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Over the next two weeks: nationwide family fun with the Family Arts Festival

  • Date: 18 October 2013
  • Area: National
Artist Harold Riley and Alastair Tallon at Family Arts Festival launch

Artist Harold Riley and Alastair Tallon at Family Arts Festival launch. Credit: Ben Blackall

The Family Arts Festival officially kicked off on Friday 18 October Salford Quays with the launch of the Match Day Memory Kiosk, an interactive work designed to encourage families to visit The Lowry and get involved by recording their match day memories as text or an illustration that will then be pasted to the kiosk.

Salford artist, avid Manchester United fan and one time junior player for United, Harold Riley created the first mini-piece of art this morning. A friend of LS Lowry, Harold is known for his portraits of John F Kennedy and Nelson Mandela amongst others, but is particularly renowned for his sporting pictures notably of golfers and football players. Harold was joined at the launch by Manchester United mascot Fred the Red and the actual Premier League Trophy which is currently held by Manchester United. Families are being encouraged to come and contribute over the two weeks of the festival (18 October-3 November).

The Family Arts Festival, supported by Arts Council England through our National Lottery funded Audience Focus commissioned grants scheme, involves over 500 venues and organisations throughout the UK hosting over 1,000 music, theatre, dance, circus and visual arts events to attract family audiences to the arts. Aiming to build on the momentum of the London 2012 Festival and Cultural Olympiad, over 25 per cent of the festival's events are free, with many more events priced at less than £10 and lots of special offers, including reduced-price and family tickets.

From West End favourite Stomp in Cornwall to life drawing with sheep at the Royal Academy in London, the whole of the UK will be alive with arts activities that will appeal to a wide range of families. The Hallé Orchestra will present the world premiere of A Rumble in the Jungle, RSC actor and rising star Ansu Kabai will entertain audiences in To Sir with Love, an inspirational story of courage and hope touring to Nottingham, Edinburgh and Wolverhampton. Much-loved children's author Michael Rosen will perform Centrally Heated Knickers, a new production with music from The Homemade Orchestra, in Ipswich, Basingstoke and Warwick. Full details of all the events are available on the Family Arts Festival website.

Althea Efunshile, Deputy Chief Executive, Arts Council England commented: 'We recognise and champion the enormous value of beginning to engage with the arts from a young age; children are our artists and audiences of the future. Part of that value is the fun of spending time with family, leaning new things about ourselves and each other, and building a stronger sense of community. The Family Arts Festival is something special: it epitomises many of our hopes and goals in our work at Arts Council England, and above all, will give enormous shared pleasure to both grown-ups and children and bring generations together.'

The festival is supported by many people involved in the arts including Lord Lloyd Webber who said 'The Family Arts Festival is a wonderful new initiative to encourage more families to sample the huge variety of arts activities on offer all over the UK. Going to the theatre, concert hall or gallery is a really rewarding way to spend time together as a family. Many things in the Festival are completely free, so this is a great opportunity for families to go out and try something new.'

The Family Arts Campaign is an initiative of The Association of British Orchestras, The Theatrical Management Association, The Society of London Theatre, the Independent Theatre Council, the Visual Arts & Galleries and Association and Dance UK.