Nine shows, three Family Fun Days and activities galore are packed into four fun-filled months at Z-arts!

Brazilian Rhythms, Kids’ Jazz Clubs, a region-wide festival of brilliant children’s theatre and a Big Bad Wolf bring 2017 to a captivating close at Z-arts this Autumn…

The days may be getting shorter, but Z-arts’ upcoming programme is doing the opposite! With nine fantastic theatre shows and children’s classes every day of the week Z-arts’ dazzling line-up is the perfect antidote for those who aren’t quite ready to say goodbye to the sunshine!

The fun kicks off on Sunday 10 September at Manchester Central Library for a celebration of family across the generations. Central Library will transform into an action-packed arts hub with activities from Manchester Family Arts venues Z-arts, Manchester Museum, The People’s History Museum, Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester Literature Festival and Manchester Children’s Book Festival.

Then it’s back to Z-arts on Wednesday 13 September to the phizz-wizzing, whoopsy-wiffling world of Roald Dahl with a special Roald Dahl Day Film Club Special before one of Z-arts’ signature Family Fun Days follows on Saturday 16 September! They’ll be launching their new season and showcasing the amazing shows, activities and events happening up until Christmas. Pop down, meet the team and help to jump-start four magical months of fun!

The theatre programme kicks off the following weekend with Goblin’s Peter & the Wolf. Inspired by Prokoviev’s classic, this is Peter and the Wolf as you’ve never seen it before. Join Peter on a hilarious adventure through the fields and forest as he discovers new sounds and noises. With animal antics involving birds, ducks, cats, wolves and musical vegetables, this original show features multi-instrumental live music combined with imaginative puppetry which will have children jumping for joy.

Continuing their inspiring theatre season, Z-arts is excited to announce the launch of the Big Imaginations Festival (19 October – 5 November). The festivities will begin with a Big Imaginations Festival Family Fun Day (Sat 2 October). As well as discovering more about the fantastic shows on offer will be a whole host of arts activities, workshops and storytelling happening throughout the day, no booking required, just turn up! With an incredible mix of regional, national and international artists and performers, the Big Imaginations festival promises fantastic fun for families, transporting them to lands full of fairy tales (good and bad), amazing light shows, music from around the world, beautiful puppetry and ancient fables. There is plenty on offer across the region, visit to find out more.

The first show in Z-arts’ festival programme is the North West premiere of Child of the Divide (20 October) a poignant and compelling story of friendship, belonging, love and loss marking the 70th anniversary of the partition of India. Tales of Birbal (4 November) takes audiences on a journey around the world, using puppetry, humour (and the occasional fake beard!) to share the glorious richness and zest of traditional fables that have been treasured for generations.

For families who like to get their toes tapping, Brazilian Musician Adriano Adewale’s Catapluf’s Musical Journey (21 October) carries audiences on the wings of harmony and rhythm across the globe, creating a wonderful adventure where, in the hands of a team of talented musicians, everything is an instrument, from saxophones to saucepans, a once in a lifetime experience to see this fantastic Brazilian artist in this show specially made with children in mind. Continuing with a smooth groove, Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year 2014 Arun Ghosh presents Big Imaginations Jazz Club (26 October), a special theatrical gig for young children and their families, taking you on journeys along rivers, through mountains and into the heart of the city. Arun’s melodies and rhythms draw together jazz, hip-hop and South Asian music, with clarinet, double-bass and the dazzling, percussive sounds of the tabla.

There’s something for tinier tots too! Little Angel Theatre mix puppetry, live music and song in Handa’s Surprise (22 October), a vibrant story of a little girl in Kenya taking different fruits past a few mischievous animals to surprise her best friend. Come and share in the magical tangerine surprise!

And for those who like their tales a bit more gruesome, award-winning performance poet Joseph Coelho freshens up familiar children’s stories in his Fairytales Gone Bad, with two performances designed for children of different ages, Grannylocks/The Monstrous Duckling (28 October) is aimed especially for children aged 3+ whilst Zombie-rella/Blood Red Hood (28 October) is aimed at children aged 6+. Both performances use Joseph’s unique storytelling style to unwind the true stories behind the happily-ever-afters which are maybe not as charming as you remember.

And the tales don’t get any more traditional as the Festival ends and the festive season draws in, Z-arts will be embracing the most wonderful time of the year with a Festive Fairytale Fun Day (Sat 2 December) before welcoming in their Christmas show…

Do not leave the path, for you’d make a tasty treat!

For the hungriest wolf of all, who is ready to eat!

Little Red & the Big Bad Wolf (Fri 8-Sat 16 December), a bold re-telling of the well-known classic, explores the thrill of unknown adventure versus the security of the path and just how irresistible straying from safety can be. This sharp production packed with music, dance and song questions the tension between mankind and nature, are the wolves really the villains in a world where the woodcutter is destroying the forest? Is Grandma the trophy hunter as sick as she seems? Join Z-arts for a festive-themed Art Cart before all shows, grab an ice-cream and a drink in the interval and keep little hands happy on the journey home with a free goody bag with every children’s ticket!

If you’ve still not had your fill, don’t forget Z-arts weekly Bright Sparks Activities! Z-arts family membership scheme continues to grow and now includes ballet, tap, street dance, drama, film-making, music, language and visual arts classes, all for children aged 0 – 16. For our tinier, toddling members we have activities every Monday morning, and if it’s family activities you’re after, pop along to Lego Café every Friday afternoon or dig in and get messy at Mix It Up Families, a Saturday family art class led by Z-arts’ professional facilitators.

Bright Sparks is a membership scheme that supports creative learning for children and families, just £15 a year gives access to Z-arts’ programme of activities all year round. New members can join online, over the phone or in person at the Box Office.

Z-arts look forward to welcoming you through their doors this summer. Pop in or give box office a call on 0161 232 6089 to find out more about this fun-filled season which packs enough punch to fend off any post-summer blues!


For further information, images, or for interview / press review ticket requests, please contact Laura Stevens at or 07715 976 388.

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