From 10 – 18 February we welcomed families to the V&A to take part in inventive and playful activities inspired by our first family exhibition Winnie-the-Pooh: Exploring a Classic. There were 17,569 instances of participation with the events programme which is a 13.5% increase on last year and a 23% increase on 2016. There was visibly a high volume of families with children aged 5 and under and many first time visitors around during the week thanks to the success of the exhibition.
During the 9 day festival families could create a photographic silhouette family portrait to take away in the style of E.H. Shepard’s illustrations in Digital Kids; construct their own woodland home in a woodland using recycled cardboard, paper straws and raffia with artist Matthew Shaw; curl up with a classic story, or have an imaginary tea party with their friends and family in a dedicated under 5 play area as part of The Imagination Station. These three events took place in the wonderful setting of the Raphael gallery.
In the stunning Lecture theatre, families could enter Christopher Robin’s nursery and be part of an imaginary world where toys come to life and stories unfold. The enchanting performance was written and directed by Jo Girdlestone and performed by shadow puppeteer Drew Colby and actor Alex Kanefsky. This show will tour to the Dulwich Picture Gallery on 12 May.
Monday to Friday families could book onto the only paid part of the programme and make their own mini picture book with the talented illustrator Loretta Schauer. Children brought their own toys to inspire their character and story. On Tuesday we also hosted the magnificent Giffords Circus in celebration of the 250th anniversary of circus. Families were entertained by a dashing strongman, comedy act and a small troupe of merry musicians. Backpacks and trails were also available everyday from the grand entrance and the Sackler Centre for arts education.
Winnie-the-Pooh inspired family activities continue every weekend for the rest of exhibition run (with one exception when we host an Indian Spring Festival weekend) with gallery based Pop-up Performances on Saturdays and making on Sundays with the Drop-in Design team. Visit the V&A What’s On calendar for details.
Please read a selection of quotes from visitors from half-term below:
“We are so pleased that there are so many activities for kids. Thank you so much.”
“First time visitors and we’ve had a ball. Visited Pooh exhibition and really enjoyed the Pop-up theatre show.”
“Fantastic [back pack]. My 5 year old found it very interesting, learnt about Dutch ceramics.”
“Sadie, aged 8 did the backpack trail. It was terrific – We are now going to see The Ocean Liner exhibition. We became members!”
“Excellent, connected with all the senses. Perfect for a day out!”
“Really amazing show. So enjoyable and truly engaging with so many magical moments throughout. A really beautiful production – a delight to watch and my kids (8 & 6) adored it. Simply brilliant. Very true to the books but totally original and refreshing.”
“So good better than the cinema it was the best show ever.”
Raphael Gallery activities
“Free play, den building, photography – feeling very lucky to be in London today. Have been coming to the V&A for 42 years and now happy to be bringing my kids. Excellent activities!”
“Exceptional fun for young and old – what a treat! Thank you!”
“Our family really enjoyed the den – building activity and wanted to say a big thank you for such a great idea in such a fantastic space.”
Make-it: Mini Picture Book workshop
“Beautifully presented and explained in ways the children could understand. Children gained new techniques for painting and drawing.”
“Excellent workshop – loved Loretta’s guidance and character building. Something they could use in school and at home.”
“The teachers were so fantastic and knowledgeable. The room was big, comfortable and the resources were fantastic. It’s an activity that is doable at home. I home school these children and we will continue this work at home. I loved that it was literacy and art combined.”