Wheee!, Lakeside Arts’ International Children’s Theatre and Dance Festival is a well-established and much loved fixture in the city’s cultural calendar for children and families of all ages. Now returning for the fifteenth time Wheee! 2019 promises to be one of the most ambitious yet, with a fantastic line up of workshops, theatre and dance shows, drop in crafts activities, sports fun and much more.
One of Nottingham’s most talented young creatives Billy Partridge – winner of the 2016 Young Cartoonist of the Year – will be creating a Woodland landscape directly on to the walls of the Wallner Gallery, and visitors are invited to help complete it throughout the festival.
Lakeside will again host Nottingham’s international touring company Architects of Air, who for many years have premiered their newest creations at Highfields Park. This year is no exception and their brand new luminarium Daedalum will open to visitors on Bank Holiday Monday 27 May.
New this year, Wheee! on Tour will see performances of MishMash Production’s latest creation tour to 10 Nottingham and Nottinghamshire libraries from 28 May to 8 June. Co-commissioned by Lakeside and the Nottingham Library Service, Strange Creatures (for ages 4-7) is inspired by Alexis Deacon’s popular children’s book ‘Beegu’ and will have its world premiere at Bulwell Library on Tuesday May 28.
Little Angel Theatre returns to Lakeside to open Wheee! with their charming and adventurous stage
adaptation of best-selling author Julia Donaldson’s The Flying Bath (for ages 2-5) on Sunday 26 May.
This wonderful story about a magical bath and some adventurous bath toys will be brought to life using music, rhyme and puppetry.
Thanks to the generous support of the Woodland Trust for the second successive year, Lakeside Arts will present one of the most exciting Free Family Weekend programmes in Wheee’s history. Featuring regional, national and international touring artists, there is truly something for everyone: dance, theatre and circus performances by companies such as Motionhouse, Joss Arnott Dance Company, The Chipolatas, Fredi & Co and The Fabularium; drop in workshops and craft activities; drumming circle for little ones and their families. Lakeside also brings the amazing VR Playground to Nottingham for the first time: wearing a VR headset, visitors can soar through a virtual landscape, propelled by motion from an actual swing.
Clare Allen, Head of Supporter Development at the Woodland Trust says: ‘We are very excited to be the weekend partner for the Wheee! Festival for the second year and look forward to chatting all things trees and woods with people attending the festival. We’re especially looking forward to getting involved with activities like wood whittling and badge making and introducing Wheee! folk to our Chief Nature Detective Richard. Coming to a fabulous park with amazing trees is the perfect location for us to meet budding Nature Detectives!’
When a little calm time is required, families can head to the new Chill Out Zone, next to the Boat House, and enjoy board games or sit under the withy sculptures and find a bit of temporary peace and quiet away from the lively activities.
Shona Powell, Director at Lakeside Arts says: ‘Thanks to our partnership with The Woodland Trust, this is set to be our most ambitious outdoor programme for family audiences since Wheee! began. It’s the first time we’ve been able to programme a brand new six-dancer performance by Motionhouse, and I’m thrilled that we’re finally welcoming VR Playground – which was originally developed at the University’s Mixed Reality Lab – to Nottingham following its success at other national platforms and festivals. It’s equally important to support emerging local artists, and platforming amazing young talent through the fabulous Xzibit dancers and Billy Partridge’s Woodland in the Waller Gallery, which are also must see highlights in our programme.’
For the full programme and online booking for ticketed events visit lakesidearts.org.uk/wheee, or call the box office on 0115 846 7777.