Feast of family fun as Wheee! festival returns

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Wheee!, Nottingham Lakeside Arts’ much loved international children’s theatre and dance festival, returns this year from Monday, May 28 to Sunday, June 3.

At the heart of the festival will be Nottingham’s own Architects of Air, whose awe-inspiring new luminarium – Daedalude – will welcome visitors from Monday to Sunday.

Also running for the duration will be theatre shows, film screenings, a special Jamie Johnson exhibition, and workshops for all the family.

Wheee! will culminate in a free Family Weekend in Highfields Park, supported by the Woodland Trust – Wheee! Family Weekend Festival Partner. During the weekend, families can enjoy free, outdoor shows from some of the UK’s leading theatre and dance companies, as well as workshops, crafts, storytelling and much more.

Wheee! begins with six beguiling performances from Norwegian company Dybwikdans. Performing on May 28 and 29, The Princess & The Pea is a charming dance theatre adaptation of this favourite Hans Christian Andersen story for ages 3-5. Children are encouraged to help the king to decide whether this unusual creature really is a princess! In addition, on May 30-31, Lakeside will be touring The Princess & The Pea to community venues in Nottingham.

Also opening on May 28 and running for the duration of Wheee! is Architects of Air’s fabulous new luminarium Daedalude.

Architects of Air have toured to more than 40 countries across five continents with their extraordinary structures which astonish and delight audiences of all ages. Inspired by Islamic architecture and gothic cathedrals, each luminarium is an intriguing shape, with interiors that are brilliantly iridescent and a maze of dazzling and unexpected spaces.

This year’s Wheee! exhibition celebrates the launch of CBBC’s critically acclaimed football drama, Jamie Johnson, with photography by Marcus Tate. Where’s Jamie? runs from Saturday, May 19 to Sunday, July 1, and allows fans of the show to discover the real life locations that became part of the Jamie Johnson story, taking Jamie from his Beeston bedroom to global super stardom. The exhibition printing and mounting has been kindly supported by John E Wright.

During Wheee! fans have the rare opportunity to watch the original pilot episode of this Emmy, Bafta and RTS nominated series – 15 minutes of exclusive material previously unseen by public audiences. The free screenings will run from 12noon until 4.30pm, Monday to Sunday, and must be booked in advance.

Towards the end of the week, there will be two world-class productions for young audiences. Is This a Dagger? The Story of Macbeth on Friday, June 1, distils the essence of this epic play into an entrancing one-man, one-hour version for audiences young and old (ages eight-plus). Stick by me on Saturday, June 2, is a gently playful new show for young children aged 3-5 featuring a man and an awful lot of lolly sticks.

The Wheee! Family Weekend on June 2-3 is one of Nottingham’s annual cultural highlights. The free weekend will transform Highfields Park, with workshops, craft activities, sports activities and outdoor shows for all the family.

There’s exquisite acrobatic dance theatre amongst the trees from Middleton Corpus in The Seedling; strong lady, Charmaine Childs, and Bongo Bolero’s The Dick Danger Show, who will amaze young and old alike with their astonishing feats of strength and daring; The Bewonderment Machine – an artist-built, cycle-powered carousel for ages 2-6; Candoco Dance Company’s You & I Know duet choreographed by Arlene Phillips; and Birch & Hazel’s hilarious and informative woodland walks for all the family.

For the full programme and online booking for ticketed events visit lakesidearts.org.uk, or call the box office on 0115 846 7777.