THE Little Feet Festival of Children’s Theatre returns to York Theatre Royal from Tuesday to Saturday in a party mood.

Dinosaurs, cloud spotters, puppets, robots and a scrumptious new musical adaptation of Michael Rosen’s Chocolate Cake are all part of the fun and games of a packed programme mounted by the Theatre Royal and Leeds company Tutti Frutti.

As well as shows in the main house and the Studio, the theatre foyer will be transformed into a playful wonderland of fun, suitable for children's birthday parties.

"This is the fifth festival since we started in 2010 – it's held every two years – and we've tried slightly different things each time," says Theatre Royal associate director Juliet Forster.

"The first year we did it, it was combined with the Early Years Festival that Colin Jackson ran, and it was a slightly more international festival for the first two years when we had funding for that.

"We've also had themes for the festivals, space one time, water another, and this year we've gone for chocolate, parties and celebrations, so we're completely doing over the foyer on that theme, with party games too. You can even book your child's birthday party, so how lovely to be able to come to a show and have your party here!"

The five-day festival will provide shows and activities for everyone aged nought to 12. "We take pride in making and presenting theatre for children that is as high quality as our work for adult audiences," says Juliet, in a break from directing rehearsals of A Midsummer Night's Dream for this summer's Shakespeare's Rose Theatre in York.

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Clinging on: a dramatic moment in Dinosaur World Live

"The Little Feet Festival is a chance for families to see the best children’s theatre touring the UK, with meaningful themes that are dealt with in wonderful ways and beautifully written, joyous pieces for all the family to come and enjoy together. As usual, we'll be transforming our venue into a welcoming space for families to enjoy, whether coming to see a show, take part in an activity or just to spend time in a fun and child-friendly venue in the city centre."

Among the highlights, Juliet picks out Daryl Beeton's A Square World, where three friends decide to redefine the rules of the square world where they live. "I saw it at Take Off, held at Durham last October, and I loved it so much I booked it for Little Feet," she says.

"I also saw Daniel Bye's Error 404 at Take Off; he was the philosopher in residence at a primary school in London, where he asked children challenging questions about robots and what makes us human and whether robots can be our friends, and this really exciting show is the result."

In a new development, the festival is expanding in partnership with Tutti Frutti and the Carriageworks Theatre in Leeds, where a second week of the Little Feet Children's Festival will run from June 13 to 16, with further details to be found at

"This is the first time we've expanded to anywhere else, taking the brand and delivering it there, and again the building will be decorated specially for the festival," says Juliet.

Little Feet Children's Festival runs at York Theatre Royal from June 12 to 16; box office, 01904 623568 or at To enquire about holding a child's birthday party in the foyer, please contact

York Press:

Mud Pie Arts in Cloud Tales

What's on at Little Feet Festival of Children's Theatre

June 12, Inside, in the main house; 11.45am, age one to two and a half; 1.30pm, age two and a half to four.

What's Coming Out Of The Box presents an immersive, intimate and interactive journey from conception to birth, featuring multi-sensory theatre, puppetry and sound-making.

June 12, Mud Pie Arts in Cloud Tales, Studio, 1pm and 4.30pm, for age three to eight.

Meet two cloud spotters, who know clouds love to tell silly stories to each other, but clouds do drift off. Come and help Mud Pie Arts finish the cloud tales and become a cloud spotter too.

June 13, Me And My Bee, Studio, 11am and 1pm, for age five upwards.

Climate change is massive; bees aren’t. Award winning company ThisEgg invite you to save the world, one bee at a time, in a new family comedy for children and adults alike.

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Michael Rosen's Chocolate Cake: two shows on June 16

June 13, 1.30pm and 4.30pm, and June 14, 10.30am and 4.30pm, Dinosaur World Live, main house, for age three upwards.

Grab your compass and join Nicoll Entertainment's intrepid explorer across uncharted territories to discover a pre-historic world of astonishing and remarkably life-like dinosaurs in this new interactive family show.

June 14, Sh...Bang!, Studio, 11am and 1pm, for age three plus.

Two characters set out on a journey through a world of Boings, Whooshes and Tick-Tocks in Peut-Etre Theatre's delicate theatre-dance performance for children and their families, playfully exploring sound and silence.

June 15. A Square World, Studio, 11am, 1.30pm and 6pm, for age three to six.

Three friends decide to change the rules of the square world in which they live with fun and chaos so that they can play together forever. Design and object manipulation and sound create an imaginative world where anything can happen in Daryl Beeton's quirky, honest and touching show.

June 15, Daniel Bye's Error 404, main house, 3pm and 5pm, for age eight upwards.

There’s a boy, no more than ten years old. You know someone just like him, except his best friend is a robot. Join him on a rollercoaster of laughter, tears, music and games, where you might even change the ending in ARC Stockton and Polka Theatre's show.

June 16, Michael Rosen's Chocolate Cake, main house, 1.30pm and 3.30pm, for age four plus.

Follow the adventures of two brothers and the mysterious night-time disappearance of a chocolate cake in this scrumptious new musical adaptation of Michael Rosen’s Chocolate Cake, made by the team behind We’re Going On A Bear Hunt.