The Spark Festival

by Molly Dixon

The Spark Festival

The Spark Festival was founded in 2003 and is the largest children’s art festival in England and Wales. It takes place annually in Leicester every May and brings the very best of theatre, music, dance, visual arts, and digital media to young people ages 0-13 years.

The festival is run by a registered charity, The Spark Arts for Children, and its aim is to bring as many opportunities as possible for children to engage in the arts, with events and performances taking place at multiple venues across the city.

Spark Festival 2018 Events Listing

Takeover Writer’s Workshop

From: 10:00am Sat 19th May – 3:00pm Sun 27th May

This is your chance to Takeover the Theatre!

A fantastic opportunity to improve your creative writing skills, share and develop your own ideas and see your play brought to life by professional actors!

Could you be one of our young writers? Hurry – spaces are limited!


Mellow Baku

From: 3:00pm Mon 21st May – 3:50pm Fri 25th May

Vocalist, songwriter, guitarist and storyteller Mellow Baku draws on the sounds of soul, folk, reggae and blues for a magical musical performance that will engage and inspire young audiences.


A Square World – SOLD OUT!

From: 10:00am Mon 21st May – 2:00pm Fri 25th May

A Square World is a story of friends who enjoy the same routine day after day, each day is the same until an unexpected change is forced upon just one of them. This accidental happening throws everyone into disarray, the friends are suddenly divided into those who can and the one who can’t.


Whatever the Weather

From: 10:30am Tue 22nd May – 1:30pm Wed 23rd May

A weather house sitting on a quiet wall. The little lady comes out when it’s going to be sunny.The little man comes out when it’s going to rain. Day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. Never together. Always alone.

But what would happen if one magical day…they came alive?


Funky Punky Jazz Party!

From: 10:30am Tue 22nd May – 1:30pm Wed 23rd May

Award-winning clarinettist Arun Ghosh brings his exciting energy and original music back to the Spark Festival.

Arun’s musical moods take you on journeys along rivers, through mountains and into the heart of the city – to a raucous place of musical freedom and funky punky Jazz. Hear how Arun’s melodies and rhythms draw together jazz, hip-hop and South Asian music, with clarinet chaos, deep double bass and dazzling drums.


I Wish I Was A Mountain

From: 5:00pm Wed 23rd May – 6:00pm Thu 24th May

On the day of the famous annual fair, the town of Faldum receives an unexpected visit. A wanderer offers to grant a wish to anyone who wants one. Before long, the city is transformed. Mansions stand where mud huts once squatted, and beggars ride around in horse-drawn carriages. And one man wishes to be turned into a mountain.


Mrs Pockets

From: 12:00pm Wed 23rd May – 4:00pm Thu 24th May

Come, dance with Mrs Pockets and help us make a show. Sensory play, dance and performance for you and your little one. Mrs Pockets arrives in this country with a bundle of feathers, one shoe and a life ahead of her.



From: Thu 24th May, 7:00pm – 7:50pm

If you were an animal what would you do, where would you roam? What would the animal bring out of you?

Animus is a musical adventure into the animal kingdom using the song, percussion and world music. This special performance will feature 90 children from Leicester city schools!


Girl Asleep (Film)

From: Thu 24th May, 10:00am – 11:17am

The world is closing in on Greta Driscoll. On the cusp of turning fifteen, she can’t bear to leave her children, it contains all the things that give her comfort in this incomprehensible new world. She floats in a bubble of loserdom with her only friend Elliott until her parents throw her a surprise 15th birthday party and she’s flung into a parallel place; a world that’s weird, a little bit violent and thoroughly ludicrous – only there can she find herself.



From: 11:00am Fri 25th May – 3:00pm Sat 26th May

Lie down, look at the sky through my toes!
Can you see the world from upside down?
Can you hear the stars?

Jump onto a soft cloud, feel the wind whirling and whispering, as two dancers make the space around you twist and turn. Look up or move a little closer. Everything is changing in this lyrical piece of dance theatre for the very young.


Giant Drawing!

From: Sat 26th May, 12:00pm – 4:00pm

Join us and help transform Two Queens with some giant drawing! Bring your most brilliant and bold ideas. How big and bright can we go?


Little Raptors!

From: 11:30am Sat 26th May – 3:30pm Sun 27th May

Did you know some dinosaurs were fluffy? Join Mr Cleaver’s Monsters for some feathered-dinosaur papercraft fun.

Make and decorate your own mini-velociraptor head and see the awesome Utahraptor sculpture – the velociraptor’s bigger, scarier cousin!


Day Dreaming

From: Sat 26th May, 11:30am – 3:00pm

Day Dreaming for under 5s, drop-in arts workshops in response to Sky.

Let your imagination fly from the performance to the studio and continue your SKY experience in our kinetic visual arts workshop.



From: 11:00am Sat 26th May – 4:00pm Mon 28th May

The Digital Playground takes on a musical theme this year, with a host of interactive art installations, activities and short films exploring the world of digital sound and music making. At the centre of our Playground will be Illumaphonium, a multi-player musical sculpture that ripples with ever-changing patterns of light and sound. Created by musician and inventor Michael Davis, this giant one-of-a-kind instrument is made up of more than two hundred illuminated chime bars, bringing people together for a fun and spontaneous shared music making the experience.


Digital Playground

From: 11:00am Sat 26th May – 4:00pm Mon 28th May

The Digital Playground takes on a musical theme this year, with a host of interactive art installations, activities and short films exploring the world of digital sound and music making.


Aston’s Stones

From: 11:00am Sat 26th May – 2:00pm Sun 27th May

A lovely story about Aston, the little dog who wants to take care of all the stones he can find.

This story is about how easy it is to love and the ability to see and to appreciate the value in small things – even in a little stone.


Takeover – Design Team

From: Sat 26th May, 11:00am – 4:00pm

Ever wanted to help design a Theatre set?

14/48 UK are looking for crafty and creative young people to help design the backdrop for this year’s 14/48 Takeover performance, and we need your help!


Music Beats and Bars

From: Sat 26th May, 11:00am – 1:00pm

Learn how to make and hone your own beats and bars on industry standard software with Pedestrian’s expert music tutors. Perfect for young aspiring Producers and MCs or children who just want to have a go.


Ready or Not? Peek-a-Boo

From: Sat 26th May, 10:30am – 11:30am

For this year’s Spark Festival The Gallery is hosting a new exhibition, Pursuits of Happiness, exploring games and play. Filled with diversions and amusements it provides a hands-on opportunity for children and adults alike to play and think in new ways.

As the exhibition progresses games designed and built by children and young people will be added to the display for others to use and adapt.


Baby Disco – Jungle

From: Sun 27th May, 11:00am – 2:30pm

Welcome to the jungle!

Bring the whole family along for a dancing adventure deep into the forest, where tropical birds sing and tigers roar. Move to the beat through our multi-sensory creation with disco lighting and thematic projections.


Bedtime Stories

From: Sat 26th May, 4:30pm – 5:30pm

Stories full of warmth, wonder and giggles, with hot chocolates and cookies!

We create a magical cosy space inside our theatre, with hot chocolate and cookies. You can drink hot chocolate and get snuggly on massive cushions, whilst we tell you stories full of warmth, wonder and giggles.

This ever-popular event is sure to be a hit with 2-8-year-olds everywhere. Limited spaces available book early!


The Exploded Circus

From: 2:15pm Sat 26th May – 5:00pm Sun 27th May

Step into the moment where an explosion has been frozen in time, the remnants of a big top caught mid-air – with everything from circus ring, sequins and fairground horses suspended above the ground.

Mimbre is a female lead contemporary circus company. They use their unique blend of physicality and narrative to tell intimate stories about human connections.


Urban Art Graffiti

From: Sat 26th May, 1:30pm – 3:30pm

Explore how to draw Graffiti Art lettering using professional paint pens and materials. Participants will design and create their own canvas to take away.

Please come in suitable clothing!


Is This a Dagger? The Story of Macbeth

From: Sat 26th May, 1:30pm – 2:40pm

A tale of foul and fortune, murder and deceit, Macbeth is a gory, bloody and darkly wonderful tale of one man and his pursuit of power. Is This a Dagger? explores the paths between fact and fiction, myths and truths or a perfect introduction for newcomers or a fresh take for Shakespeare enthusiasts.

By the pricking of my thumb, something wicked this way comes…. Andy Cannon, one of Scotland’s finest storytellers, takes audiences on a thousand-year journey from fact to fiction and back again, in his telling of Shakespeare’s classic tale.


Ready or Not? Drop In

From: 1:00pm Sat 26th May – 3:00pm Mon 28th May

A new exhibition exploring games and play with a drop in workshops to design and build new games. Filled with diversions and amusements, a hands-on opportunity for children and parents alike to play and think in new ways.

Alongside the games, we have a chill out space for children and young people showing films by contemporary artists.


Art Explorers

From: Sat 26th May, 1:00pm – 3:00pm

Our friendly workshop leaders will guide you through a creative and hands-on afternoon of fun tailored for all ages – so bring the whole family down.

Based on the exhibition Chainmail by Armartey Golding


Mega Monoprints

From: 12:00pm Sat 26th May – 3:00pm Sun 27th May

Leicester Print Workshop invite you to learn to print, have a play, make an impression and get inky in their large open access studio.

Create your own printed billboard using monoprint techniques.

Go big and explore colour. Cut up and collage stencils and make prints inspired by our exhibition of billboards, In Another Place.


Curve Family Day

From: Sat 26th May, 12:00pm – 5:00pm

Roll up, roll up, for Curve’s fabulous fantastic circus Family Day!

Join us for lots of free activity; including live music and spoken word performances, circus workshops, craft making and dressing up.


Ready or Not? Hide-go-Seek

From: Sun 27th May, 11:30am – 1:00pm

Bookable activities to complement the Pursuits of Happiness exhibition, exploring games and play.


Playing traditional physical games like Hiding and Seek, Tag and Marbles.


Exciting Egyptians – Visit the Bazaar!

From: 11:00am Sun 27th May – 3:00pm Mon 28th May

Discover the sights, sounds and smells of Ancient Egypt by visiting our Egyptian bazaar and plunge into history through our interactive prop boxes.

Find out what these ancient ancestors ate for lunch, how they dressed for dinner and discover why magic and myth underpinned everyday life.


Takeover – Performance

From: Mon 28th May, 6:00pm – 7:00pm

The World’s Quickest Theatre Festival is being taken over by Leicester’s Young Writers!

Come and watch four plays whipped up in only three days and see how our professional directors, designers, actors and musicians can bring their scripts to life in just 24 hours!

The 14/48 Take over performance is a riotous celebration of young talent – a perfect finale to this year’s festival.


Musical Rumpus

From: Mon 28th May, 1:30pm – 2:30pm

Come along to Knighton Park for an afternoon of music and mischief. Our Musical Rumpus promises outdoor adventure with music, storytelling, visual arts, dressing up and dancing.

Yabba Funk will be filling the field with their funky fusion of Afro vibes. This eight-piece band is top full of hi-life grooves, crisp guitars, fat horns and a majestic sound that is utterly infectious.


Ready or Not? Game Theory

From: Mon 28th May, 10:30am – 1:00pm

Bookable activities to complement the Pursuits of Happiness exhibition, exploring games and play.

Game Theory

Design and build your own board game from scratch and add it to our exhibition.





For further information about the festival and the Spark arts for children charity please see their website


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