Midsummer Dreams theatre festival offers perfect start to school holidays

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A theatre and arts festival for families is taking place on the Dartington Hall Estate this weekend, which is the start of the school summer holidays.

Midsummer Dreams Festival is a weekend of theatre, puppetry, comedy, circus and music and it kicks off early on Saturday, July 22, at 10am in Space Studios and Dartington’s gardens with a welcome from the mystical fairies Titania and Oberon who will be there to guide you throughout the day.

You can begin your day with an energising family dance class with Dance in Devon. Local artists from Wild Toy Theatre will be first to entertain with the Fisher-Knight’s Tale, ideal for ages five and over.If musical theatre is more your thing, then you can enjoy a free show from local performing arts students from PQA in Torbay.

The afternoon unfolds with interactive fairytales including Alice in Wonderland, Sinbad the Sailor and The Tinder Box perfect for little ones under nine. For those wanting a bit more of a show the fantastic Finger and Thumb Theatre company are returning to the festival from London and will be performing Shadowplay, an incredible light show all performed through hand shadow puppetry. There is even a chance to learn how to make your own shadow puppetry with a workshop for big hands and little hands after the show.

In between events why not go for a stroll in the beautiful Grade II* listed gardens – you may even stumble upon the Tintagel Storyteller telling free stories. Unwind Saturday afternoon with the lulling melodies of local folk artist Tim Jones who will be joined from musicians from the Crow Puppets.

On Sunday the magical creature Puck will be eager to entertain and inspire you once more. Begin the day with a family yoga class or why not try making your own puppet? You can expect lots more family shows including The Ugly Duckling by local theatre company Above Bounds.

In the afternoon why not try learning something new like Bollywood–style dancing, juggling, unicycling, stilt-walking, diablo-throwing, plate-spinning, devil-stick-manipulating, or poi-swinging? Or if you just fancy watching professionals the all new Circus Berzercus double-act from Devon will be ready to entertain all ages.

Throughout the weekend you can step inside Uncle Tacko’s Imaginarium and enter a magical world where anything can happen. Fun for all the family as Uncle Tacko’s Incredible Flea Circus and Isabella’s Story Bicycle dazzle and delight you with fabulous tales and acts of derring-do. Meet colourful characters, whack the Dom-Tink! and enjoy a variety of shows inside this colourful side show booth. And what better way to end the weekend than with Dartington’s very own Morris Men dancing in the afternoon?

Entrance to the festival is free and tickets for individual shows are available at the Dartington Box Office online or by phone on 01803 847070 (open 12.30pm to 7pm).

Read next: What’s it REALLY like under the circus Big Top?

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