Kids Week - the annual event where children aged 5-16 can see West End shows for free when accompanied by a full paying adult - launches today (17 August 2007) with ‘Kids Week Covent Garden,’ a free staged event in Covent Garden Piazza featuring performances from Buddy, Footloose, The Lion King, Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Little Shop of Horrors, Chicago, The Sound of Music, The Lord of the Rings, Wicked and Mary Poppins.

It all kicks off at noon, with other interactive pavilions around the Piazza offering drama from the Old Vic, sing-a-long and dance with West End cast members, and costumes from Les Miserables.

Having grown in popularity since it started out ten years ago, Kids Week is now in fact a fortnight long, running this year until 31 August 2007. During this period, many leading venues in central London will open their doors and putting on special workshops and activities aimed at the younger theatregoer (and their parents!).

Other special events include: ballet classes with the English National Ballet, stage fighting at the Open Air Theatre in Regent’s Park, a Dance Weekend at the National Theatre for the August bank holiday, ‘Hunt the Phantom’ at Her Majesty’s and ‘create a human barricade’ at Les Mis amongst many more. In addition, there are huge discounts on shows, travel, eating out and parking around London’s West End and numerous opportunities to meet West End performers in Q&A sessions.

Kids Week, run by the Society of London Theatre (SOLT), is the West End’s longest running theatre promotion. For a complete breakdown of activities over the next two weeks, visit www.kidsweek.co.uk

- by Tom Atkins