FOR the third year running, children will play a major role in the organising and running of a South London arts festival.
Now in its 14th year, the Imagine Children's Festival will take over the Southbank Centre for two weeks next month.
It will be transformed by children for children and will feature some of the top names in children's literature, dance, theatre and art.
Among those taking part will be Russell Brand, Helen Skelton, Philip Ardagh, Cerrie Burnell, Sir Simon Rattle, Judith Kerr, Charlie and Lola, Lauren Child, Anthony Horowitz and Axel Scheffler.
This year more than half the programme will be free of charge, offering all families and schools access to literature, music, theatre, poetry, dance, interactive installations, workshops and everything in between.
Children are at the heart of Imagine’s programming with the Festival Ideas Cloud, a panel of children from South London schools who help the organisers decide the key issues to be discussed and fun activities to be featured.
For the first time this year, Festival Ideas Cloud will be asking the political question ‘What Would I do as Prime Minister for the Day’ by hosting their own Question Time.
They have also created a magazine, exploring the same topic, which will be available for free around the Southbank Centre site.
Among this year's other highlights is a presentation by Russell Brand and Chris Riddell, about their children’s book The Pied Piper of Hamelin. the London premiere of a brand new production of Brundibár the renowned children's opera by Hans Krása, originally performed by the children of Theresienstadt concentration camp in Czechoslovakia, performed by Mahogany Opera Group and afree family concert, with the Young Orchestra for London, conducted by Sir Simon Rattle
on The Clore Ballroom.
The Kids Takeover will take place during the week beginning February 16. Children will once again be in charge of several site operations including managing the day-to-day running of the festival, selling programmes, assisting light technicians, making intercom announcements and ensuring shows start on time.
There will also be two days when kids are invited to dress up, as animals for Animal Parade Day (16 February) and as characters from Alice in Wonderland for Down The Rabbit Hole Day (20 February).
Southbank Centre's artistic director Jude Kelly said: "Southbank Centre's Imagine Festival 2015 inspires authors, theatre companies and artists to ensure that children and young people are regarded as the most important audiences and cultural thinkers.
"We believe that by giving young people the chance to shape the culture they grow up with and share their ideas with their friends, schools and families their creativity will be given a platform that can influence all of us."
Southbank Centre's Imagine Festival 2015 takes place between Monday, February 9 and Sunday, February 22. Visit www.southbankcentre.co.uk for full listings and call the box office 0844 847 9910 for tickets.