SOLT Launches Ninth Annual Kids Week SchemeDate: 25 July 2006
The ninth annual Kids Week was launched at the West End’s Prince of Wales theatre today (25 July 2006). Like last year, the free event for children to participate in theatre workshops and meet the stars of West End shows will last a whole fortnight, running from 18 August to 1 September 2006.
Kids Week, organised by the Society of London Theatre (SOLT), has proved so popular that last year the week was extended to two weeks (See News, 16 Aug 2005). During Kids Week, one child aged between 5-16 years can see participating plays and musicals for free when accompanied by a full paying adult, while a further two youngsters can go for half price. Kids can also learn more about the West End with a series of workshops including learning and performing songs from the shows, costume and set design and script writing.
Shows involved in this year’s scheme include: Babe The Sheep-Pig at the Open Air Theatre, Chicago, Les Miserables, Guys and Dolls, Blood Brothers and Mary Poppins. For pre-school children, Kids Week has commissioned a special programme for the under-5s called Mini Musicals Go Wild at the Theatre Museum, Covent Garden.
The launch was attended by Jon Lee, former band member of S-Club 7 and currently playing Marius in Les Miserables, Antony Costa, former member of boy band Blue and now heading the cast of Blood Brothers, Jennifer Ellison, now starring as Roxie in Chicago, and two of the children who play Jane and Michael Banks in Mary Poppins, Lydia Bannister and Robert Madge, who answered questions about performing from children participating in the launch.
The 25 youngsters on stage for the launch then performed songs from Mamma Mia! alongside the West End cast, to raucous applause from their parents and other audience members.
Jon Lee said: “I can vividly remember the first time I went to the theatre because I was lucky enough to be in the show - Cameron Mackintosh's Oliver! at the London Palladium. It completely hooked me. I am so excited to be performing once again in the West End in Les Miserables. Kids Week is a brilliant idea. It allows children to get in to some amazing shows, for absolutely nothing. Plus there are loads of fantastic theatre-based activities to enjoy as well.”
Antony Costa commented: “I'm really proud to be an ambassador for Kids Week 2006. It's great to be involved with an initiative that provides all children across the UK with the opportunity to discover the excitement of the theatre. Young people will be able to perform with West End professionals, whatever their level of experience, gain an insight behind the scenes of West End theatre and much, much more. Plus it's free for the kids - I wish Kids Week existed when I was younger!”
Booking lines for the all shows in Kids Week are now open. For more information, visit the Kids Week website.
- by Caroline Ansdell