Big Fun Festival - THSH celebrate the first national Family Arts Festival


Five days of family events this October half-term, part of the first national Family Arts Festival
Daily free events in Symphony Hall’s Café Bar
Ticketed events at Town Hall include Mr Big Plays Jazz, Dinosaur Zoo and Lydia Monks’ Big Draw
Special previews give audiences a sneak peek of Christmas show What the Ladybird Heard

This October half term, Town Hall and Symphony Hall Birmingham (THSH) are staging their first Big Fun Festival. Part of the first national Family Arts Festival, the five day extravaganza (Saturday 26 – Wednesday 30 October) will feature a wide range of family-focused activities including music, comedy and storytelling.

Throughout the week there will be daily free events taking place in Symphony Hall’s Café Bar, whilst over at Town Hall there are appearances from dinosaurs in Dinosaur Zoo (Tuesday 29 October), and a jazz-loving gorilla in Mr Big Plays Jazz (Wednesday 30 October), as well as illustrator Lydia Monks (The Big Draw, Wednesday 30 October) and comedian James Cameron (Comedy 4 Kids, Wednesday 30 October).

Dinosaurs, drawing and more at Town Hall!

Direct from Australia, Erth’sDinosaur Zoo Live brings prehistoric creatures to life through ingenious puppetry. On Tuesday 29 October (11.30am & 2pm), audiences will be able to get up close and personal with extraordinary life-like dinosaurs, from cute babies to the gigantic Australovenator, during the show, and at meet and greet sessions, on Town Hall’s stage directly after each performance.

Wednesday’s Town Hall events are a celebration of pencil and paper, part of The Big Draw, and everyone is encouraged to join in! Illustrator Ed Vere is joined by the Neil Cowley Trio for a unique performance which brings his book, Mr Big Plays Jazz (Wednesday 30 October, 11am & 1.30pm) – the story of a lonely gorilla who finds fun and friendship through music – brought to life through live jazz and illustration. On the same day, Lydia Monks will be reading from some of her children’s books, including Julia Donaldson’s What the Ladybird Heard, before teaching everyone how to draw animals themselves (3.30pm).

Free family entertainment in Symphony Hall’s Café Bar

Throughout the week, free events will take place daily in the relaxed surroundings of Symphony Hall’s Café Bar – from a retelling of a family favourite in The Three Billy Pigs, to puppetry and music from Macamu, and a special Musical Picnic from acclaimed Birmingham saxophonist and MC Soweto Kinch.

There will also be the chance for audiences to see a short snippet of the brand new production What The Ladybird Heard, which will be at Town Hall this Christmas. Adapted from Julia Donaldson’s book of the same name, mini previews will be taking place on Sunday 28 October in the Café Bar (11am) , as well as in Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery’s exhibition ‘A Squash and a Squeeze: Sharing Stories with Julia Donaldson’.

Activities from BCMG & the CBSO

On Sunday 27 October, Symphony Hall’s resident orchestra, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, present CBSO Family Concert: The Great Enormo (2.30pm, Symphony Hall). During the week there are also opportunities for young musicians to work with Birmingham Contemporary Music Group to produce their own compositions in free Family Music Maze & Zigzag Ensemble Workshops (Wednesday 30 October, 10am – 2.30pm, starting at Symphony Hall’s Café Bar).

The Big Fun Festival is part of the first national Family Arts Festival. The two week campaign (Friday 18 October – Sunday 3 November), which takes place during the October half-term holidays, offers families across the UK the chance to view and join in with music, theatre, dance, visual arts and more.

The Big Fun Festival takes place from Saturday 26 – Sunday 30 October 2013 at Town Hall & Symphony Hall. Tickets for paid events can be purchased from 0121 780 3333 or online at


NOTES TO EDITORS #bigfunfest

Town Hall & Symphony Hall Box Office
0121 780 3333

*A £2.50 fee per transaction will be charged on all bookings, except purchases made in person at the Town Hall or Symphony Hall Box Office. A further charge of £1 will be applied for postage if required.


Saturday 26 – Wednesday 30 October, Town Hall & Symphony Hall

Saturday 26 October, 10.30am, Symphony Hall Café Bar
Free event

Saturday 26 October, 2pm, Symphony Hall Café Bar
Free event

Sunday 27 October, 10.30am, Symphony Hall Café Bar & 1pm, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
Free event

Sunday 27 October, 2.30pm, Symphony Hall
£10, £32*

Monday 28 October, 10.30am, Symphony Hall Café Bar
Free event

Monday 28 October, 1.30pm, Symphony Hall Café Bar
Free event

Tuesday 29 October, 11.30am & 2pm, Town Hall Birmingham
£12.50, £15*

Tuesday 29 October, 12.45pm & 3.30pm, Symphony Hall Café Bar
Free event

With Birmingham Contemporary Music Group
Wednesday 30 October, 10am – 2.30pm, Symphony Hall Café Bar
Free event

Wednesday 30 October, 11am & 1.30pm, Town Hall Birmingham

Wednesday 30 October, 3.30pm, Town Hall Birmingham
£5* or free for ticketholders of Mr Big Plays Jazz

Wednesday 30 October, 7pm, Town Hall Birmingham


Friday 20 December 2013 – Friday 10 January 2014, various times, Town Hall Birmingham

Town Hall and Symphony Hall are managed together by Performances Birmingham Limited, a Registered Charity No 1053937. Between them, the two halls present an exciting and varied programme of over 600 concerts and events a year, connecting people of all ages and backgrounds to music from jazz, folk, world, roots and classical, to rock and pop. Over 500,000 people visit Town Hall and Symphony Hall annually, and almost 12,000 young people and 6,000 adults participate in the thriving Education and Community programme.

Funded by Birmingham City Council
Supported using public funding by Arts Council England

Town Hall Birmingham re-opened in October 2007 following a £35m renovation funded by Birmingham City Council (£18.3m), Heritage Lottery Fund (£13.7m), European Regional Development Fund (£3m).

Media Enquiries
Fiona Fraser/Lyle Bignon/Abi Barrington
Communications Manager/Assistant Communications Manager/Communications Assistant
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T 0121 644 5008/0121 644 6028/0121 644 6078 (Direct)

Issued 5 September 2013