and his insect friends, by award-winning performance artist and choreographer Caroline Bowditch (7 – 9 February).

 Image Credit Amy Sinead

Image Credit Amy Sinead

CBBC presenter Ben Shires makes his debut Southbank Centre residency, hosting an array of free events including a Super Hero Party with theatre-maker and comedian Jess Thom best known for her alter-ego Touretteshero (10 + 11 February).

Two 30-minute animated films from Magic Light Pictures serve classic fairytales with a mischievous twist for families and children with music performed by Southbank Sinfonia (12 February).

 Courtesy of Magic Light Pictures

Courtesy of Magic Light Pictures

Authors and illustrators Kate Pankhurst and Andrea Pippins, alongside a host of special guests, explore the world’s leaders and pioneers, in a specially curated event celebrating People Who Changed the World (13 February).

Author Jon Roberts discussing his new picture book Through the Eyes of Me, following the everyday life of a child with autism in a special autism friendly event (13 February).

An immersive adventure through a Marvellous Kingdom with musicians of the Aurora Orchestra, including dancing dewdrops, sugar plum fairies and a rascally Mouse King (15 – 16 February).

Comedian, author and presenter Harry Hill will be bringing to life his newest character Matt Millz, Britain’s youngest (and funniest) comedian, in discussion with illustrator extraordinaire Steve May, with live drawing and plenty of jokes (17 February).

Award-winning author Jacqueline Wilson discussing her much-loved characters including Hetty Feather and Tracy Beaker, as well as her latest novel Wave Me Goodbye, set at the start of World War Two (17 February).

BBC Radio 1 DJ’s and debut authors Greg James and Chris Smith presenting a superhero event based on their new book Kid Normal, action-packed with games, singing and music (18 February).

 Image Credit Jenny Smith

Image Credit Jenny Smith

A family fun quiz extravaganza with stand-up comedian and hilarious quiz-master Patrick Monahan (18 February).

Over fifty per cent of the programme is free, with a range of activities and events for all children to enjoy on each day of the festival.

Tickets for the festival go on sale to Southbank Centre members on Tuesday 28 November and general public sale Wednesday 30 November. Find out more here.

See you there!