Children have their eyes wide open to just about everything, with the only restriction perhaps being their parents own open-mindedness in letting them experience new things.

But flip the coin, and having children is a great opportunity for parents to do stuff that being ‘grown up’ meant they would never do again – or to try something for the first time even.



Face a three, four or five year old with a blank sheet of paper and some crayons and the possibilities are endless. Or a six, seven or eight year old with a box and scissors. So when you mix that open ability to soak up everything around them and regurgitate it with a peculiar innocent twist or two from some fantastically creative adult masters, you’re really cooking for fun, frivolity and inspirational outcomes.

House of Fairytales, founded by artists Gavin Turk and Deborah Curtis who have collected a band of some of the most openly creative grown-ups around, was always going to offer something special for kids – and the adults who go with them. I mean what an amazing thing for a child to get involved with puppetry or storytelling with these high calibre, working creatives.

For summer this year House of Fairytales have conjured a whole world of wondrous childrens art activities from their home in the shadow of the Olympic Stadium in Hackney Wick. They are reaching their tendrils out across the country from Hackney to Stratford on Avon to Edinburgh and back to the capital. And not a Team GB vest in sight.

First off the blocks has been the House of Fairytales ‘Puppetry Spectacular’ where Golden Tickets have been awarded to London children who can take part in their own puppetry marathon. The children lucky participants took part in a day of intensive training at Glaziers Hall, SE1. World-class puppetry artists, storytellers and technicians led the 7 to 12 year olds through all the phases of a professional production, before the children went live performing their puppet show to the public.

The first two performances have already happened, and it looks like the kids had a great time. But you still have the chance to catch the final workshop and performance this weekend on 12 August in the stage area of Glazier’s Hall between 3.15 and 4.30 pm

Next up is House of Fairytales newly opened installation at the Edinburgh Art Festival. Taking place until 2 September, The HoFT Examiner News Room will teach children about mass media and its wily ways. Kids have the chance to become trainee reporters in the child-centred art installation. The result will be the first editions of the House of Fairytales ‘playper’ by and for children of all ages. The HoFT Examiner will contain news and reviews from Edinburgh as seen through the eyes of the festival’s most instinctive critics. Perfect for your opinionated kids who aren’t afraid to speak their minds.

Finally and also live until 2 September, The Adventure of The Missing Manuscript is an interactive installation and story-trail delivered in partnership with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the World Shakespeare Festival. The trail takes place in Shakespeare’s home turf of Stratford on Avon and is stirred by the artistic machinery of Shakespeare’s plays and the wonders of modern technology. House of Fairytales have created a family-centred, experimental exhibition which leads adults and children alike through an adventure-filled world. Come, play, explore and experiment with the creative genius of Shakespeare’s mind!

For more details on the House of Fairytales or any of the above events, see ‘Puppetry Spectacular’ photography by Robert Hubert Smith.