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Family fun this autumn half term with the return of Juice Festival

8th October 2012

Categories: Latest News

Juice – NewcastleGateshead’s award-winning festival for children and young people returns for a fifth year this autumn half term, bringing with it a packed programme of creative events for families and young people.

Taking place from Friday 26 October to Sunday 4 November, Juice Festival promises 10 days of activities and entertainment especially for children, young people and their families.  Expect art, dance, theatre and story-telling alongside all the excitement of Halloween with events including Spooky Night at the Museum and Happy Halloween Pumpkin Carving.

This year’s festival-goers will also be treated to a variety of dragon-themed events, inspired by a new exhibition taking place at Seven Stories, the national centre for children’s books, based on the popular series ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ by children’s author Cressida Cowell. These events, which take place across a variety of Juice Festival venues, will provide some fantastic opportunities for children of all ages to take part in the festival including its exciting dragon-themed finale parade on Sunday 4 November.

Rachel Adam, Director of Juice Festival said: “What makes this festival so special is that it has children and young people at its heart. Young people have taken on the role of co-creators, producing work that forms an integral part of the festival’s programme.  This year, as well as all the inspiring events throughout the ten day festival, young people have been involved behind the scenes in activities such as Press Gang.  This project has seen over twenty young writers producing articles about the festival for publication in The Journal’s Culture Magazine and in online blogs and websites.”

Work created by young people (highlights)

I’m Just Saying (Friday 26 – Sunday 28 October at Live Theatre) sees pupils aged 12 and 13 from Excelsior Academy, Newcastle, working with Live Theatre to produce six short plays, which will be performed by professional actors and members of Live’s Youth Theatre.  Vampire fantasies, parental pressure over careers and the potential dangers of Facebook are just some of the subjects explored in this specially created production, designed to keep audiences on the edge of their seats as they go on a journey from comedy to thriller, real-life to fantasy, and beyond.

With projections of water to play in, sounds to explore and messages in bottles just waiting to be discovered, Fish for a Wish, created by students from Thomas Bewick School, Newcastle, is an interactive exhibition that invites you to jump right in. Taking place throughout the festival at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Fish for a Wish encourages people to think about their dreams and wishes.

Diallo, 4d and Me is a ‘play-in-a-week’, which will be created during the festival by Mongrel UK, in a project delivered by The Sage Gateshead. Over four days of intensive workshops (Monday 29 October – Thursday 1 November at The Sage Gateshead)  the group of young people will create a musical performance inspired by the 18th century painting of the earliest known portrait of a freed slave, Ayuba Suleiman Diallo. No experience is necessary to take part in this special production, but pre-booking is essential and the final performance will be showcased on Thursday 1 November.

Great for Teens (highlights)

Once again Juice Festival, in partnership with Bad Taste Cru and Dance City, welcomes back the 5th annual Just Jam International event (Saturday 27 – Sunday 28 October at Dance City), which brings world-class breakers to NewcastleGateshead for an explosive weekend of hip-hop activities that festival-goers can take part in or simply watch in amazement!  Practice your skills in one of the four workshops available on Saturday 27 October or watch the experts in action in ‘Jam and Juice’ on Saturday evening and the ‘International 1on1 Battle’ on Sunday 28 October.

Following the fantastic success of last year’s Art Jam, this year’s event sees top names in the UK Urban Art scene work with young people aged 16 and over to re-spray the CoMusica 320ft legal art wall behind The Sage Gateshead in Juice Art Jam II. Taking place on Saturday 27 October, young people will bring the wall to life with colour and creativity, inspired by the theme of myths and legends. Free workshops are also available (booking essential) including Clothing Customisation as well as Sketch Book Workshops for budding illustrators.  Even if you don’t want to take part, you can still come and watch the artists at work on the day.

Teen Takeover @ BALTIC (Friday 2 November) sees members of Blah Blah Blah (BALTIC’s teen panel) present this one-off event inspired by the theme of identity.  With a carousel of activities, teenagers are invited to create their own T-shirts, listen to a DJ spin some tunes, play with gaming technology or pop into a film screening. This event promises surprises and a little splash of the unexpected.

Tyneside Cinema’s Cult Classic All-Nighter (Saturday 3 November, 10pm-10am at Tyneside Cinema) invites over 15s to settle in for the night with 12 hours of cult classics put together with help from the Young Tyneside Programmers. With movies such as The Lost Boys and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, there’s something for everyone in this quirky event that really is worth staying up for.  Tyneside Cinema is also hosting a Juice Family Favourites season of films (Monday 29 October – Friday 2 November) which, aside from the films, will include games, fancy dress and face painting.    

Fun for all the family (highlights)

Dragons have broken loose all over the city and families are invited to look out for their footsteps in six venues across NewcastleGateshead.  A do-it-yourself theatre puzzle, Dragon Steps (throughout the festival) is a great way to take part in Juice as it allows adventurers to act out and follow the instructions on the footsteps to figure out the story that forms a trail across NewcastleGateshead.  Theatre Company, Stan’s Cafe, has worked with three young artists to create Dragon Steps especially for this year’s Juice Festival. Dragon Steps can be found in and around Dance City, Discovery Museum, Great North Museum: Hancock, Northern Stage, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and The Sage Gateshead.

The Big Juice Read returns for 2012, and this time around it’s the turn of Stitch Head, a truly incredible, almost-human creation from Blue Peter award-winning author Guy Bass. Taking place on Saturday 27 October at Gateshead Central Library (10am-12noon) and Newcastle Central Library (2pm-4pm), these two, interactive events include readings from the Stitch Head trilogy by Guy Bass. Families are invited to visit Mad Professor Erasmus in Castle Grotteskew, where they can make their own fantastical creature, before stopping by the ship of Captain Flashpowder to put their very own message in a bottle.

Saltwell Park, Gateshead provides the location for another special Juice family event.  From the biggest of galaxies to the smallest things in the world, Little Universe (Thursday 1-Friday 2 November) reveals the patterns and movements that set everything in motion.  Visually striking and playful, Fevered Sleep presents a brand new performance for 3 to 5 year olds, created especially for the outdoors.  After the performance, children can join a professional artist to create their own ‘little universe’ to take home.

On the final day of the festival, Sunday 4 November, families are invited to attend the Festival Finale Dragons Parade. The Juice Festival dragon eggs have hatched and baby dragons are on the loose across NewcastleGateshead.  Join Juice Festival at Baltic Square (outside BALTIC) as we go in search of our mythical friends and lead them back to their family who are waiting for them on the River Tyne.  Fancy dress is a must for the Juice Festival Dragon Parade, which also features live music from young musicians from The Sage Gateshead.  The Dragons Parade is created by Unfolding Theatre, working with children from two primary schools in NewcastleGateshead.

Halloween (highlights)

From Monday 29 October to Wednesday 31 October, families are invited to head along to BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art for Happy Halloween Pumpkin Carving. Join a team of professional artists from BALTIC to carve out Halloween pumpkin creations and wear a spooky costume to help get in the mood!  On Tuesday 30 and Wednesday 31 October a special Halloween-themed multi-sensory room for children with disabilities will also be available, delivered by Sensory Spaces, who are specialists in inclusive, multi-sensory arts and play activities.

The Discovery Museum welcomes children in Halloween costumes for a Spooky Night at the Museum (Wednesday 31 October, 4pm-6pm).  Children can join in the fun by following spooky trails around the museum and take part in themed craft activities. There are also special prizes for imaginative costumes on the night.

Juice - NewcastleGateshead’s award-winning festival for children and young people takes place from Friday 26 October – Sunday 4 November 2012.  The 10 day festival showcases outstanding work created by, for and with children and young people as well as a family friendly programme delivered by regional, national and international artists.  For more information and to book tickets, please visit:

Juice is developed and produced by NewcastleGateshead Initiative as part of its festivals and events programme.

For information on travel and accommodation in NewcastleGateshead, please visit


For further information, interview requests, images etc, please contact David Brookbanks, Media & PR Manager for NewcastleGateshead Initiative on 0191 440 5740 / 07946 581 417 or email


Juice Festival is funded by Newcastle City Council, Gateshead Council, Arts Council England, North East and Sir James Knott Trust.  For further details see

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