Return of Bury St Edmunds theatre’s successful children’s arts festival

Tiddler and Other Terrific Tales ANL-160704-160150001
Tiddler and Other Terrific Tales ANL-160704-160150001

A children’s arts festival aims to build on its successful debut as it returns with a packed line-up of shows and school performances.

The Theatre Royal, in Bury St Edmunds, raised the curtain on the ‘mini Edinburgh for families’ last year and promises an ‘even more exciting line-up’ for the newly-named ‘Once Upon A Festival’.

From June 12 to 25, it boasts more than 60 performances across the region from leading national and international companies in schools, arts venues including the Theatre Royal and a spiegeltent in Bury.

Karen Simpson, artistic director at the theatre, said: “The festival spans three weekends and each weekend has different things to get involved with.

“Our original plan when we started last year was for this to become a mini Edinburgh Festival for families - well we are well on our way.”

The festival is being sponsored to the tune of £2,000 by housebuilder Taylor Wimpey and has benefitted from a £15,000 Arts Council grant.

Several local councillors are also funding various performances to go into schools including Colin Spence for Acton and Great Waldingfield; Joanna Spicer for Honington and Barnham and Jenny Antill for the Cosford division.

Meanwhile, Robert Everitt and Clive Springett are supporting visits to Sexton’s Manor Primary and Westley Middle Schools and Joanna Rayner and Andrew Speed have provided funding for the festival to stop off at St Edmund’s Catholic Primary School.

Shows include The Gruffalo’s Child, Pinocchio and Tiddler and Other Terrific Tales.