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Saturday 16 May – Sunday 31 May 2015

Introduction This year’s festival features two fun packed weeks of events and activities for children all over the borough. The festival gets off to an action packed start with Meadow Madness on Saturday 16 May, where there will be something for everyone to get involved with on the day. Reading’s Children’s Festival promises to bring plenty of fun, mayhem and madness. From sport and music workshops to fun days with art and craft sessions, take your pick from the many exciting events taking place at venues across Reading. Use this diary as your guide to making sure you don’t miss out on any of the fun, and remember many of these activities are free! For enquiries relating to this publication, call 0118 937 2771.


Meadow Madness Saturday 16 May 2015 11am-4pm

Forbury Gardens, Reading, RG1 3BB

Entertainment Schedule 11am 11:30am Noon 12:30pm 12:50 1:20 1:40

Stuart ‘Flash’ Ashman Waterstones storytelling SHINE Didi Dance Beatroots Bateria Waterstones storytelling Larger than Life ‘Club class’ juggling and uni cycle 2:00pm The Bengali Cultural Society 2:30 TheatreTrain 3:00 3:30

Waterstones The Small Strings

Meadow Madness returns for the twelfth year running as the launch event to Reading Children’s Festival 2015. This year the event takes place in The Forbury Gardens whilst the new pedestrian/cycle bridge over The Thames is being built. The Gardens are the perfect venue for a giant party; children’s entertainment, workshops, stalls, refreshments and lots more. There will be charity and information stalls, including a Health Zone offering advice and fun ways of keeping fit. To start the day’s entertainment Stuart ‘Flash’ Ashman will open the main Arena with a combination of stand-up comedy, juggling, magic, unicycling and parody with lots of audience participation! This year’s Circus theme includes a circus workshop, ring master and walk about from Professor Crump. Standing eight foot tall in his magnificent top hat the professor uses a variety of unusual props and gags. Aided by his stilt-bike, scooters, puppets, rubber


chickens, a plastic dog, giant key, and lots more, he rapidly builds up a humorous rapport with his audience. Balloon modelling this year comes from Aftab Khan a very upbeat clown! The Jelly Crew will be joining us again and will work to create activity based arts and crafts on the theme of circus, creating papier mache circus animals or mini big tops for the children to decorate and take away with them. Waterstones will be hosting some book reading sessions at 1:20 and 3pm. Chosen from a selection of Waterstones Children’s Book prize 2015 nominees and of course the winner’s book ‘Blown Away’ by Rob Biddulph.


Shine Performing Arts creates a difference, by developing the social and communication skills of children and young people through dance, music and drama and will be offering free taster sessions at midday. Reading Refugee Support Group will be holding a series of fun participatory African drumming workshops throughout the day suitable for all ages. The Bengali Cultural Society will be performing music depicting the vivacious colour, costume and traditions of the typical Indian village life in the main Arena at 2pm. Join Theatretrain at 2:30pm. Students from Theatretrain Reading will perform dance pieces from their local performance repertoire as well as moments from their forthcoming new show to be performed at The Royal Albert Hall on Sunday 20th September: ‘How to Make a Hero’.

Tennis Zone – come and have a go at beating one of the professional coaches on our mini tennis court! Set up courtesy of the Great British Tennis Weekend. Also joining in the fun on the day will be, Green Theme Craft, Reading Sea Cadets, Reading Fostering and Adoption Team and Campaign for Real Events. And as if that’s not enough, there will also be a BBQ, children’s funfair rides, free face painting and free balloon modelling all day long!

Meadow Madness

Beatroots Bateria is Reading’s community Samba drumming group. Beatroots is one of the UK’s longest established community samba groups. The group was started in Reading in 1996 and is influenced by the Bahian rhythms of Salvador, Brazil. See them perform at 12.50pm.

The Small Strings formed as a 10 week project in October 2012, and just forgot to stop...! See them perform at 3:30pm as they strum their ukuleles through a quirky mix of pop, rock and soul tunes. Interested in flying one of the world’s smallest kites? Well you’re in luck as Mencap will be on hand to distribute some of these little beauties! Reading Borough Libraries will be on hand with a special ‘Meadow Madness’ bookstart goodies and freebies.

So why not pack up a picnic and make a day of it? We look forward to seeing you there! 0118 937 2771 Follow us on facebook


All events are


Events at

Reading Borough Libraries

Battle Library Storytime for the under Rhymetime for the under 5s 5s

Saturday 16 &23 May 11.30am Tuesday 19 & 26 May 2.15pm Thursday 21 & 28 May 2.15pm Saturday 23 & 30 May 11.30am

Tuesday 19 & 26 May 10.30am Friday 22 & 29 May 10.00am & 11.15am

Polish Rhymetime Monday 18 May 10.30am

Bookworms – book related fun and games Friday 22 May 3.30pm

Circus crafts

Friday 29 May 3.00pm No need to book as open to all children.


Any queries call Battle Library on 0118 901 5100.

Cavarsham Library Storytime for the under 5s Thursday 21 May 2.00pm-2.30pm

Children’s Holiday Craft Session Thursday 28 May 2.15pm-3.15pm Crafty Fun! No need to book as open to all children.

Rhymetime for the under 5s

Tuesday 19 May 10.15am-10.45am & 11.15am & 11.45am* Wednesday 20 May 2.15pm-2.45pm* Tuesday 26 May 10.15am-10.45am & 11.15am & 11.45am* Wednesday 27 May 2.15pm-2.45pm*

Palmer Park Library Storytime for the under 5s Monday 18 May 2.15pm-2.45pm

Make a clown door hanger, a craft session for ages 5+

Rhymetime for the under 5s

Tuesday 19 & 26 May 10.00am-10.30am Friday 22 & 29 May 10.30am & 11.00am

Thursday 28 May 10.30am (limited places so please call in or phone to book a place).*

Under 5s Saturday Craft *Please call to book a Any queries call place at Rhymetime as there are limited numbers. Caversham Library

on 0118 901 5103.

Saturday 30 May 11.30am-12.30pm

*Book through

Palmer Park Library on 0118 901 5106.


Reading Central Library Come and celebrate Alice in Wonderland’s 150th Birthday

Rhymetime for the under 5s

Saturday 16, 23 & 30 May 10.30am Saturday 23 May Monday 18 May 2.00pm-4.00pm 10.30am We will be having Wednesday 20 & 27 May a Mad Hatter Craft 10.30am session and tea party. Thursday 21 & 28 May “Under the Sea” craft 10.30am

session for children 5+ Friday 29 May 10.30am-11.30am Crafty Fun! No need to book as open to all children.


Any queries call Reading Central Library on 0118 901 5950.

Southcote Library Stories with Rhymes for the under 5s


Toddler craft

Toddler tales and songs

Thursday 21 May 9.30am-10.00am Friday 22 May 11.15am (up to 5 years old)

Friday 22 & 29 May 10.30am (booking essential)*

Thursday 28 May 9.30am

Making dinosaurs

Thursday 28 May 10.30am-11.30am A craft activity suitable for children 6-10. Booking essential, parental help will be appreciated!*

*Book through

Southcote Library on 0118 901 5109.

Tilehurst Library Storytime for the under 5s Thursday 21 May 2.30pm-3.00pm

Paper Daleks

Friday 29 May 10.30am-11.30am a craft session for children from 5 years.

Paper Flowers

Thursday 28 May 3.00pm-4.00pm a craft session for children from 5 years. There will be quiz sheets and a ‘Find

the Characters’ hunt available for

the fortnight of the festival.

Rhymetime for the under 5s

Monday 18 May 9.30am-10.00am & 10.45am-11.15am Tuesday 19 May 10.00am-10.30am Friday 22 May 10.30am-11.00am Saturday 23 May 10.30am-11.00am There is a colouring competition for 1-5yrs, 6-9yrs and 10-12yrs from 16 - 30 May.

Prizes for this to be given out to the winners on 1st June.

Any queries call Tilehurst Library on 0118 901 5112.

Whitley Library Storytime for the under 5s Thursday 21 May 2.15pm-2.45pm Saturday 30 May 10.00am-11.00am

Make some paper clowns

Tuesday 19 May 3.30pm-4.30pm for our circus display

All day circus treasure hunt

Rhymetime for the under 5s

Tuesday 19 & 26 May 2.15pm-2.45pm Thursday 21 &28 May 11.15am-11.45am Saturday 23 & 30 May 10.30am-11.00am

Make a clown mask -

Friday 29 May 10.30am-11.30am*how silly will yours be?

Saturday 23 May *Please book your place in advance.

Please contact Whitley Library on 0118 901 5115.


Dragons and other imaginary beasts Saturday 16 May 10.30am - 4.00pm

St Laurence Church Hall, The Forbury, Reading RG1 1DA

Come and help Getting Reading Reading Children’s Book Group celebrate 10 years of promoting reading in Reading! Activities and author talks for 3 - 12 year olds, including dragon making and local author A F Harrold. Booking essential For details of the programme and information email: Suitable for 3–12 years £3


Jelly Studios The Old Uniform Department, Floor 1, Jacksons, 1-9 Kings Road

Off the Grid Saturday 16 May

family art workshop with jelly artists, 1pm-3.30pm £8 per child over 5yrs, £4 for under 5s. Pre-booking recommended as space is limited via

Wednesday 20 May & Wednesday 31 May

Circus themed art workshop For 0-5 yrs, 10.30am-11.30am Your little ones will work with you and jelly artist, Emma in a fun session, freeing up their creativity and taking inspiration from The Circus, celebrating the Children’s Festival 2015. £3 per child. Pre-booking is recommended as space is limited via

Jelly Studios

jelly tots extra Tuesday 26 May

10.30am to 11.30am FREE but booking essential as space is limited via Join the jelly tots pre school art club for this special extra session to help us make flowers for Reading in Bloom. Older siblings welcome. Flowers made in this workshop will go on display in Jacksons for Reading in Bloom competition. FREE but booking essential as space is limited via

Join Jelly artists …

Thursday 28 May

11am to 3pm ... to create papier mâché animals from the circus for Reading’s Children’s Festival. £8 per child. Pre-booking recommended as space is limited via


Beat The Street

Join the whole town in a race to space and take part in a fun walking and cycling game. Everyone is invited. Reading needs you to help walk or cycle together 300,000 miles into space to release money for the Royal Berkshire Cancer Centre! Win LEGO spot prizes for kids and Decathlon prizes for adults, have fun and get moving. One small step for you, one giant leap for Reading! This initiative is run by the NHS North and West and South Reading Clinical Commissioning Groups and Reading Borough Council

How To Play


Pick up a Beat the Street card from your local GP practice, library, museum or Reading Borough Council Leisure Centre from end of April. You can register there as well as online for yourself or as part of a team in order to be in with a chance to win a whole host of prizes. Swipe your card against a Beat Box fitted to 200 lamp posts across Reading, find another and repeat! The Beat Boxes will be across Reading, Woodley, Burghfield, Mortimer, Pangbourne and Theale. Go between Beat Boxes by walking or cycling, swipe your card and each journey takes Reading closer to the target. Registered cards can win a spot prize with a lucky swipe. You can carry on swiping your Beat The Street cards after Children’s Festival is over, right up until the competition finishes on June 24th


For further info or to follow your progress visit alternatively see coverage in the Reading Chronicle.

Any queries email: @BeattheStreet1

Free event at Helen & Douglas House Charity Shop

Rainbow Painting and Poetry Competition 46 West Street (near Primark) RG1 1TZ

16 May –31 May The Great British Tennis Weekend will be coming to Christchurch Meadows for the 16 & 17 May! Offering free tennis and coaching for people of all ages and abilities. It’s the perfect day out for family and friends. Rackets and balls provided, book your free session now! For further information visit:

Calling all painters and poets! Enter our free competition to either paint yourself at the Reading Rainbow Run or write a poem about Rainbows. Visit for more details on the Rainbow Run. Entry is free. You could win free entry to the Reading Rainbow Run on 21st June for your family (2 adults and 2 children) along with lots of other great prizes. Entries can be submitted at any of the Reading Helen & Douglas House shops and you will receive a surprise free gift. Make sure you write your name, age and email address on the back of your entry. Please state if you do not want your entry to be used on social media. The closing date is 31st May 2015. Good luck!


Reading Symphony Orchestra Sunday 17 May 3.30pm

Reading Minster, St Mary’s Butts, Reading

Join Reading Symphony Orchestra to hear Prokofiev’s enchanting tale of Peter and the Wolf - a symphony especially for children. Hear how Peter and his friends, each played by different instruments in the orchestra, bravely catch the big bad wolf who comes out of the forest and gobbles-up Peter’s friend the duck. But don’t worry, if you listen very carefully, you might just hear the duck safe and well at the end... Performance will be narrated by David Barrell. Tickets are £5 adults and £3 for students and under 18s and can be obtained from or the RSO Box Office on 0118 986 0707 or 0118 973 5517.


SHINE Performing Arts Shine Performing Arts create a difference, by developing the social and communication skills of children and young people through dance, music and drama.

s t e a t r wo e e r

Tuesday 19 and 26 May

4–5:30pm, Caversham Health & Fitness

Saturday 16, 23 and 30 May 10am–1pm, St Joseph’s College

SHINE will be offering a 20% discount on the terms fee’s for anyone who joins SHINE during the Children’s Festival. For 4–12 yrs. Call 0791 2289 1777 for details.

Come and try canoeing


during the children’s festival:


FFREE taster workshops r

25, 26 & 27 May

10am–4pm (1 hour sessions)

Reading Canoe Club, The Warren Caversham RG4 7TH

These ever popular “have a go” sessions return to the children’s festival in 2015.This is your chance to take part in an hour long paddling session. remember to bring a towel, a change of clothes and sun cream if it is a sunny day. Free event. Booking essential. Suitable for children aged between 9-16 years 07580780961


The Hexagon

Abracadabra! Noisy Kids casts its spell over The Hexagon with a magical and mysterious family concert. The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, introduced by its very own conjurer, Tim Steiner, presents a fun and interactive performance full of hocus pocus and wizardry. This concert provides an excellent introduction to classical music with a selection of enchanting favourites.

Saturday 23 May, 11.30am Tickets: Adults £9.50 Children £7.50 Family £27 Groups £6.50


Includes music from: Harry Potter ~ Pictures at an Exhibition ~ The Magic Flute ~ Danse Macabre ~ The Nutcracker ~ Pirates of the Caribbean... and many more.... plus FREE post-concert foyer activities. The Cafe will be open for lunches, hot & cold drinks, cakes and biscuits. Tel: 0118 960 6060

Reading Arts & Venues - Supporting Education in the Arts

The Hexagon



Sunday 31 May, 11am & 3pm Saturday 18 July, 11am & 3pm (JUST ANNOUNCED)

Singalonga Productions are delighted to announce that Disney’s Frozen is the new Singalonga must see! All the usual suspects of lyrics on screen to sing along with together with a live host and a magic moments fun pack so that you can interact with the movie. The host will show you how to use the fun pack and then just sit back and ‘Let it Go’! YOU the audience are the stars!

Remember to dress up as your favourite character for the fancy dress competition and who wouldn’t want to be a Snow Queen for the day or Olaf the snowman, the coolest iceman ever! It’s the most popular comedy-adventure to hit the big screen this year and add the fairydust of Singalonga and you are guaranteed a great time. Come on an epic journey to find Anna’s sister Elsa, the Snow Queen and put an end to her icy spell. Sooooo ‘do you wanna build a snowman…..?’

Please note that this is a special screening of the film with subtitles so you can sing along and not a stage production Tickets £16, U16s £11.20 Tel: 0118 960 6060



at Reading Museum THE SIR JOHN MADEJSKI ART GALLERY Thames Stories Objects from the museum’s art and archaeology collections tell tales and answer questions about the River Thames. Has the river always been where it is today? What has been found in the Thames and by whom? Why have so many artists made paintings of Caversham Bridge? Most of the objects were found in the non-tidal Thames between Lechlade and Teddington. They include mysteries and surprises from the Stone Age to the present day. Enjoy our Thames stories and join in the related events and talks.


Exhibition continues until October 4th 2015.

May Half Term

at Reading Museum

Activity Cart

Visit us throughout the holidays and enjoy a range of craft activities Free, drop in*

Tuesday 26 May

Riverbed Fossils

Use clay and plaster to create your own riverbed fossil in this fun hands-on activity. Ages 5+, Families, 1-hour sessions starting at 10am, 11.15am, 1pm & 2.15pm ÂŁ3, pay on the day, drop in*

Don’t miss our Bank Holiday Monday opening! Tuesday 26 May

Victorian Schoolroom Experience

Meet a Victorian schoolteacher and re-learn the ‘3Rs’. A 45-minute experience for adults and children over 5 in our unique Victorian classroom. 11.30am, 1.15pm & 2.30pm £1 per person, drop in (35 places max per session)*

Wednesday 27 May

Make & Take: Iron Age Jewellery

Thursday 29 May

Assistant Curators: Natural History

A unique chance to handle animal skulls and other items from our natural history collection and learn more about how curators investigate objects. Then head back to our activity room to model your own fantastic skull to take away. Please note that children are dropped off for our booked activities. Ages 7+, 2-hour sessions starting at 10am & 1pm £7, booking essential (0118 937 3400)

Make your own brilliant brooch that could have been worn by the Iron Age Celts. Families, half-hour sessions between 10am – 12pm & 1pm – 3pm £1, pay on the day, drop in*

*Our drop-ins are very popular. Please be aware that we have limited capacity for events in the museum


Thames Rivercruise Drumming & Story Telling Monday 25 – Friday 29 May

Thameside Promenade, off Richfield Avenue, Caversham

Thames Rivercruise are offering FREE boat trips for accompanied children aged 0-16 years during the half term week of Children’s Festival on the following trips.

30 Minute Round Cruises

Departing from Thameside Promenade, Caversham at the following times: 12 noon, 12.45pm, 3.30pm and 4.15pm Adult: £5.50 / OAP: £5.00 / Children go FREE with this brochure*

Thursday 21 May 4.30pm - 6.00pm

Apollo Club, Mapp Centre, 22 Mount Pleasant RG1 2TD

Professional story telling of the famous Anansi – the spider stories. An enjoyable experience for both children and adults.

80 Minute Round Cruise

Departing from Thameside Promenade, Caversham at the following time: 2.00 pm Adult: £8.50 / OAP: £8.00 / Children go FREE with this brochure* * Children must be accompanied by a full fare paying adult. One child can travel free per full fare paying adult.

For more information or to request a brochure please contact Thames Rivercruise. 0118 948 1088. 20

Entry £1.00, pre- booking is recommended 0118 916 8417

Mini Soccer and Soccer Skills courses Reading Sports and Leisure Spring Half Term Sessions

Tuesday 26 & Wednesday 27 May 10.00am - 12noon 5 to 7 years, ÂŁ6 per child per day 10.00am to 3.00pm 8 to 12 years, ÂŁ12 per child per day Palmer Park Sports Stadium

Our Mini Soccer and Soccer Skills courses, coached by Reading Football Club, run during the Spring school holidays at Palmer Park Sports Stadium. The courses are full of action with lots of drills and skills. Participants receive free goody bags and a junior ticket for a home game! Please book in advance 0118 937 5080


Daddy’s Drum Club Saturday 23 May 2015 from 11.00am

Readipop Studios

A fun and informal session of rhythm and song aimed at the under 5s. Daddy’s Drum Club includes a 40 minute structured workshop featuring rhythm games, movement, simple songs and imaginative activities based around learning to play drums and percussion. The workshop is very informal, allowing children to actively join in or just listen, dance or move about if they prefer. The workshop is followed by a further 20 minutes of free play so children can spend time exploring or just banging away on our wide selection of drums, drum kits and some electronic percussion. Mums are also welcome! £6 adults £3 children Tickets via


Children’s Festival

Sports Challenge Day FRE E

Saturday 30 May 2015 10am – 3pm

Rivermead Leisure Complex, Richfield Avenue, RG1 8EQ

As part of the London 2012 Olympic legacy we have teamed up with Reading Borough Council/ Reading Post/ Reading’s Cultural Partnership and the Reading Sports Awards and a number of local clubs to offer you the chance to try some of the sports FREE of charge. Football, Swimming, Cycling, Basketball amongst other sessions have all been laid on for you to get a taste of what training for an Olympic Sport is like! The sessions are absolutely free and will be taken by fully qualified coaches. Who knows, it might be your first step towards to competing in the 2020 games.

Every part of the Rivermead will be used, from swimming in the pool to challenges in the gym. There will be free swimming for children throughout the day when accompanied by a full paying adult. Very young children will be kept entertained at the toddler fun time.

A special certificate and prize from the Mayor of Reading will be awarded to those who complete the Sports Inspiration Day Challenge by taking part in four activity sessions. Some sessions are pre-bookable, please visit for further information or keep an eye out for information in the Reading Chronicle. For more information contact 0118 937 2771 or visit


Celebrate Reading Children’s Festival at Waterstones Reading Broad Street

Short Story Competition Saturday 10 May – Sunday 31 May Calling all budding authors – celebrate Reading Children’s Festival with our short story competition! Are you the next John Green, Lauren St. John or David Walliams? Why not try your hand at our short story competition? You could win a £10 Waterstones voucher! There are two age categories: 5-12 years with a 250 word limit and teen, 13-19 years with a 500 word limit. There are no restrictions on topic, theme or style – so let your imagination run wild and the ink flow!


Entries can be emailed to or or posted in the Short Story Competition Post Box at the till point in Waterstones in either Reading Broad Street or The Oracle. Please write your name, age and contact details on each entry. Closing Date for this competition is Sunday 31 May 2015. Good luck!

Waterstones Reading Broad Street,89a Broad Street, Reading, RG1 2AP Further details: 0118 9581270 or on our website

Getting Around

During Children’s Festival

For an easy, great value way of getting around during the Children’s Festival, get the bus! The Reading Buses group ticket has been designed with families in mind – up to four people get unlimited day’s travel in Reading for just £5 on weekends and school holidays! And at all other times, it’s still just £8! Any combination of up to four people can use it, adults, children or both! And remember, under 5’s travel for free.


Visit to check out which route you need to get you to all your favourite Children’s Festival events – all their buses go to the town centre, making it easy to change between routes too. All Reading Buses vehicles are low-floor and fully accessible with dedicated wheelchairs and buggy bays, so if there is space on the bus, you won’t need to fold down your pushchair or buggy! Don’t forget that Readibus provides an excellent service for people who find it difficult to use public transport. Call them on 0118 931 0000 to book or for details of special excursions, alternatively, visit

Reading’s Parks, Playgrounds and open spaces are great places

to visit…

Reading boasts some beautiful open spaces - some of them in the middle of busy places, others sit on the banks of the river, and with all the play parks as well, they make a great venue for free Children’s Festival entertainment!

Play in the Park There are over 50 play parks across the borough, ranging from the large play areas at Christchurch Meadows and Palmer Park to small local play parks within housing estates. That means whether you want to pop to the local park or pack up a picnic and make a day of it, there is a park that fits the bill! The full list of these parks can be found by visiting




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Children's Festival Guide 2015  
Children's Festival Guide 2015