Family friendly events at IF: Milton Keynes International Festival - Destination Milton Keynes
Family friendly events at IF: Milton Keynes International Festival

Family friendly events at IF: Milton Keynes International Festival

The UK premiere of an interactive fairground village…a ‘colouring book’ made of sand moving through the city…an outdoor opera based on a much-loved childens’ book…names from CBeebies and CITV…comedy, concerts and a family rave…

Families and children have always been at the heart of the programme for IF: Milton Keynes International Festival, Milton Keynes’ much-loved summer festival. From 21 to 30 July, unusual places and spaces in Milton Keynes and beyond will be transformed by family friendly installations, performance, comedy and concerts, much of it free or deliberately low cost, all of it guaranteed to create unforgettable memories.

For three days from Friday 21 to Sunday 23 July, Belgian company De Machienerie give the UK premiere of Carnivale – an ingenious, interactive ‘fairground village’ – at Festival Central in Campbell Park. It is a wondrous fantasy world of ecological wonder, full of extraordinary installations, curiosities, mechanical animals and attractions. By reflecting on the inventions and innovations of the past, Carnivale makes a poetic and powerful environmental statement about how animals are now threatened with extinction. Trailer:

From Friday 21 to Sunday 23 July, Gijs van Bon’s computer ‘sandwriter’ Blom will appear at various city centre locations. Slowly moving backwards, Blom draws an outline of a carpet of flowers on the ground. Families and passers-by are invited to fill small buckets with coloured sand and use it to colour in the drawings. Trailer:

Following the success of his CBeebies show, The Nick Cope Family Concert make a Festival debut in the iconic Spiegeltent at lunchtime on Saturday 22 July. For audiences of 2 years and upwards, Nick performs a one-hour acoustic set of his own distinctive songs with guitar and beautifully-animated projections. Trailer:

The Festival’s final weekend is packed full of activity…

From Friday 28 to Sunday 30 July, Catalonian street arts company Tombs Creatius are in Festival Central in Campbell Park Plateau. Monster Colours is a colourful collection of 25 large wooden artisan games guaranteed to entertain the whole family, challenging their puzzle-solving, coordination and teamwork! Trailer:

Belgium’s Sur Mesure set up Barrière in a city centre location and on Festival Central in Campbell Park from Friday 28 to Sunday 30 July. This curious old mechanical barrier becomes a stage where four street artists – musicians, singers, acrobats – draw audiences young and old into a surreal world without doors, full of humour and mischief. Trailer:

Family-friendly comedy comes to the Spiegeltent on Saturday 29 July with Comedy Club 4 Kids. Since 2005, the Comedy Club 4 Kids has been getting the best stand-ups and sketch acts from the international circuit to do their thing for an audience of children (aged 6+) and their families… but without the rude bits! This year’s line-up is cabaret star Ada Campe, Bec Hill from CITV’s Makeaway Takeaway and Tiernan Douieb as MC. Trailer:

Mimbre and Daryl & Co’s Look Mum, No Hands! comes to the MK Rose in Campbell Park on Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 July. A tender tale of friendship and growing up, Look Mum, No Hands!  is a coming-of-age story about two friends testing their own boundaries. One in a wheelchair, one without, together they explore freedom, taking risks and independence. Using striking physical imagery, acrobatic shapes and unexpected choreography, the two friends gently push the boundaries of what is possible until together they find the perfect balance of each of their limits. Trailer:

On Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 July in Campbell Park are two shows from contemporary circus and outdoor theatre company Dizzy O’Dare. Falconry Dismay on 29 July is an anarchic and wild flight into the world of falconry shows. These majestic birds of prey are portrayed by some very silly individuals while their expert handler holds tight to the tethers in this funny raucous show. Trailer: Kevin Tickle’s Dogs! sees Kevin walking the audience though categories such as Best in Show, Best Bitch and the ever-unpredictable Open Class, featuring bombastic breeds and classy canines. Expect theatrics and hijinks, acrobatic feats and impressive skills from daring dogs.

Inspired by the much-loved children’s story, Handpicked Productions’ The Promise is at at Great Linford Manor Park Canalside Dean on Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 July. Part outdoor opera, part environmental event, The Promise is an inspiring multi-dimensional piece of family storytelling which places community at its heart. It tells the story of a lost girl who finds herself. Her transformation – and that of the city and people surrounding her through the seeds she plants – encourages the audience to come together to take personal and collective action on the climate crisis. Trailer:

On Sunday 30 July is the award-winning, family rave sensation, Big Fish Little Fish, bringing the tunes to the family massive with an old skool drum & bass and jungle set from DJ Raks. A multi-sensory dancefloor is filled with bubbles, balloons, snow foam, smoke rings and topped off with a giant parachute finale. When the younger ravers need a break craft activity and a homemade playdough table are on hand. Trailer: