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Leicester’s Spark Festival for Children is back for February 2023 with a host of world-class artists presenting a programme of live music, dance, theatre, and creative experiences for children aged 0-13 years, as well as an opportunity for Children to ‘Takeover the City’ to create The Best Children’s Festival in the World!

Celebrating its 20th year of putting Children at the forefront of theatre and arts, the exciting 2023 festival, will be held from Monday 13th - Sunday 19th February, and will run at venues across the city including theatres, schools, libraries, and community centres alongside a series of digital performances for audiences to enjoy at home.

Established in 2003, The Spark Festival was created to focus on championing children’s arts and creating opportunities to engage young audiences with the performing arts. Work presented during this year’s festival will place importance on activism, creativity, and expression, which will result in a program that uses the arts and creativity as a tool for discussions and understanding.

Highlights of this year’s festival include:

PALAVER Party: a party full of fabulous friends where everyone is proudly free to be whoever they want to be. Stick on a sequin, or ten, and get ready for a boogie at a rainbow disco for all the family. 

Choogh Choogh:  a delightful train journey through India. Set in a world full of music, colour, and imagination, classical Indian dance combines music, theatre, and play.

Botown: a musical journey from Memphis to Mumbai! Imagine a legendary 60’s soul band playing Bollywood music – that’s Botown.  This family-friendly gig is for everyone to get their groove on.

Underwater: a magical dance theatre piece created especially for babies aged 0-2, this gorgeous multi-sensory show is sure to engage your child’s imagination. 

Four Go Wild in Wellies: a whimsical, playful adventure featuring bobble hats, scarves, tents that have a life of their own, and, of course, lots of fun in wellies!

Christopher Gorry, Artistic Director at Spark Arts said:

‘The Spark Festival has always been dedicated to amplifying children’s creative voices and choices across Leicestershire. It, therefore, feels appropriate that in its twentieth year, the festival will not only be focused on entertaining young audiences, but also empowering them - whether that’s by seeing their own lives represented on stage; expressing themselves creatively through one of the festival’s workshops, or by bringing to the stage voices and stories that often go unheard. ‘

As always, children aren’t just the audience.  This year, they’ll be asked to work with artists to take over Leicester’s Cultural Quarter and Belgrave Library, as part of a City Takeover that will include activities, games, and performances devised by children for the whole family to enjoy together. 

Festival Takeover: Working with world-class artists, children from four Leicester schools have let their imaginations run riot and are taking over Curve, Phoenix, and Leicester Museum & Art Gallery.

Belgrave Takeover: Children and families of Belgrave are collaborating with artists to create the best-ever festival of events in Belgrave Library, bringing people together for shared fun and experiences and making memories in the place they live.

Children across the city will also be given the opportunity to get creative and learn new skills, as The Spark turns Leicester into a City Playground with a fun series of workshops and art and craft sessions to be held as part of the festival. From creative writing to funky fashion design, graffiti classes and even spinning some tunes on the DJ decks, the whole city will become a playground of learning and fun.

Bigger and bolder for 2023 is The Spark at Home, a series of digital events designed especially for audiences who experience barriers to accessing venues during the festival. Highlights include Getting Dressed:   a dazzling dance film, which transforms our everyday clothes into celebrations of our individuality, followed by an online workshop where you will have the chance to groove, jump and swirl with your own clothes. Also presented is Sound Symphony, where mesmerising classical music combines with weird and wonderful sounds from your own magic sensory box.  Specifically made for children with Autism, families can explore sounds, textures, and smells together at home.

Tickets for The Spark Festival are on sale now. To book, find out more and see the full programme of activities, visit  The Spark Festival runs from 13th February to 19th February

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