The Southbank Centre

Sparking children’s imaginations

The Imagine Children’s Festival has been inspiring inquisitive minds for over two decades. Each February half term, London’s Southbank Centre is transformed into a 10-day celebration of dance, music, comedy, literature, crafts and other creative activities for young people. We’ll be helping fund the 2024 festival, which will include a whole host of free events, performances, and activities.

The festival is aimed at children aged between 0 and 11 and their grown-ups. There are author talks, interactive musical shows and a colourful family art trail around the Southbank Centre’s 11-acre site. Last year, around 13,000 people completed the trail. Artists with learning disabilities and autistic people will design the trail for Imagine 2024.

  • The Southbank Centre expects up to 130,000 visitors during the 2024 Imagine Festival – up from an estimated 115,000 in 2023.
  • Up to 50% of the Imagine festival’s 200 events will be free of charge.
  • In 2022/23, the Southbank Centre worked with 305 school groups on site – around 4,600 children and 658 teachers.

Making art and culture accessible

Imagine is a ‘relaxed festival’. This means all performances have a relaxed approach to noise and audiences can come and go as they need. Many events will have British Sign Language and Makaton translators, and the festival will provide noise-cancelling headphones for children and adults who want them.

Every day of the festival, there will be free events on offer. This is part of the Southbank Centre’s commitment to ‘being open to everyone and accessible to all’, including groups who tend not to take part in the arts because of economic disadvantage and disability. One visitor to the 2023 Imagine festival said that the best thing about it was “watching my child feel comfortable to be herself in an arts venue”.

“There was a pop-up book stall, which sold books written by and about people of colour. We met two of the authors and even purchased their books. I found this a lovely and fortunate experience for my daughter and myself, as we wouldn’t have seen this near our home.”

Previous Imagine festival visitor

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