City coming alive for Children's Festival

POETRY trails, life size bunnies, dancing in the streets, digital butterflies, a flock of golden starlings and a huge building size digital portrait will enliven the city this summer for the annual children's festival.

The 2010 Sheffield Children's Festival brochure hits the streets this week with details of more than 50 events and exhibitions between June 12 and July 3.

The showcase of creativity, culture and artistic talent comes from the event created by children for children, with the support of the council and sponsors Vinci Education.

There will be a programme of free weekend events for families at city centre locations such as the Crucible Theatre, the City Hall, the newly renovated Tudor Square, Devonshire Green and the Winter Garden.

Kelham Island is hosting a Saturday night family sleepover, A Night at the Museum, and Michael Rosen, one of the best known figures in the children's book world, is bringing his one-man show to the Crucible.

There will be a day of joke-telling in the Winter Garden with the Grin Up North comedy festival, a Speaker's Corner soapbox debate in Tudor Square and 24-hour non-stop Shakespeare outside the Town Hall.

One of the most visible signs of the festival will be Close Up, an enormous banner on the side of Park Hill Flats. Pupils from 15 schools from Arbourthorne, Manor and Darnall have been working with artist, photographer and filmmaker Esther Johnson to create their own self-portraits.Each school has been asked to nominate a child deemed to have made a real contribution to their community and their pictures have been put together to create one huge image of one child who represents the spirit of the place.

Other schoolchildren across Sheffield have been designing their own digital butterflies to join the 'Flutter' in the Millennium Gallery, an interactive exhibition devised by artist Tom Betts and Lovebytes.

More than 1,000 youngsters have helped to create a Flock of Golden Starlings in a project with Art in the Park, which will be on display in Sheffield Cathedral complemented by sound and lighting. Local poets have been working with schools to create haiku poems to be exhibited as a trail through the city centre starting on The Moor and finishing at Bank Street Arts, who are co-ordinating the project.

A busy performance programme will centre on the Montgomery Theatre, Library Theatre and the City Hall and the grand finale will be the Lord Mayor's Parade on July 3 with this year's theme The Nations of the World Cup.

The success of Sheffield Children's Festival is being promoted as part of the city's bid to become the UK City of Culture in 2013.

Programmes are available from libraries and arts venues or from the council's arts service on 2734400. Alternatively visit www.sheffieldchildrensfestival.org

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